Today I dragged myself out for a run before work. I haven’t been feeling into the running lately, to be honest.
It’s a combination of the weather getting colder, moving to a new place and having to figure out good routes but not really having the time or the knowledge yet of where the best places to run are, and just general malaise. After my marathon last spring I told myself I’d take it easy on the running front for a few months, but I didn’t follow up on my plan. “Take it easy” isn’t really a phrase that exists in Katie-land, no matter how much my brain says: this is important!!! Rest. Recover. Recharge.
Nope, one of my worst traits – that all-or-nothing attitude that can also be a GOOD trait, occasionally – kicked in and I signed up for a 34 km trail race with big plans of long, long weekend runs throughout the summer. Well, I just couldn’t do it. I did a few 21 km runs in July, and then I just…burned out. Juggling running with my internship at The Record was too stressful, both mentally and physically, and by the time my internship ended in August I was burned out from running. I knew running the trail race wasn’t going to be smart, so I dropped out – something that I thought would be tough but was surprisingly easy to do. It just felt like the right thing to do. I needed time off from running.
And I did take time off…for awhile. But I did the same thing I always do – just exchanged one passion for another all-consuming one. I went swimming almost every day until I moved to Simcoe, and then I took up running again, albeit shorter distances (nothing longer than 12 km).
Yet I’m still not jumping out of bed in the mornings all ready and pumped to run, and that’s how I know I still need to step back a bit. Once Boston training starts (I’m thinking of beginning my training plan in January), I know I’ll need the mental and physical focus it demands. I’ll need to be excited to run, and right now, that excitement just isn’t there. So do I keep plugging along anyway, or do I take more of a concerted break from running until January? I’m still on the fence here, wondering what the best approach is. I’m really scared that if I stopped running entirely, or even just cut back too much, I’d lose my “base” (ugh, that sounds obnoxious) and have to start from scratch come January.
But today – I decided to run, sleepily laced up my shoes and headed up a long, sloping hill that leads to farmers’ fields. That’s one thing about Simcoe – the countryside is always just five minutes away. And it truly is beautiful in a perfect-postcard way: to my right was a small creek that was literally sparkling in the sunlight, and the autumn leaves were the perfect shade of gold and the early morning sky was just lightening up to blue and then…
A deer – actually, to be technical, a buck, rendering my clever title moot – bounded out of a ditch and leapt gracefully across the road just meters from me. My breath caught in my throat, my thoughts – on the latest in the Rob Ford Crackgate scandal – disappeared, and all I could do was watch him disappear into the field on the other side of the road.
It was such an unexpected, startling surprise to me that I broke out into one of those goofy smiles. I was just ridiculously happy to see a deer on my morning run. I’ve come across a host of critters in the miles I’ve logged, from dogs and cats to foxes, snakes, turtles and rabbits. Even packs of stray dogs in Russia, which I hope never to stumble across again. But a deer? I don’t think I’ve ever seen one while running.
And coincidentally when I got to the newsroom later, J.P. sent me a brief to write from the police warning motorists not to “veer for deer”.
I wonder if the same rule applies to runners who come across deer too?