Wednesday, December 15, 2010

When the 3 miler is meaningful

Running is a bit on the back burner these days. Boston is still over 4 months away, and I won’t commence my training for that until 2011. Sarah (my coach and a fellow medievalist) told me to just do what I can in the next few weeks and not worry too much about running. I have a good base at this point, and I can also take the time over break to work on the ancillary things like strength training, core work, swimming, etc. School needs to be the first priority right now, and she certainly understands that. I just finished my teaching portfolio – which is ultimately forever a work in progress, but at least now my pedagogy teacher has an initial idea of my teaching philosophy and aims as a professor. Yesterday, I handed in my big seminar paper “Prepared with Banners Waving and Bells Ringing: Increasing Ornamentation in Thirteenth-Century English Processions” for my later medieval England class. That was a big triumph – probably the most fun/fascinating/worthwhile paper I’ve written in graduate school. It’s a project that my professor said could be a dissertation – just not the one I’ll write (I’m doing mine on medieval witchcraft). But perhaps this will spark some thinking for book 2 – the second project that is always lurking in the back of your mind. I have one more paper to hand in (due Friday) on Carolingian literacy, and then the semester will be over. Needless to say – writing is the main priority this week.

But I was so overjoyed on Sunday with the 10k. It just went so incredibly well, and the more I think about it, the more I am sure that my success had to do with the fact that I relaxed! I had fun before and during, and did not get too stressed about it. What a tactic! It just goes to show that playing really does do wonders in all facets of life.

This morning I went out for an easy 3 miler. I just felt very relieved – the end of the semester is in sight. It was cold out, but not so windy that it hurt my face. The sun was out, and the traffic was light. Knee only bothered me a little, and going slow felt just fine. I was just grateful to be out – out and away from the computer, away from grading, away from the world. I think it is easy to take those easy short runs for granted sometimes. But really, they can do a lot for the spirit. Just get the clothes on and go out the door and do it. I came back feeling refreshed and recharged. Even managed to do 20 lunges and some planks after. And then I was ready for the day – to edit and to write. There was nothing complicated, no mile splits to hit, no pre long-run breakfast to prepare, no complicated route to measure. Just the easy 3 miler, no thoughts, no worries, just a sense of gratitude for being on the open road.

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