Running is all about the experience. Walking is more meditative. When I walk I tend to think about things in a dream-like way. Sometimes I forget about my posture which leads to some pain or twinge. Walking allows me to reflect on my surroundings and all I see, hear and breath. Running is very different for me – although the pauses and the blood pumping do heighten the visual. When I’m running I am very focused on my form. I have weak ankles and must stay focused so as to stay upright. I also suck in my gut and hold my spine up to protect it from my not so elegant running. I hate running like a girl. I work on that too – trying to power up my stride and form. The results are all good. I am finally rediscovering my waist and a firm musculature to my legs and but.
I haven’t run in years – many years. I remember running as a youth – just for the fun of it. Surprisingly it wasn’t very fun in gym class. I can only say that gym made it a chore and I hate chores. I would run down the gravel road or the dirt lane-ways with abandon. When I lived north of San Francisco I got into running – ran for 10 then 15 minutes at a time until I built up to a 1/2 hour. I never got higher than that as it was a good amount to stick to. My son was another motivator when he was quite young – we’d run a lot. Two years ago I got a dog to get me out of the house and to be a companion. When I’m alone I tend to read or paint – neither exercises anything but my eyes and hands. It is working. Dali and I go out every day – multiple times.
I live in an urban area that can get boring after a year of walking in the same parks or streets. I have used the baseball field for running as it is kept really smooth and has a stone-chip outer edge to the field, like a lane-way. After 2 years, even the dog is not too motivated some days. Out of desperation one day I took to running in the soccer field. For some reason it is more fun – perhaps because it is full of surprises [holes] and it is something new.
At first my running was pretty sad. One trip from goal post to goal post just about killed me. Now in the soccer field I feel elation. I can run up and down and across many times just trying to keep my legs pumping and staying upright. A few days ago I thought I instantaneously sprained both feet when I was in a real sprint. Humbled I limped along until I could try again. There is a sort of stiffness that has settled in to my tendons as I have aged – probably due to a more sedentary lifestyle.
Naturally my dog loves the running. I trick her when she’s sniffing at something and not paying attention – I sneak away as fast as I can. Naturally she’s at my side in no time. It is fun to look around and see her ‘flying’ across the field. She loves the challenge of not losing me. Running with her off leash is best for us both. With the leash she seems to think she has to win the race so it may look pretty funny with me running behind a Chihuahua in full-out running mode. It is even better to run around in the country. My parent’s collie thinks so too.
I turned 60 recently. It has really made me think about aging and taking your body for granted. I love going to the soccer field and running around like a nut while the local kids are playing nearby. They don’t seem to take any notice of me but they love the dog. As I look around I can see that I am the only adult having fun. Perhaps I am a less mature individual – I’ve always been a bit different. It shocks me that as we age we think we can’t be exuberant. Is there a rule?
All the dog-walkers in my area stand or stroll – no power walks or running. Their dogs must be very upset. Their inactivity makes me want to scream. Any adults I’ve asked have declined the idea of running with their dogs – they say, ‘they can’t run any more’. Of course you see runners in the park – if they have dogs they seem very happy.