“Jane” and I can’t get enough of “Chopped” — the cooking competition show on The Food Network where contestants get a basket of mystery ingredients and must compete with themselves and each other to win. We both love the creativity the chefs put in and marvel at how fast they come up with their ideas.
Jane asked me how I think they pull it off. My answer was similar to what I would give if someone asked me how to master running: Lots of patience and lots of practice. When you watch people who are skilled at something — whether it be cooking or running — they can make it look effortless. That’s what years of dedication creates, I believe, a mastery that flows so beautifully it looks second nature.
Lately, I’ve been diligent myself, and that’s one of the reasons I haven’t been writing this blog as often. I haven’t wanted to jinx myself in some way. For the last month I’ve focused on “slow-cooked running” — lots of miles, mostly slower with a sprinkling of speed every week. (Think “simmering” for the fast miles.) It has done wonders for my body, my heart and my psyche. I logged 160 miles of running in January and 41 “Brownie Points, ” my dog walking miles.
Yes, I am counting Brownie Points in my total mileage because I am up with my dog at o’dark early almost every morning and many dark, cold winter evenings. Plus, ultra-runners get to count miles where they keep moving forward, whether it be fast or slow, so I am, too. About 10 weeks ago I was at ground zero with running because of my injury. Logging 201 healthy miles in a month just a few weeks later is an incredible blessing. I am very grateful.
I’ve also had this epiphany in the last few weeks: I’ve driven myself very hard emotionally over the last few years and allowed myself to be hijacked by other people’s else bucket lists and bucket lusts. Bucket lists are the things that are truly in your own soul to do or accomplish versus bucket lusts, which are those dumb things we are susceptible to doing when we cave in to other people’s ideas.
Do you ever feel pressured to keep up with others, even when you know in your heart it might not be such a good idea? Maybe it’s not necessarily with running. Perhaps it’s keeping up with the Joneses or some other area of your life? It doesn’t matter how or why you turn on this pressure cooker within yourself, the result can be the same — destructive.
This is what I was feeling by the end of 2012, so … I’ve sent myself back to “virtual culinary school” to return to what matters most to me. And you know what? It’s been really, really great. I am enjoying my running again very much.
“Train, don’t strain.” Arthur Lydiard
I’ve got more reflections on this subject but this is where I will stop for today. Look for part II in the next few days.
The flavors of a good, happy life and joy with my running are coming back to me.
“Aging is inevitable, but growing old is a choice. Lace up your shoes, and let’s go!”
Mileage today: 7; Mileage for 2013: 208.
P.S. Also, a shout-out to all my Colorado friends who are running the Rocky Raccoon in Texas this weekend: Best of luck and soar like you are on the wings of eagles!!