The Perks of Taking Running Less Seriously

Although I’m not a particularly fast runner, I’ve always prided myself on being able to follow a training schedule and knockout a variety of workouts while training for a race. When not training for a race, I can be a sporadic runner, but usually with something on the calendar, I’m focused and dedicated.

But I’ve been struggling lately with my running mojo, and even having a race on the calendar in April isn’t really kicking me into gear. It’s really getting out the door that’s the tough part; once I’m running, I usually enjoy it just fine. But it’s been taking a lot of mental energy to get my shoes on lately, and I just didn’t have it in me this weekend. So instead of beating myself up about what it meant to be a real runner, we got on our bikes and rode to Sausalito.

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Now, my biking experience is pretty limited.  I bike at Burning Man, generally either in the blazing sun or white out dust storms. And I’ve gone on two epically long mountain bike rides with Alex’s Austrian family, neither of which I was prepared for – have you ever ridden fifty miles on a borrowed bike without bike shorts? I don’t recommend it, even if the view is beautiful. In the city, I biked two miles to the train station every day to commute to work for a year and a half, but that had been my only city biking experience.

While biking trails and biking in the desert have their own challenges, I decided this weekend that biking in San Francisco is a special kind of mindfulness meditation. Nowhere more so than on the Golden Gate Bridge, where you have a mix of tourists on rented bikes going slow and stopping to check out the view, and serious cyclists trying to speed by as fast as they can. It was slightly terrifying, but now I can say I’ve run, driven and biked the bridge!

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We got to Sausalito and the weather was beautiful and we got burgers and sweet potato fries and admired the homes on the waterfront and watched a dog play in the water. Eventually, we took the ferry back and got to watch Sausalito fade and enter the bustle of San Francisco once again.

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It was nice to take a break from my current mental gymnastics around running and move my body in a new and really fun way. I know a lot of people that run more than I do – I really can’t do more than three times a week – so it’s easy to get into the comparison game and feeling like my training isn’t good enough. And maybe it isn’t if I wanted to be super fast or do an ultramarathon or run something that’s crazy hilly. But today when I hopped on the treadmill, I felt strong and happy to be there, so I’m really happy I chose to take a break.

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On our bike ride over to Sausalito, we stopped at our favorite running store so I could pick up new kicks, which may be a motivating factor to hit the pavement more. Alex, awesome guy that he is, carried the shoes in the backpack for the rest of the ride! Here he is, lookin’ a little boxy: 

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I’ve been getting tons of blisters lately (I’ll spare you the photos), so I really wanted a wider shoe that would hopefully take care of the problem. Although I’ve gone to the same store for the last three years for running shoes, the sales guy sized me at a full size higher than my last pair, in wide width. I went from a 9.5 standard to a 10.5 wide, and when I ran today, it felt so much better! The only thing is, they’re REALLY pink…I like pink, but they’re just so….bright.

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I feel the same way about them as I feel about bright yellow running shirts which I’ve gotten at two races – why? Are they cheaper? That must be it. Anyway, I’m going to rock them because they are so comfortable that I didn’t want to wait and order another size! I ran in them today and loved them, so maybe I’ll post more thoughts in a few weeks when I’ve had time to break them in a bit. 

Have you ever blown off a long run for an adventure? What’s your favorite running shoe? 

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