Stowe lake, at the base of Strawberry Hill, San Francisco
I had an hour-long conversation with my sister tonight about running. Well, actually, the conversation was about life, which is to say, it was about running. Our talk meandered around and eventually I shared with her my latest triumph amidst the ruins. I haven’t been able to run off into the hills for the 18-20 mile runs that I want and need, so I’ve been grumpy and sad. I’ve been feeling sorry for myself, mad at myself, and generally despondent about losing a favorite activity. I have been doing my mini “triathlons” which consist of 3 mile runs in Golden Gate park, biking 6 miles to school and then swimming 1200 meters before class. These keep me sane, and allow me to sleep at night. But they don’t cover the kind of ground I wish to cover.
I realized, as we were talking, that what I miss is covering ground. Covering distance. What I always liked about biking, for example, was the ability to go 100 miles, or 1,000 miles, or whatever. I hate it when people say, “why don’t you just go for a bike ride?” Blegh. Why? Where to? No thanks— not unless there is a destination. Same thing about kayaking, or canoeing. I don’t want to go for a paddle around the lake, thank you. But ask me to take off on a many-nautical-mile adventure for multiple days covering many islands and waterways, or to paddle 100 miles down a river through the desert, and I am totally on top of it.
So it was with mild chagrin that I realized I have been acting like a complete baby. I’m not crippled. I’m not paralyzed, or in a wheelchair. I don’t have Polio. I can walk. I really can do this. I just can’t run very far right now. But the whole goal right now is to just walk. A lot. I mean, I have to get my walking muscles ready to do this thing, every day, for days and days at a time. Twenty miles a day, 7 days a week: That is what I need to be training for right now.
I’ve basically been sitting for two years. I mean it. I used to be on my feet everyday, 8-10 hours per day when I was a nurse/gardener/dog walker/hiker/surfer person in my former life. But all I’ve really done these last few years is sit and sit and sit… with a little bit of running thrown in there to get the angst out. Just enough running, really, to get my confidence to a place where I think I can race-- and then I get hurt. What a fool.
I used to walk like crazy. And then, in those days, running wasn’t so hard to do because I was already walking 20 miles per week. But now, when I try to run 20 miles a week, straight off my lazy ass, I hurt myself. NO wonder!
Today I did a mini epic walk, like the kind I used to do almost daily with my dog in Newport, Oregon. Today, we discovered Strawberry Hill in San Francisco—a place from which you can see all of the city, the bridge and the ocean! I walked for hours and came home hungry and tired and pain-free! And, most importantly, happy. It’s better to focus on what we can do, then on what we cannot do. It’s all about perspective.