05 June 2017

summertime, and the runnin's easy

Summer is basically the best time of the year. Sure, it gets hot and humid, but the SUN is out, flowers bloom, and everything is green for a while. After a particularly difficult winter, where I basically became a shut-in and was generally unmotivated to do anything but the absolute essentials (and I can't say I did that very well), I plan to maximize every free moment I have this summer by taking advantage of all the things I've been wanting to do, and things I keep saying I want to do but never did.
I plan to get out on some day hikes when I'm not working, climb as often as time allows, drink tea on the back porch in the evening, and other fun, summery stuff. Most importantly, for me, I intend to run through the summer.

At some point in the distant past, running fell out of favor. I would train, get injured, rest, lose motivation, and attempt to restart, eventually becoming unmotivated in a sad cycle always ending with an extended break (in my delusional thinking, I always referred to it as a "break" from which I would eventually return, rather than honestly proclaiming, "Look, I stopped running because it just sucks right now."). If you ask me what I do, I'll tell you that I climb. Running and racing just isn't at the forefront of my life anymore, and I'm okay with it.

It's okay, because I realized I was trying to force myself to make running the prevalent activity in my life. Even before I took up climbing, I slowly became more interested in hiking over racing. Yet, I still tried to spark that running bug as if I had to mark up my calendar with goal races. I guess it was also a major part of this blog, too. Now, however, running is the outlet I need to keep my focus.

When I say I became a shut-in, I am saying that I only left the house to run errands, work, and attend classes. I was lethargic, unmotivated, and seasonally depressed. In retrospect, I needed to make myself move - something more than the biweekly indoor gym sessions that consisted of the majority of my exercise. On the rare winter Sunday I ventured to the Gunks to climb, I was a much happier person (despite the 5:30 AM wake-up). I needed to be outdoors.

Anyway, I don't expect life to get any easier. I realize my life isn't really difficult, and it certainly doesn't appear so on the surface, but there are factors making it difficult for me that are not going to disappear and that most people will never see. What I need is to keep moving - out of the house and my comfort zone.

This is where running returns. As per usual, I began my Annual Summer Running Season. This time, though, it's not for a race, mileage, or time. It's to get myself into a healthy routine. It's so that even when I'm not hiking, which will never be a daily occurrence (:sadface:), I am still reaping the benefits of the fresh air and sun. I put some tunes on my Shuffle and head out for a few miles.

I am fortunate that I get to live in an awesome part of New Jersey, and over the course of the summer, I plan to use running to explore my neighborhood. I live pretty close to an awesome stretch of paved bike path, but I don't plan to only run there. I like looking at the houses and their landscaping, the flowers, and the people. It's a suburban hike, if you will.

Will I never run a race again? I can't say that. In spite of my laziness and tendency to take things easy, I do enjoy a challenge. Climbing has made me stronger than running ever has (I can do five pull-ups using my fingers!). I feel like running will complement it, as well as other aspects of my life. Really though, running is an activity that has eluded me for some time now that I would like to get back.

Summer running isn't easy; yet, it feels easier for me because it's the time of year I want to be outside the most. It's the season that makes me the happiest, and I intend to fully enjoy it.



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