Sunday, April 22, 2012

This is familiar territory...

What sparks nostalgia? For me, it's two things: music and smells.

About three years ago I began my journey into the world of running. Wow! I can't believe it's been over three years! I started slow (doctor's orders) then built up to some semblance of a "pace." I wanted to do something that I never imagined I'd be able to do: run a half marathon. What better way to get ready than to sign up for the race AND run it with a fundraising organization. Once your first pledge comes in, it's ON. You have no choice but to lace up and hit the trail/tread/road. When I first started training, I was good about meeting the running group out on the streets. I followed their training schedule, but life started getting in the way of my training. Waking up at 4:30 am five days a week made it difficult to wake up at 5 am on a Saturday to meet the running group.
"If only they would meet at 8:30 or 9:00, I'd TOTALLY make it," is what I told myself.
So, since I was close to my fundraising goal and had absolutely no plans on backing out of what I had committed myself to doing, I followed my line of reasoning and began training on my own here at the Cave.

To help, I downloaded music that had a rhythm to get me through my runs at a good pace. I ran for time, not distance. Thirty minutes was my goal. Walking and/or didn't matter. I just needed to get 15 minutes out and 15 minutes back. The first few times, I was lucky to get up the first long hill. Before I knew it, I was up BOTH long hills and past the first cattle guard. I'd say that was probably about 2 miles. One mile mile back. Little by little my distance got farther and farther. Two and a half out...two and a half back. And so went the routine. All the while listening to the Entourage soundtrack, BEP, Beastie Boys, Eminem, Lady Gaga (sorry, Boys, she has a great beat that's easy to dance - I mean - run to). As I drove around town, I'd hear these tunes on satellite radio and I'd get kicked into thinking about my runs. How did I feel? How far did I go? Could I go farther? Nostalgia triggered by music.

Fast forward over three full years and here's what I now know:
1. The rhythm of music has been replaced by the rhythm of my breathing.
2. The music of Gaga and Eminem have been replaced by the music of God (no, I won't get all churchy and stuff): finches, mockingbirds, grasshoppers flying through the air, the wind, the sound of my footfalls on caliche road.
3. My nostalgia has gone from being triggered by my iPod to being triggered by smell: dust, morning dew, mountain laurels, cedar trees, the bat cave less than a quarter mile away, my sweat.
4. My distance gets better and better the longer I run. I'm back to measuring my accomplishments based on what I see at the ranch. Today's 45' run was: two country road gates, two long, steep, and steady hills, and two cattle guards OUT and BACK for a total distance of 3.8 miles. Am I a 10' mile runner? Not even close. Today I was over 11'. Will I ever be? Probably not, but it's good to keep trying, right?

What's your nostalgia when you're out RYAO?