With the arrival of April comes the month-long preparation for my annual tradition of running my one & only 5K of the year. I am NOT a runner and I don't really enjoy it. However in the interest of mixing it up and challenging my body in different ways I donate April to the cause. Plus, I figure if I keep re-visiting running, who knows? I might get bitten by the running bug! :-)
One of my favorite places to run is along the Chenango River downtown Binghamton. There is something about being near the river that helps one keep their finger on the pulse and rhythm of life. Ideally I like to commit myself to an hour of jogging when I get out and yesterday the river was surprisingly filled with many large slabs of ice flowing in the tide. In APRIL? Amazing.
We've been blessed with a couple warm days peaking around 60 degrees yesterday and today. Perfect weather for kicking off my training!
Cloudier yesterday, less inspiring. I was pleased with my initial jog. Every year I have a little pep talk reminding myself of Galloway and the walk-run intervals that I should be taking to gear up for this.
But my interval method always drifts back to my WI-FLI approach: I will jog and walk at the following intervals
I'm a big fan of keeping it simple. No numbers, stop-watches, etc. for me. Jog till I feel like I need a breather, then walk till I'm too bored with my pace.
Problem was I overlooked my choice of shoes! Oddly enough, my newer New Balance shoes, despite being the same size, are slightly more narrow around the toes. About halfway through my hour my feet were killing me and I was very annoyed to be walking much of the last half. And so SORE! All over, everywhere, going to bed wondering if I would bother with this whole 5K thing anymore. I didn't remember feeling this badly during past years.
However after a good night's sleep and digging up my old sneakers, which were all beaten up and stained green as they had been relegated as lawn-mowing sneakers. NIGHT & DAY DIFFERENCE to my feet! No matter how badly worn they were...the fit was heavenly!
So I head back to the Riverwalk trail along the river and head for the stairway to the lower track which runs along the river more closely and avoids the need to cross Court Street by running under the bridge.
Except! That trail which I had just run yesterday was swallowed by the swollen river! No Tri swimming for me just yet, thank you...!
So I take the "high" road and put up with crossing the traffic on Court Street and progress down over the Washington Street bridge and up over the Vestal Parkway to the school they were rebuilding as it had gotten flooded out during our serious flood a few years back. I miss the school track as I would jog 'round the grassy outer perimeter, the soft ground offering my body a break from the jarring of concrete and asphalt.
The construction workers were just getting off work and one good-naturedly sprinted by me, yellow hat whizzing by & turning around waving me on to join him, "C'mon, let's get some RUNNING on!" My first response was a self-deprecating, "In my DREAMS!" thinking to myself, I'm only 20 minutes into my hour and I'm gonna make like I'm doing a 100-yard dash?
But he pressed on in a pleasantly infectious way which caused me to re-think and I replied: "Hang on, I'll get there someday!" to which he grinned widely and said: "Well all RIGHT! That's better!"
I truly appreciated his ability to re-affirm my belief that we are really all fundamentally good and want the best for each other.
I finished the latter part of my run by heading back up Riverwalk until it turned into the Cheri Lindsay trail and then returned to my fitness center for strength training and the blessedly long shower. My body felt tired and sore, but in a much better way today.
During these transformative days, weeks & months I've been hugely self-absorbed. Much quieter at work, keeping more to myself. All media, especially television, but even my preferred public radio stations and my own music just seems like annoying gnats of distraction to be listened to for only short bouts of time.
Returning to the river has been centering for me and I suppose it's a form of "faking it till you make it" ala Amy Cuddy's talk as recently referred to by the Wise WATERMELLEN:
As turned in upon myself as I may be feeling, BAM! There I am putting myself out there in the world, jogging along Binghamton's Riverwalk!
Despite my jog being a solitary activity, there is a deeper sense of connectedness in the experience: with the river and wildlife, with the people I meet and pass along, deepening a sense of being a part of the community, part of this river of life.
Binghamton has been getting a lot of bad press lately. Declining population, rumors that we may even lose our baseball team. However I still see many good things around here and tremendous potential, especially if we promote and develop all the natural beauty around us.
It was fun to see Binghamton front & center in Hugh Grant's last movie, The Rewrite with Marisa Tomei and JK Simmons:
While not a top-notch movie, it's definitely better than many and who can't get into the theme of redemption & second chances? Worth catching!