Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Calvin Coolidge and the End of a Streak

Well, I didn't run yesterday. I had the option. I was home at 6:45 pm and had plenty of daylight left AND had a treadmill even if I didn't. I decided to take the Calvin Coolidge approach and end the latest streak at 547 days.

Nope. Not injured. Not sick. Just thought it was time to go back to zero and begin fresh.

Might even take today off too!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Run Wave and The 3 Facebook Options

I had three separate, similar moments on the running trail yesterday morning, each paralleling the  experience of posting on Facebook.

I was running on the Cherry Creek Trail and as I approached an oncoming fellow runner I did/said what I usually do/say: "Good Morning (as I wave)!" Consider that my aerobic version of a Facebook post, my status update. I am reaching out to another human being(s).

As is the case on Facebook, the recipient of my advance has three options: they can do nothing, just wave, or wave and verbally respond. Each of these happened on today's jaunt.

The first person that I spoke/waved with/to, replied "Good Morning, how's it going?" Buoyed by his response, I answered, "Fantastic. Awesome morning, huh?" In our own way, we connected, even if it was just a brief couple of seconds. 

Excited to be making friends and influencing my fellow runners, I continued my cheerful mood with the next approaching runner. "Good Morning," I said with even more enthusiasm. Response: Nothing. Not a look, not a wave. Nothing. Bummer.

Undaunted, my next target was given the same greeting, but replied with barely a wave of acknowledgement (not even a princess would have used this wave). In the end, I considered myself one for three for the morning.

The verbal reply was nice. It was the other humans way of saying "Hey, I see you out there, I appreciate you greeting me and this is me greeting you back. It's what we humans do." It was like a comment on my Facebook post; someone taking the time to reinforce my status, so to speak. A person attempting to connect with another person.

The no reply was just that - no reply. No acknowledgement of my greeting, in fact, no acknowledgement of my existence. And, hey, I get that. Not everyone is social, not everyone is having a good time on the run, not everyone likes me. I get it (and by the way, I should mention here that I was dressed appropriately for the weather and the surroundings and in no way, shape, or form would have been mistaken for some sort of deviant). The no reply is like a no response to a Facebook update.  Sometimes we didn't read the post. It got lost in all the other items on our wall of life. Sometimes we were too busy to respond at all even if we saw the post and many people in and on Facebook are like folks on the running trail, they just don't respond. I get that. No harm, no foul.

The third response was that half-hearted wave. I'm not sure what this attempt at semi-greeting means, but as the recipient, it felt miniscule. It seemed to say, "Yeah, hi, whatever," or "I suppose I should wave back," or "You're not worth my words, but take my token wave" (Okay, that last one sounds like therapist fodder). Nonetheless, the wave was barely, and I mean barely, better than nothing. This, and you know what's coming here, is like pressing the Like icon under someone's Facebook update. Generally it means, "I see ya there, but I've got alot of Like icons to push before my session is over. After all, I've got people to sort of connect with here."

I've been told the operative part of the phrase Social Media is SOCIAL. The Like button, while being a version of connection; of social-ness, is a distant cousin at best. That is why when I discuss Facebook in any of my classes, we emphasize that if your goal is to connect with those other people out there on the Facebook running trail, post real live, relevant comments . Anything else comes up short. Anything else is the halfway, non-connecting wave.

I'm not a big fan of the Like icon, but you're probably getting that. Besides, if we're going to have a Like icon, why isn't there a Dislike icon? Just wondering.  

I'm also not sure if this posting is a complaint, a lesson, or just an observation. Feel free to take it any way you like. And yeah, feel free to "Like" this post.

Friday, March 9, 2012

I Can See Clearly Now. Claritin Run?

Today I had one of those runs. It began like any other run with me walking up the hill to reach my townhouse complex entrance (no sense starting a run in oxygen debt, thus I walk to the top). From there I was off on my newly discovered seven mile hilly loop.

The morning/day was/is beautiful. Hardly a cloud in the sky, just a slight breeze from the South. One of those days in March where you become sure that Spring is on the way (and so is the Spring snowfall).

Lately, I've spent maybe half of my runs listening to podcasts from competitor.com or Daniel Pink's book A Whole New Mind (for the umpteenth time). Anything to pretty much forget the run and leave behind my many thoughts of the day, most of which revolved around a plethora of stressful, unresolved  issues.

Today, however, it was no earbuds; no escape. Bring on the thoughts and bring them ALL on.

I like to think and I really like the way I think on the run. Who knows, really, about endorphins and the elusive runner's high. All I know is that when I am running and as one with my planet, I become one with my own mind. Sounds dangerous, doesn't it?

Thoughts, at first, bounce. I struggle with this thing or that. It almost seems forced. I hang in through this part because most of what I am struggling with needs to be, at the least, acknowledged. Then, wonderfully, the thoughts begin to flow. Answers arrive and usually then, plans emerge to place those answers into action.

Generally, I twirl the answers around until they become tightly embedded in my mind (almost like screwing them into place). Once firmly in place, I begin to clearly see the new visual; the new approach; the new outcome. Once I see it, I believe it. Once belief is in place, it becomes a part of me, part of who I am, part of my soul.

I love the fact that I have found this activity that not only allows me the opportunity and the challenge of being in touch with myself and my world physically, mentally and spiritually, but also seems to encourage it.  I've stated many times that I do my best thinking; my best work, on the run. If that is the case, today on the ten scale, I was an eleven.

Yeah, I suppose I'm getting physical benefit from the run as well. Bopping along for an hour or more at an elevated heart rate is good cardiovascular work. And I know that my running has been one of the primary reasons I have avoided much of the sickness and disease many of my chronological mates deal with as we age. But as good as that may be, the physical is not the lure of the run. It's the rest of it.

There is much to do in this life and in this goofy-ass world of ours. Sometimes it seems too full of nastiness, cynicism and negativity. It's nice to have a place to go. Where's yours?

That song is stuck in my head, now: "I can see clearly now." Guess that means it was a Claritin run.