The more I run, the more I enjoy it. All the pain I first experienced is now gone. My pace is increasing and so is my distance. My favorite thing about running is how simplistic it is. Cycling involves a lot of gear and clothing, running is simple. That simplicity makes it easy to run almost anywhere and anytime.
I first started running when I was living in England. It was 2011, and cycling was still a big part of my life back then. But I had no bike in the UK. I thought about getting one so I could continue to ride. Many of the roads where I was living were narrow and not well suited for cycling. Then there was the whole wrong side of the road deal. Driving was one thing, because the steering wheel is always in the center, but on the bike you have to really think about it (although I’m sure it would have been easy). I also looked at going to a gym. It was very expensive, so I was left with running as my only option for exercise.
I’m glad it worked out that way, because I found a new passion.
I was living about twenty minutes outside of Oxford, between two small villages, Whitney and Minster Lovell. It was a great place to get into running. It’s mostly English countryside in that area, and there were some great sights and lots of sheep.
I would run in the mornings, it was cool and there weren’t a lot of people out. I took a path that lead me through an industrial area, then into the outskirts of Whitney. There was a cemetery that I would run through. I always felt a little strange running through, but its was old, peaceful and a bit of a shortcut. I really enjoyed running out there, it was a good way to see a different part of the world.
Something I’ve always done was to track my runs. Using the GPS on my iPhone and the Nike app I was able to capture all sorts of data. It’s actually really cool to look back and not only see where I was running, but how fast and far as well.
When I moved back home to Colorado I continued to run. I was doing it a couple time a week up until last summer. I really had to spend time focusing on cycling and stopped running until fall. Getting back into it was a bit of a challenge. It didn’t feel good, I still enjoyed it, but it was the same experience as before.
The bug to do triathlon pushed me. I also decided to do a 5k with my sister, a turkey trot. Looking back it seems like I’ve been running for a while again. But it still seems new to me. My sister and I also did a Jingle Bell 5k in December. We had plans to do more races together, but she is now pregnant with her third child. I hope that we’ll be able to run together again soon.
I made the decision to run the Colfax Half Marathon this coming May for several reasons. I intend to try for a Half Ironman next year and I need to get the 13.1 under my belt. But also as a new challenge. It’s a lot given the amount of cycling I’m doing this summer. But I’m feeling strong, and I’m defiantly motivated. The course also runs through the Denver Zoo, which should provide a few minutes of distraction as I zip through.
What I’ve learned from running is to go slow. I’ve been running at MAF pace, which is slow. I’m improving without injury and that’s what’s important. MAF stands for Maximum Aerobic Function. The premise is simple, take 180 and subtract your age. That number is the maximum your heart rate should be on a run. Keep it within a range of ten beats below and you are running at MAF. Trust me it works like a charm. It might feel slow at times, but it’s effective.
Running is also therapy. It’s good for the mind and the soul. When I’m out there it’s just me and my thoughts. Many things are figured out this way and I look forward to the solace that running brings me.
There is a big difference between running on a treadmill and running outdoors. I do like to have some runs on a treadmill as I feel I the consistency helps me to improve, but the boredom is immense. I don’t really get bored when I run outside, there is always new scenery, even if I have to do a couple loops around the same area.
I’ve also learned that shoes make a big difference. I look at people when then run, and am surprised how poor their form can be. Not that I have perfect form by any stretch. I truly believe in minimalist footwear. Humans were designed to run barefoot, but technology has allowed us to protect our feet. But protection does not mean we have to change the way our foot works. When you run barefoot you default to good running form. I’m not going to throw the shoes away, but I’m going to pick a minimalist pair. Right now I’m running in Skora’s which I love.
I think running is a process, and I plan to learn new things as my distance an pace increases. I don’t have huge aspirations in my running career, but I do hope that its always in my life.