There is a saying that goes, "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade..." Lately, I've been having my share of "lemons" so to speak which inevitably had me resorting to a major lifestyle change. As my doctor put it (bluntly, I might add), “If you wish to continue with your active lifestyle, you need to add in some variations to your weekly activity or you may permanently damage your legs and never run again for the rest of my life." When your doctor explains the situation to you in that way, YOU LISTEN. Not that my love affair with running has to end but I needed to substantially taper off on the frequency and mileage of my runs to give enough time for my injuries to heal and recuperate with regular rehab sessions.
Since that diagnosis or should I say, major reality check, I have taken up swimming early on and until recently, cycling as well where I am rediscovering the joy of just riding my bike.
Until a few weeks ago, my biking experiences were limited to way back in 1983 while I was training for my first Triathlon in Vancouver.
Biking for me today is a totally new experience as compared to running. Traveling in and around places like Makati, BGC, Roxas Boulevard, Cavitex, Alabang, Nuvali at bike riding speeds is invigorating and allows me to cover more ground to enjoy and also explore new places that I am unable to reach when I run.
Unlike running, my mind cannot wander off; always keeping constant awareness of my surroundings as I dodge bikers, pedestrians, public utility vehicles and pot holes among other things. But when I find myself out on open road, I am literally flying! That is when I'm feeling most alive, when I've left my cares behind and am in a meditative frame of mind, when I can release my anger just by how hard I pedal, when all I hear is the wind whizzing in my helmet as I glide downhill or the cooling effect of a gentle breeze as I bake under the sun. It is such a wonderful feeling almost like I am running again, achieving that runner's high but different altogether. In short, I am hooked!
I won't deny that I miss running and racing. Never mind the physical pain of the injury, the psychic pain of not being able to run can sometimes be even worse. But I know it's very important to come back slowly from an injury and not rush the process. Though my doctor's diagnosis was a bitter pill to swallow, I needed to keep that ego in check and adjust my goals and manage my expectations. At the very least, this experience gave me the opportunity to open my mind to other things.
So, when life gives you lemons...
we move on, we adjust, we learn.
I, for one, have learned to embrace it, saddle up and just go for a ride.
I have been a runner for a long time and developed some running-related habits that have become so second nature and normal to me even if my non-runner friends and family might just find them a bit quirky or weird. Here are just a few QUIRKS I've developed through the years simply because I love to run:
1. If I don’t have time for a run, I find myself in a bad mood the whole day coz I'm just not myself when I can't run.
2. I wear my running watch even when I'm not running.
3. I always have my next race(s) plotted on the calendar.
4. I have more fun shopping for running clothes than I do non-running clothes and can get overly excited over a new pair of road running shoes, trail running shoes, race running shoes, road to trail running shoes.... You get the idea.
5. I plan my vacations around a race or a running destination.
6. I skip out early at parties or pass up Friday nights out with friends because I have to get up early on Saturday to do my long run.
7. I dread getting up early for work, but excitedly pop out of bed for a run or race.
8. I have cried when crossing a finish line... several times (but then again, I am "iyakin")
9. I enjoy running in the rain or in any kind of weather for that matter. Even a raging storm can't stop me.
10. I can run happily and patiently for an hour but get impatient waiting in line at the store for five minutes.
11. I get jealous when I'm driving and I pass someone running on the road.
12. I consider running to be “therapy,” but eventually learned that running does not replace ACTUAL therapy which I reluctantly have to do now on a regular basis just so I can run.
13. Secretly, I want to either cry or punch my doctor in the face when he tells me that I can't run for two weeks.
14. I have running clothes and an extra pair of running shoes in my car or in my hand carry when traveling "just in case."
15. Last but not the least, On this very day I have been running for 36 years and accumulated a mileage of 107,492.43 kms to date. Yup, that's me - WEIRDO!