A Cross Country Run

Most readers of this blog know I love running. I’ve been doing it consistently for 11 years and it’s such a big part of my life that I go crazy if I go more than a day without putting in least doing a couple of miles. Despite my love of running, the one thing I don’t do very often is enter 5k or 10k races (or races of any distance for that matter). I’m just not that into getting up and driving across the valley just to do something I can do by opening my door and going outside. I know a lot of runners, including Marathon Girl, enjoy the challenge of racing others and seeing if they can make a personal best.

Me? I’m not that driven. I’d rather hit the Start button on my watch and start running then hit stop when I’m done a three, five, or 10 miles later. I have personal best times I try to beat but if I beat them, great. If not, no big deal.

So yesterday I did something unusual: I ran in a local 3.2 mile (don’t know why it wasn’t and even 5k) race that was sponsored in part by my employer. When I arrived I surprised to learn that it was a cross-country race. This means instead of running on sidewalk or the road, you’re running around on grass—in this case running approximately three one-mile loops around the perimeter of a local park.

Running on grass isn’t like running on cement or asphalt. It’s like running on sand. There’s no bounce after each step and you usually end up running slower than normal. It also works the muscles in your legs a lot more. The course also included two hills. Again, not too big deal. Because I live practically next to a mountain, running hills during part of my run is something I do just about every day. In the end the grass and hills didn’t affect me too much. I finished in 24:12 (7:34 pace) – much faster than I anticipated under the circumstances and was very happy with my performance.

The only downside was that the cross country run made my body feel old. By the afternoon my feet and back were aching. Today my entire body felts stiff—something it rarely does even on days that I push myself. I know those kinds of aches and pains simply come with getting older. Still, I was hoping to put those off for at least another decade. J

So tomorrow I’ll go back to my old running ways: running outside on my familiar routes. Maybe my boys will ride with me. Maybe I’ll run alone. Either way, it’s going to be fun.