I've been wanting to write something about running, but my ideas and goals keep shifting. So I'll just say for now that I have been, and have been getting back into a regular rhythm, one that feels right and sustainable. Enough to keep me on an even keel - since I don't do well when not physically active (and vigorously so) - but not so much that I can't do other things I want to. I've also begin sprinkling in short bits of other activity: strength/core training, running stairs at work, shadow boxing. All things I'd neglected during last year's marathon training, and all things I'd missed (and paid for, physically, in missing).
This is all contingent on weather/work/health, and healthy kids too, of course.
I've got two races on the calendar, both for fun. That is to say, I'm not training for them, other than being able to cover the distance without stopping.
In April there's the Shamrock Shuffle 8K, put on by the same people who do the Chicago Marathon. It's a madhouse, the city's start to the running season, and covers much of the same downtown course as the marathon. But it's done in less than 5 miles.
I last ran this with The Dude, before we had kids. I'm running it again with him this year - which means we somehow need to figure out childcare for the boys. At 6:30 on a Sunday morning. I don't think we thought that through when we signed up for it together. Since this is his regular spring race I may bow out if we can't figure something out for the kids.
Then in May there's the No Child Wet Behind 5K. This is put on by Doulas of Chicago and SWADDLE to collect diapers and raise funds to collect diapers for local service agencies. From Swaddle's website:
Few people are aware of the "Diaper Gap" that exists in the United States. Needy families cannot purchase disposable diapers with most government assistance like food stamps and WIC. Day care centers require a full day's supply of disposable diapers for parents to leave their babies so they can work. Cloth diapers are not allowed in day care centers and most families in need do not have their own laundry facilities and commercial facilities do not allow cloth diapers to be washed in their machines. The need for diaper banks is huge.
I became aware of this need some time ago and a friend of mine is a doula, so I'm hoping to get a bunch of my running friends and colleagues to join me in this.
I've been talking to another running friend of mine about the idea of "retiring" from competitive running. We have different thoughts on what this means to us, but it's a fun idea to throw around. Dark outside, and negative wind chill? I'm "retired". No need to feel bad about missing a run.
But I do miss running as much as I used to, and I miss having a running goal in mind. So I continue to think about what I get out of running and what I want to get out of it, and weigh that against the other things I want to be doing and the mindset I want to cultivate in going about my life. And I'll just keep running.
Lots to think about.