I hadn’t gone without running for five days in a row for a very long time. But that’s just what happened, somewhat expectedly, when my family drove to the East Coast this past week to stay with good friends. I knew it’d be tough to fit in any exercise, what with the 15+ hours of windshield time each way, then seeing my best friend from college and her family and all the activities that would come with that (taking the kids to the aquarium, escaping for a girls’ afternoon of sushi and shopping, staying up late with our husbands and catching up over wine – lots of wine).
But I packed my fabulous new running shoes anyway. I figured I might just fit in an early morning run near Jenn’s house. Never mind that I didn’t know the urban area at all, that’s what having a GPS is all about. It’s fun to explore a new place, especially by foot.
It just wasn’t to be, though, and I’m sure it was as much the fact that my mind fell into serious vacation mode as it was that our combined five kids – ages 11, 9, 5, 3 & 9 months – kept us busy and exhausted enough that quiet moments of simply sitting on their beautifully landscaped patio, sipping a cold drink, watching the kids play, listening to music, suited us just fine.
Of course, I ran as soon as we returned to northern Michigan. We arrived late afternoon, and after unpacking the car, starting laundry, figuring out dinner…I immediately threw on my running clothes and headed out the door. Waiting until dusk didn’t much change the humidity, but I didn’t care. The anticipation of an hour alone, feeling the night breeze against my sticky skin, treading up the familiar neighborhood hills that leave my lungs and legs burning in a good way, was thrilling after hours upon hours on the road (who knew Pennsylvania was such a wide state, anyway?).
I think my mini- break from running actually was a very good thing, even if I did get a tad twitchy during our stay in Connecticut. It was good to rest my body and mind, to not worry about being on a particular mileage schedule. Of course, this is always easier when you’re resting because you’ve got plenty of other fun stuff going on. When you’re laid up because of injury or illness, well…that’s an entirely different story.
So I’m back on track, it seems, having logged a couple of solid runs so far this week. And I’m looking forward to keeping things moving along throughout August, which is always one of my most favorite months of the year – the lazy days of summer are at their peak, and with just weeks to go before another school year starts up, I relish each breezy, sunshine-y moment. Even the thunder-and-lightning afternoons, as we’ve had the past couple of days, seem magical to me since I love summer rainstorms.
If there’s one thing I hope to accomplish with my running during these final days of summer, it’s this: to savor the moments I’m out there on the trails, the times I can meet up with a friend for a run along West Bay, the minutes and hours I have to feel my body in motion. I think breaks from our exercise routine can help remind us why we run, why we absolutely love this sport so much, and how coming back to it after a couple days, a week or longer, only makes it all the sweeter.