Saturday, June 11, 2016
Sharing A Tradition
You feel a lot of things on a run. You literally might waiting for your body to get warm before you can pour on more effort. You could be anxious because you’re getting to that portion of your training course you don’t like. Thoughts may wander or there could be extreme focus on breath, posture and arms. For me, the longer a run gets, the more varied (and sometimes wild) my thoughts become.
Author, Haruki Marakami observed, “The thoughts that occur to me while I’m running are like clouds in the sky. Clouds of all different sizes. They come and they go, while the sky remains the same sky always. The clouds are mere guests in the sky that pass away and vanish, leaving behind the sky.”
And that is what happened when I was on mile 4.25 of a four-mile run that became five miles.
Today was my ideal running weather. Sixty-six, overcast and a light drizzle. My intent was to get out extra early and conquer the hills that ate me alive two weeks ago. But, before I knew it, I was driving to The Encino Golf Course and Recreation Center. I love this place. This is where I overcame my fear of double-digit runs and where I made life-long friends.
In January, I started Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project. It’s helped me set tangible monthly goals, with the idea to keep the previous month's goal and add a new goal(s) the next month. Naturally, increasing weekly mileage each month was a goal I set in January. Another theme she tackles is “Try Something New.” With a new commute, I was going to read more, and I was going to achieve this using audio books. When I was at the library, perusing shelves of potential books “Sally Ride: America's First Woman in Space,” leapt out at me. I have no interest in space.
“Try Something New.”
Being of a child of the 1980’s, of course I knew who she was. She was a hero to my teachers and being contemporary, we were strongly encouraged to do a book report on her. I knew she was the first American woman in space. That’s all I knew. When I picked up the CDI didn’t know what I’d find. I loved the book. And now, I love Sally Ride. I learned a lot of things, among them, she grew up in Encino, California, the very city where I did my first double-digit run. She is far beyond and more important than being the first woman in space.
Fitness and her endurance was quietly woven through the book. Running, was something she did well and it allowed her to do many of the physical things she did, among them, be a nationally ranked tennis player.
When I drove to The Encino Golf Course and Recreation Center I did not have Sally Ride on my mind. I was thinking about my mileage and the connection to friends.
I had four miles on my training schedule. I ran around the man-made lake looking at waterfowl and smiling at runners that passed. Then I turned to the familiar interior loop. I passed the golf clubhouse, the spot where Team and Training meets, through the area where there is exercise equipment and then a left to get the last mile plus done. It is on the backside of that course, along the over-grown area of the L.A. River, I thought of Sally Ride.
My soul started vibrating. I don’t like comparing myself to other people and don’t make a practice of it. I always try to do better than my best or do better than that goal I think I should be doing (even if that goal is realistically several years off). And, while I don’t like comparing myself to other people, in that moment, Sally Ride was on my mind.
She ran this course. I’m working to get back into Marathon Shape and running the same routes that Sally Ride ran! A unique run for sure. I focused on friends, posture, breath and then Sally Ride.