Today I purchased a new pair of shoes. Specifically, Trail Running shoes.
I wrote a post back in August about how I had just taken up jogging and I have been running with a pretty fair consistency since then. Slowly, my distances and anaerobic endurance has increased. Nothing astounding mind you. This 55-year-old bod has set like an antique gelatin, resistant to adapt to any change without a multitude of protests.
But nevertheless, you know that place on the trail where the big old water tank sits?
That was the landmark where I used to pull up totally breathless and knackered. Unless someone else was around, when I would swallow my gasping hypoxia, throw a forced smile on my face and power on stubbornly until well out of sight, at which point my collapse into a decalcified pile of pain would be swift. The battle between vomit wanting to come out and air wanting to come in is not a pretty one.
But now, well now the old water tank is just a passing sight as I jog along enjoying the rhythm of my breathing, the crunch of the path and that being-in-the-moment that is required to avoid rolling an ankle or getting chased down and attacked by a brown snake, or slipping into a ditch on the uneven terrain.
After doing just that (slipping into a ditch) on one of my early runs I now make a point of carrying my iPhone with me so I can summon a helicopter rescue (preferably to winch me out ‘cuz that would be cool) should the need arise. Or perhaps I would just call Kelly, which would be several orders of magnitude less cool, but a crapstick load more sensible. Hopefully I wont have to decide.
“It was being a runner that mattered, not how fast or how far I could run. The joy was in the act of running and in the journey, not in the destination. We have a better chance of seeing where we are when we stop trying to get somewhere else. We can enjoy every moment of movement, as long as where we are is as good as where we’d like to be. That’s not to say that you need to be satisfied forever with where you are today. But you need to honor what you’ve accomplished, rather than thinking of what’s left to be done.”
John Bingham, No Need for Speed: A Beginner’s Guide to the Joy of Running
The shoes I have been using up until now were a cheap pair with very thin, slippery soles and dubious foot support. As I have been getting quite a bit of aching in my Achilles tendon area after running, I suspect the constant un-cushioned jarring is to blame. The slipping into ditches due to lack of grip sealed the deal.
So that’s the update on my running situation. Slow progress with a growing enjoyment. I’m even toying with the idea of setting a goal of participating in some organised trail run.
I’ll keep you in the loop.