Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Peaceful running

One of the biggest hurdles for new runners is getting to that point where you no longer hate running. It can take a while. It's not easy to enjoy running particularly when you're starting out. It just takes gritting your teeth and getting through it. It does get easier, but the only way is through consistency. Even now, after nearly seven years of running, I have days where I don't like it. I would have to say with honesty that 30 percent of my runs are not that fun. It's the good ones that keep me going through the bad ones.

For me, a key to running peacefully is to find places to run that are calming and relaxing. As I'm training for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon I need to find hills for training. Lansing is extremely flat, and it's difficult to simulate the conditions I'll find in Pittsburgh. I've discovered the hilliest course in the city is around the Mount Hope Cemetery.

It seems odd in a way running on the road around the cemetery. It's a 1.5 mile loop around, and there are some seriously challenging hills. I also find it very quiet and peaceful to run through the cemetery. Some may think it morbid, but there's something calming to me to wonder about the stories of all the people who have been laid to rest there. I think about Jerry who lost his wife Linda 12 years ago at the young age of 49. He has his name and blank date of death on the marker, and a bench where he can sit and mourn her. I run by there 3 or 4 times and think about these people that I don't know, and I find it peaceful running amongst them.

On Sunday I did my long run in the cemetery. It was so quiet that the only sounds were feet pounding the pavement and my ragged breath as I struggled on some of the steeper hills. And while not every run is tranquil, it's sometimes important to find that place where running and quiet meet. 


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