Witness This Ringing Endorsement

The wind whips up slightly, kicking up gentle clouds of sand which skitter across the track toward me. Soft, fluffy wisps of airborne dust rise to about chest height. This isn’t exactly a sandstorm coming my way–if I weren’t running, it might even look kind of pretty.

Still, I close my mouth and hope it doesn’t get behind my glasses.

One of the things that initially drew me to running was the low cost of entry. At the time, I was freshly unemployed. The prospect of a gym was beyond me, I could probably spring for some cheap running shoes, and was going to go for a free app to get me started.

Shortly after, I think I picked up the armband for my phone. It was a matter of convenience, really. I was starting to realize something practical about running: you need more than just shoes.

This is another story of me figuring something out the hard way…

In May, my girlfriend and I went with some mutual friends to Virginia’s Outer Banks. We had a week, and I was determined to enjoy myself and also get back into good habits–I had re-re-re-started my C25k program about 3 weeks prior. Expecting beach-weather, and beach-quantities of shade trees, I bought a hat and picked up a couple of bandannas on the way down.

Real talk for a minute: I am amid the long, drawn-out process of balding. Despite my best efforts and mostly my own denial, the hair on my head is thinning. For a while now, it’s done little to shield my scalp from the machinations of our nearest star. The combination of Fair British Isles skin and ineffective shade cover means I sunburn my head a lot. The bandanna was an effort to prevent that while running on the beach.

However, when I wear them now, I wonder what I did without them. They trap head sweat, so I don’t come home with stinging eyes. They somehow make my headphones and glasses fit together better. Come Winter, it’ll keep my head a bit warmer than nothing. While I feel a little silly, I simply tell myself that I’m a pirate exercising and I feel better about the world.

And, I don’t roast my dome.

So, I guess this post is mostly an endorsement for bandannas while running.

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Getting Back To You

Hi.

It’s been a long time. I think nearly a year since the blog dropped off. I’ve been thinking about it, though. About picking up where I left off, about how to do it, about how I kind of missed it.

Yes, I know the image of a roller-coaster is cliched. But it’s fairly apt in this case: the year has been fraught with various and sundry highs, and some steep lows. I could detail them, like two people catching up on months apart with a laundry list of details. But I always feel as though those conversations always end with more months apart.

We have time, I realized, we have months for this conversation. It’s not coffee and catching up, it’s starting to run into each other. It’s rekindling a friendship.

At least, I hope so.┬áIn the time I’ve been away, I haven’t necessarily gotten any better at keeping promises.

 

Apparently this is also my 100th post on this blog. I’m going to pretend that’s more impressive than it is.

Your Mileage May Vary

Dust is once again collecting on my shoes. As I squint in the fading sunlight, I can hear my breath over the sounds of the highly under-rated Harvey Danger. After several months off, and several weeks of another take on the Couch to 5k program, I am getting close to where I was around this time last year, when I was in better shape than I am today. But, I have clawed my way back today.

Over the sounds that wall me into my own head, I detect the crunching of someone else’s footsteps. After a few endless seconds, a figure in red passes me on the right–then one in blue. The man and a woman–around my age–pass me handily. I want to speed up, but I already know how it will feel at the end of the run.

Then I start thinking about comparisons: I never feel it’s wise to compare myself to others. I know that where I am at my stage of life is a result of a complex, indeterminable series of variables and interpersonal connections. There are an immense number of factors that can have immeasurable impact on a person. The mere flap of a butterfly’s wings, metaphorically, can put me in a different place than someone else who starts the same thing at around the same time.

So, why can’t I make that connection with running? Because here I am, comparing myself to two complete strangers. For all I know, they’ve been running since high school. For all I know, they’re running an entirely different program to me: shorter sprints, compared to my longer runs. For all I know, a million other things are different.

A few paces ahead of me, Red and Blue stop at a bench–she adjusts her socks. I pass them handily. It’s not for another quarter-turn around the reservoir until they pass again, then stop and leave the path.

Perhaps with a little more time, I’ll let myself off the hook.