I used to freak out at the thought of not working out. No sweat? Big problem. I can even recall one time in college when I was so paranoid about what would happen if I skipped my daily run that I laced up my sneakers and got to it after meeting Noah for a beer at a local bar. Yes, I was that obsessive and that compulsive. And no, I’m not totally proud of that period of time.
To be fair, I think a big part of me was just unsure of how to approach my newfound hobby. Before that time, I had never run more than a quarter mile (if that) in my entire life without panting like a dog. The fact that I had build up my endurance to between 3 and 5 miles without stopping was astonishing to me. I think that, at the time, I truly believed that a day without running would cause me to regress; that I’d wake up the following morning back where I started and struggle to make it down the block. It took a long time, but obviously, but eventually I came to realize that simply wasn’t true.
I spent the last few days in Washington, D.C. visiting Noah’s friends and family. And while I ran and hiked on Friday — a day spent out of the office and away from work — I neglected to run on Saturday and Sunday, and you know what? I’m ok with it. I survived two sweat-less days in a row.
Friday morning, I awoke in what I like to think of as a tree house. Nestled in the woods overlooking the Potomac River, it’s difficult to feel anything but energized when staying in Noah’s old home.
(Oh hey, it’s a deer.)
After waking up slowly and enjoying a warm mug of coffee with way too much milk, along with a bowl of fresh berries, bananas and almost slices…
…Noah and I started out on a short, aimless run. What began in a park soon turned to a quiet and lovely suburban run along tree-lined streets. The rolling hills, while tough and onerous at times, were also challenging and fun. Without any races on the horizon, I tackled each hill slowly and without aggression, ascending and descending at a calculated, careful pace.
Friday’s run didn’t last very long — maybe 3 miles at most — but it was perfect nevertheless. Soon after, we followed up that short excursion with another outdoor adventure, this one along the D.C. billy goat trail, which took us through the woods and along the canal and river.
It wasn’t an arduous hike, but it certainly presented a few minor obstacles that were fun to take head on. It felt amazing to be so immersed in nature and only heightened my excitement for our upcoming trip out west to Colorado over the weekend of July 4th.
On Friday night, Noah and i checked out the Nationals game with his dad.
(Noah was the embarrassing guy with the binoculars.)
It was an ideal evening for baseball, and it wound up being a great way to spend some time outdoors drinking beer and eating peanuts before hitting the hay at a respectable 12:00.
Waking up refreshed and certianly un-hungover, I had planned to run on Saturday — really, I truly did. But Noah and I were also supported to spend the day outside at a friends BBQ, and by the time we woke up, there was only room for one other activity during the day.
We weighed the options:
1) Go for a short run, shower and head out, or
2) Take a walk around the Eastern Market.
The Eastern Market is an adorable little fair by the capital with local artists and farm fare, and it had been years since I’d been back. Wanting to browse the work of a favorite local artist, we chose the road less traveled (at least, by my standards). It turned out to be worth it too; on Saturday, I traded in my typical morning run for this beautiful piece of work. Yes, it glitters. Literally.
The artist, Quest Skinner, is amazing and eccentric and soulful, and she signed the back of the piece with our future in mind. It says: “To the Goodmans. May this tree be the new roots to your life together.” I think I love her.
Sunday would have been the perfect day to run had we not woken up to a rain storm. So much for my weather app, which predicted that there would be sun.
Instead, Noah and I woke up slowly (again) and enjoyed a few pastries with his parents. It turned out to be a really refreshing way to spend our Sunday. I did things like drank ice coffee, sewed a hole in my shorts and packed for our journey back north. It was really involved and difficult.
After lazing around the house all morning, the skies eventually cleared up, so we took a trip to Alexandria, Virginia to walk around, shop a bit, and enjoy a nice family brunch. By the time the clock stuck 3, it was time to head back home.
So long, D.C.
Like I said, there was a time in my life where the fact that it’s been 48 hours since my last run would be eating me up inside. But I’ve come a log way since those days. For now, I’m just focusing on enjoying a Monday morning run on fresh legs.
How do you deal with “runner’s guilt” on days off?