It makes such a difference, a little bit of encouragement. I’ve been dragging on my long runs. This weekend, I felt stronger. I decided not to run fast, as I have been lately, but to just embrace the comfortable pace and not worry at all about my time. Yet, I cringed a bit when my Nike running woman whispered my first mile time into my ear. I promptly reminded myself I was not running for speed but for a sustainable long run, a pace that would perhaps require an extra nap and more calories today but would not undo my whole weekend. The first 3 miles uphill are always a challenge, so when I felt myself getting bored, I took a slightly different path, up into a new neighborhood to avoid one of the long frustrating stretches. This helped, just a small change in scenery got me to the top of the trail feeling ready to face the last 4 miles.
Running downhill brings challenges as well. Enjoy the momentum, but don’t fall. Push it a bit, because you can and you’ve earned it. With these mantras in mind, I was politely passing the strollers and the saunterers of the trail. Only to catch the eye of a man plodding in the opposite direction, I realized I’d seen him before. Then with his random encouragement I remembered, I adore this man. This gentleman locked eyes with me an offered the most pure and heartfelt, “Good job!” I have ever received. It may have been six months since I saw him last on the trail, maybe more! Yet with his status as a virtual stranger, he communicates with his eyes, his words and his intonation, encouragement that means so much. The rest of the run felt easy, light, and natural. While I don’t require recognition for my running, receiving it made me feel happy, proud, accomplished. I wondered was this man a retired track coach, a father who wished random gentlemen would give his own daughter support so he acted in kind, or just a sweet hearted man who let his supportive thoughts leak out. No matter what the case may be, he made my day!
The weekend was wrought with housework, schoolwork and such but I managed to squeeze in a long run, a long walk and a long bike ride, so in the end I was satisfied. The Santa Anas are kicking up and while this is hell for my allergies, it is a delight to be outside without needing a sweater! Yes, I know we are spoiled here in So Cal but I wouldn’t have it any other way.