Emerging Runner – Here we go again

Wet day, dry run

The Emerging Runner has re-emerged. I know I’ve said that before but this time it may be true. After years of almost daily posts, I slowed to a near stop at the end of 2017. I had reached a point where both my commute and the medication I was taking for an eye condition were exhausting me and affecting my running. Doing less running meant having less to write about. I never actually stopped running, but my weekly mileage had steadily dropped almost 60% from peak. Over the past two years I’ve maintained that plateau and I knew nothing would change without real disruption.

While I couldn’t stop taking medication, I could do something about the commute. So I did. About a year ago I informed my company that I intended to stop working and a week ago I finally left. One week after leaving my job, I’m asking myself why I waited so long to do it. Instead of heading out to the office around 6:00 AM, I’m getting outside for almost daily runs.

I’m keeping my distances short, but the increased frequency has brought me up to 12 miles a week. My performance hasn’t improved much, but my stamina seems better. My hope is to return to averaging 18 miles a week, which was typical when I was training 5-6 days a week. I’d like to meet that target by the end of June, which I should be able to do while increasing weekly mileage less than 10%.

Today’s weather was windy and rainy but I wasn’t going to let that force me onto the treadmill. I dressed lightly and wore a hooded rain jacket and a pair of running shoes that do well in wet conditions. Now that I no longer wear glasses, running in the rain is a viable option. The low cloud cover made it seem earlier than 7:30 AM, and the streets were quiet. The only annoyance was the pooling of water at some intersections that required some careful stepping.

I finished my run very pleased that I’d ignored the rain. I didn’t see a single car the whole time I was out there and it reminded me of the days when I’d run with a headlamp and reflective vest at 3:45 AM. I always felt like I owned the road back then. If I can maintain the discipline, I will aim to get out by 6:00 AM before the garbage trucks, school buses and commuters invade my territory. The only guy I ever saw driving in the neighborhood at 6:00 AM was me and I would watch the occasional neighborhood runner with envy. Now I get to be that runner.

CaptionBot sums up my run experience

 

Today’s run (street): 3.2 miles

I used to be very disciplined about my running and would usually get out before the sun came up. In recent years I’ve slipped from typical 6:00-ish start times to a more indulgent 8:00 AM. Later starts led to later finishes that cut deeply into my weekend mornings. I’ve been thinking it would be good to return to earlier runs, starting today.

Although earlier starts were already part of the plan, I needed to be back in time for an 8:00 AM video call today. Having my running done by 7:00 AM gave me more time to get things done this morning. And I can always use extra time.

Being out at 6:30 AM was a different Friday experience for me. No recycling trucks or parents speeding down the road on their way to dropping their kids off at school. It was a chilly 38° and the glare from the rising sun was blinding, but I enjoyed being out there. I ran okay and covered my usual 5K Friday route. When I got home I took a selfie on my driveway to memorialize my multi-colored outfit.

After I downloaded the picture I stumbled upon Microsoft’s CaptionBot site where you can upload a picture and it captions it for you using artificial intelligence. The results are above. For the record I wasn’t exactly feeling “grinning emoji.”