Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Does it still count as “running” if you don’t actually go anywhere?

Because it is raining today, and because I’m increasingly wimpy as I get older and grumpier, I logged my five mile run on the treadmill. Don’t panic, this is not going to be an extended exegesis comparing the rest of my life to a treadmill; (a) that would be trite, and (b) as the rest of my life lacks an attached television or emergency stop switch I fear such a comparison would be quite depressing. But it did get me thinking about what it means to build a base.

I had to get in the miles today because this month is about making my base good and solid before kicking into higher mileage. Without a good, solid, consistent 25-30 miles a week everything will start hurting as I move toward two and three hour training runs on the weekend (and yes, I do mean EVERYTHING). Base building can be boring. There’s no glory in a daily 5 mile run; no boasting rights or chest puffing or the groovy oxygen-starved hallucinations of victory that so often accompany lactic acid. It’s easy to under appreciate the prosaic run which all too often covers the same old ground over and over.

But as I slogged along on that treadmill, I started thinking about all the people who have pledged their support in this effort of mine to regain my running legs and raise some money for Back On My Feet. At so many points in the last 40-some-odd years there were points where I might have fallen through the cracks; when one of my famously impetuous and misguided decisions could have resulted in a nasty fall. But my donor list reads like a team of incredible guides or teachers; a sort of “This Is Your Life” for a truly lucky girl who might otherwise have been one of the residents of the shelters BOMF partners with.

There are my parents, both of whom have their own experiences with military life and thus an affinity for the veterans I’m running with, but who have always walked that line between healthy skepticism and unwavering support for me. And there are friends from grammar school/junior high/high school who stood by me through teen-aged angst and bad haircuts alike (hey, it was the ‘80s), many of whom has reappeared in my life recently and reminded me of all the good things about growing up in the ‘burbs. The list includes friends from grad school, where pretty late in the game I learned that I might actually have to work a bit to keep from falling behind. And of course friends and co-workers from my adult life: fascinating bright people who hold a variety of jobs in a variety of places but all seem to have in common a desire to help other people and leave the world a little better than it was when they got here.

My base is definitely strong. Oh, and I did manage to get through those five miles, too.

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