A Matter of Perspective (Fitness Diary 33/52)

I interrupted my regular schedule last week with a relatively last-minute trip out of the country. The problem with having cheap airfare apps on your device is that it makes it incredibly difficult not to book a trip, especially if you’ve been looking at doing one for some time.

When writing this blog, I try not to let on much of what I’m feeling because most people come here to glean useful information about running and not really to read me whining. But this trip was supposed to be my celebration of my return to proper form; I kind of expected to have done really well at my 5K, and then carry that fitness into the trip. Instead, I was laid out in bed and then had to take the following week off so I could be well enough to travel. Still, it was good to get pulled out of my day-to-day routine so I couldn’t sulk about my body “failing” me yet again (and it held up quite well during the rigors of travel, I’m proud to say).

When I was training for my “comeback” 5K, I had to run. But with no goal in front of me now, do I still want to run?

And the answer I found during my trip was: YES. Running has become much more than a way of training my body so I can log faster PR’s or earn a medal. Running is still my favorite way of staying aerobically fit, and is the best way to explore cities and understand how the different neighborhoods fit together. In fact, I really enjoyed running during this trip, even if it was colder than I’d anticipated or prepared for. With no finish line and no pace target, I rambled about until I felt tired, or ran out of water.

I think I now understand my uncle, who is a longtime runner but has only ever joined one race in his life. I’ve always used the carrot of a race finish line or the huge amount of calories burned to get myself to run, but I never realized the simple pleasure of running can be motivation enough.

Coming home over the weekend amid the worst rains we’ve had since Typhoon Ondoy, our plane missed its first landing approach due to strong winds and poor visibility. We finally were able to land on the second attempt as the conditions cleared, and the touchdown was so smooth all the passengers were clapping. It was one of my more terrifying moments in plane travel, but was a learning moment also. If the conditions aren’t right the first time around, don’t force it; wait for a better opportunity.

So I’m going to keep trying to “comeback” to racing the sport I love, but I will also keep in mind to enjoy the process.

Manly Beach, Sydney

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