Sunday, January 4, 1998

New Year's Resolution?

New Year's resolutions? I've made them in past years -- including promises of how many miles I would run and the other exercise routines I would do and the weight I would drop -- but not this year. No resolutions except one: to go easy on myself, not to hold myself to some set of numbers and do's and don't's, but just to relax and enjoy life.

Oh, that's not to say that I don't have hopes of increasing my running mileage and getting into better shape by the time some of the spring road races come up. (And if I do build up my weekly mileage I should be able to knock off a few pounds as well.) My problem right now, other than time, is in the aches and pains of an increasingly middle-aged body (Yes, damnit, I expect to live past 100, so that makes me middle-aged now!) and, more specifically, in the pain and stiffness in my right ankle. Okay, at least it's a change from the bad knees I used to complain about. The problem is, a little rest and some alternative leg strengthening exercises helped with my knees, but my ankle hurts whether I run or not. I ran a five mile race on Thanksgiving, but I don't think all of my runs from that weekend through to Christmas totalled more than ten or twelve miles. My ankle still hurt. I ran several times during the week and a half Christmas vacation I've just finished enjoying, more miles than I'd totalled during the four weeks before Christmas. My ankle still hurts.

When we lived in Binghamton, NY, most years I would run in a 5k race in the afternoon of December 31st, the New Year's Resolution Run. The race, five kilometers long, looped around Otsiningo Park. It was usually briskly cold, but if we were lucky the path would be bare and dry. There would often be a group of younger males, mostly college student home for the holidays, who would run in just shoes and shorts (sometimes with liberal applications of BenGay rub). Now my 12/31/94 shirt is the newest New Year's Resolution Run shirt I will have.

I had been thinking about running in the Hangover Classic in Bristol, RI, on New Year's Day itself, but it is a 5-miler and I decided that neither my legs nor my ankles were ready for that. The same thing applied to Little Compton Scenic Winter Road Race yesterday. It's a 4.8 mile run. Next weekend is the Kelley's Pace Frostbite Five Miler in Mystic, CT. I'll probably skip that one too. Ah, so when will I tackle an actual road race? Hmmm, there's the Frosty 5k Run in Newport in mid-February. Maybe if my ankle holds together and I begin to get some miles in...

Unless I start getting up to run around my neighborhood before dawn, the only time I have free for running is on weekends. When I'm neither taking nor teaching a class I could be free to run lunchtimes at work, but I've been stalling on renewing my Y membership. It's a lot of money (around $350) just for a place to shower and change (I do use the fitness center, but not that often) and although there are weeks when I use the Y three times a week, there are other times when I don't use it at all for two or three weeks in a row. So, when my membership needed to be renewed a few weeks ago, I just couldn't see the value. And, just thinking about it now, if I had renewed, in the six weeks since then, the maximum number of times I could have gone there at lunchtime would have been nine or ten times, which means in reality I might have gone three times. And I will be teaching this coming week, so that eliminates a lunchtime workout (not enough time).

A few years ago -- oh, okay, ten years or eleven years ago -- I would get up at 5:30, warm up (sometimes while watching a tv exercise show) and then go out for an early morning three mile run maybe three days a week, shower, dress, eat a quick breakfast, and be out of the house on my way to work by 6:50 or so. Okay, so I probably didn't do it that often during January in upstate New York, but yes, before Spring arrived I would reach the three or four times a week level. I just can't seem to get up and out like that these days. I try to get up around six a.m., stumble downstairs and fix a pot of coffee, feed the cat, feed the rabbit, bring in the paper, wake my son, bring coffee up for my wife and my daughter, wake my son again, eat breakfast, wake my son again....*grin*... and, if I'm lucky, get out of the house by 7:30.

And my New Year's Resolution is to just relax and try to enjoy life.

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