Whether you do it alone or in a group, to me running is a very solitary activity. It not only is an awesome physical feeling, but the time it gives you to think is priceless. I love the sense of freedom and independence that running gives me. When I’m in my best shape it feels more like flying that running. Although I’m still very much on the ground and not exactly blazing fast, when I can do it without worrying about loosing my breath or muscle soreness, the sense of freedom is pretty awesome.
I can run anywhere, a neighborhood, downtown, the harbor, a trail, or at the beach. Because I have a great beach to run on very near my work and home, I’ve been running after work lately. There has been another benefit during the winter, I’m running just at the right time to see a great sunset over the Pacific! I use an app on my Android phone called iMapMyRun that uses the GPS in the phone to record the route, and then gives you the distance and time both on the phone and on their website MapMyRun.com. It’s still in Beta and not perfect, but it works well enough that I’m able to motivate myself to run for better times and makes it easier to record my progress and set goals. The same app can be used to record walks, bike rides, hikes, and gym workouts.
One of my regrets as I’ve gotten older is that running also leads to more injuries for me. This has reduced, sometimes to nothing, the level of running that I’m able to do. I’ll run a few times, lift something the wrong way, and I’m done for a couple of months. In the past year I’ve had months of injured hamstrings, feet, and a couple serious back issues. I’ve also had numbness in my thighs. Thankfully, I now think that numbness came from irritated nerves in my hips not in my back, so it is much more manageable. I’m starting yet again a running program as part of my overall fitness plan. I’ll be trying to get up to 2-3 runs, 10 to 15 miles a week, but I’m going to approach that goal slowly with lots of stretching and recovery time, especially at the beginning. So far I’ve recorded 4 runs in 12 days, the tightness and soreness have gone away, but I still have a long way to go to be back on track.