Ruts of Choice

rough running terrain through a rut formed in the woods
Zumbro Endurance Run in Minnesota, 2016

“Discipline is remembering what you want.” -David Campbell
(quoted by Kristina Halvorson at Confab Central 2016)

Today’s #thisishowirun is brought to you by nearly a month since my last post and only a few sporadic runs through the city since the Stigma Breakers 5K. Three weekends ago I even found myself sleeping in my running tights, within steps of ideal trail running terrain in Afton State Park and didn’t even bother to run. The fastest I moved was sprinting down the path from the outhouse back to camp in an attempt to warm up (the weather conditions were particularly windy and freezing overnight).

I think I’ve entered into a rut. 

Two weeks ago I broke a two-week (a work in progress!) streak of running over my Friday lunch break. Sure I was at local conference and could’ve used the extra long lunch to run, but that didn’t sound too appealing (I sure did walk a mile to the Wedge Table to gulp down a 16 oz. Elvis Lives–banana, chocolate coconut soft serve, peanut butter & cold press–however). I could have adjusted the newish routine and run that morning before the conference, but I was anxious about a fresh knee wound I earned during another demoralizing fall at the start of the previous morning’s run. Last week, on a rather quiet Friday, I completely forgot to run over lunch (of course I didn’t forget to eat lunch; I do have some of my priorities straight).

My training and race calendar is looking bare lately. Races sound fun, but I can’t say I’ve decided on the next one, much less the training schedule to support it. Weekly acupuncture has become…not quite so weekly. The idea of adding strength training is still merely an idea. My mind is feeling on par with that little one dollar calendar–scattered.

Fortunately, there’s the matter of choice. 

This past weekend, the stars aligned (read: spouse was away for half the long weekend and I can entertain myself only for so long), so off I went in the Sunday morning sunshine toward Lake Calhoun for a nice and easy longish run. The weather was perfect to sport a light t-shirt, spandex shorts (men’s running shorts, because they actually cover up ‘muscular’ thighs), running cap, and a single-bottle waist pack. Feeling tired around 7 miles, ready to be done around 8.5 miles, and adding a couple extra blocks to round out 10 miles made for a much-needed confidence boost. The prior day I happily biked 12 miles roundtrip to and from the part-time gig despite the threat of some rain.

A short day trip to Afton State Park on Monday (Memorial Day) entailed everything a good day off should have: running, hiking, swimming and reading. My glute held strong, Jen’s knee didn’t give her any trouble. Plus the rocky and root-y hills were plentiful. After a few minutes of treading water–swimming laps, in my mind, raises the risk of an unwarranted interaction with swimming creatures [fish]–I re-cracked open Ultra Mindset, a book about the life lessons of ultra running I’ve been reading off and on for nearly two months.

Although I don’t have the cut biceps and shoulders to show for it (yet!), I lifted weights yesterday. Here we are on Wednesday, writing (finally), and tomorrow morning I’ll choose to run before work.

Guess that rut is meant for running.

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