As I ever so slowly propelled myself up the north shore hills this morning I felt a great weight on me. Holiday cookies and my weakness for cheese gets the best of me at times. Runners are extremely more proficient in their racing times when they are carrying low body fat percentages and lots of lean muscle mass. The lower a runners body weight the faster they can usually run and they also minimize injury as the impact of the body, especially the legs, is GREATLY increased with each additional pound of weight our frames carry. The pounding of our body weight on the chosen running surface also has a lot to do with muscle soreness and injury prevention. Concrete being the worse and grass or soft dirt being the best.
The weight I felt this morning however had little to do with cookies and cheese. I do maintain a weight of 145-147 lbs on a 5' 7" frame and my body fat ranges between 9-11%. For my age, being 52, this is acceptable to me and falls into the upper echelon for most men in my age group. No this weight was simply the weight of the world and the ever present holiday doldrums that emerge every year around this time to test our resolve and try to downright beat us into mental submission. Usually a run offers solace to ones soul, but today the weight was so great I actually cut the run short, covering only 4 miles and calling it quits. At the end of mile 2 I simply turned around and ran back to town. I have been running a minimum of 7 miles on my daily runs the last few weeks. I am pushing the distances and also training for a half marathon in early January at Disney World, a trip me and my son take every year at the same time. He is the only reason I have stayed on St. John, as I am ready to move back to the states, and it is that very situation that weighs so heavily on me during these Holidays. As he often tells me "I Love You" and I tell him "I Love You Too" and he says "I Love You More" and it goes on and on, I can look to the hills I ascend and descend daily and know the motion of life will never cease
As an athlete I find mental stress takes way more out of me than the most grueling run. Hours on these hills may wear me out physically, but mental unrest lingers much further than the weariness of tired muscles. That magic pill that a good run sometimes offers was no match for my mental weariness today. My North shore hill runs are a metaphor for life in general or course, all the ups and downs, and never really knowing where the mental aspect of the run will take you. Overall running has given me tremendous clarity and is a coping mechanism as well as the countless physical health aspects it has to offer. In the end though all we really have is what we have put into it.
Everyday offers new challenges and rewards and my next run will surely offer me something and until then I will count my blessings and be still.