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(c) 2013 Trina Lambert

(c) 2013 Trina Lambert

What a treat today has been—nothing like enjoying 71 degrees at the end of January, especially, if like me, you get to get outside and go to the beloved spot that is Washington Park. We had similar weather yesterday so I knew to bring warm weather clothes for my post-errand run. I also knew to expect pretty much everyone and his/her dog to come play in the park—which they did. My poor dogs, home jumping around in our snow-melt mud puddles, have no idea what else they missed. For one thing, they missed seeing a Bald Eagle sitting majestically at the top of a tree, located just perfectly in front of a view of snow-covered mountaintops.

That’s the beauty of going the pace I go these days—I have a chance to smell the roses or—in today’s case—to look up and see the eagle. Didn’t take me too long to see the people craning their heads toward a tree while holding out their cell phones. I debated stopping, but decided just experiencing my glimpse of the eagle was enough. Of course, that didn’t stop me from ending my run over by that tree and trying for another look. No such luck, but once was enough.

My husband Sherman and I have spent the last few Thursday evenings running in the same location since it’s one place with good lighting and surfaces where most of the snow and ice melt quickly. Those recent nighttime experiences could not be more different from running out there today with all of Denver. Instead, the park is really quiet. The more adventurous souls are running on the dirt path (or more often, it’s a path hard packed in snow) using their headlamps—or nothing—to spot out the more treacherous surfaces. Our ability to run at all—slow as it is—is too hard-fought for us to take further risks with our bodies—which is why we stay on the better lighted roads that wind around the park.

We also do bring our dogs when we run together. For them, it’s no different if the thermometer reads 70 degrees or 10, or if the ground’s icy, dry, muddy, or all of the above—as long as they get to go.

Just looking around the dogs at the park—either ours in the quiet evenings or the ones I see out and about in the daytime—reminds me that it’s really about the “get to” not the “got to”—and, more than that, it’s about being in the moment. Dogs aren’t at the park thinking about taking a nap or hanging out on the couch nor are they worrying about when dinner will be—or even if they’re going to pay for going a little too far. They’re just running or walking. For some it’s all about the “go” and for others there’s the go and the geese and the people and the other dogs and the smells—oh my.

Oh my indeed. Love it in the cold and dark, but there’s no treat like getting out in the warmth and sunshine right smack dab in the middle of the winter. Whenever my steps feel hard-earned, may I remember that if I get to go, I’m doing OK. Just ask any dog—it really is all about the go.

(c) 2015 Trina Lambert

(c) 2015 Trina Lambert

That’s right, this year I aspire to live up to the shirt I won on Saturday—well, at least the “been there, done that” part. Since I already own a Polar brand watch that doesn’t have GPS, I’ll just have to stick to using my phone app to know where I’ve been.

Of course, I have higher aspirations than running more this year, but what I know is that when I can run more, I am in better mental condition to meet all my other aspirations. Running is circular for me—and not just when I’m running on a track.

What I don’t know is just how to get my body to heal in the ways I wish or how to keep myself committed enough to keep doing the hard work necessary to achieve the type of healing I want—especially in light of last year’s low results.

At the beginning of last month I was excited to get out on the roads, but instead my body got to fight that weird infection I hosted—and then it was fighting back against the treatments! Add in my son’s concussion and its effects along with waning light and all the tasks surrounding getting ready for Christmas and you can pretty much say I fell off the wagon, both in miles run and in maintenance exercises. Did what I could when I could with attending my regularly scheduled classes, but there was more of fudge than fitness about me in December. Usually I revel in the quiet focus exercise gives me during December’s crazy days, but this year my focus felt fractured.

Now it’s already January as well as time to pack away my excuses and direct my healing toward what I can do. Part of me has wondered if something about my prescribed exercises was keeping me achy during sleeping but simply by virtue of not doing those exercises, I can at least state that the exercises, as a whole, seemed to be helpful after all. I am again out sleeping on the couch with the dogs (where I go for a few hours when my hip thinks the bed is too uncomfortable) more nights than previously.

So while those exercises aren’t as obviously productive as I’d hoped they would be, they seem to help me more than not doing them—which means it’s time to jump back on that wagon—or at least back on the foam roller (and yoga mat) for my daily at-home routine.

And if the weather doesn’t cooperate with good running conditions, I’ll just have to pay to run inside. I don’t mind the cold, but what I really don’t need is a slip on ice to compound troubles for my wish-it-weren’t-so-achy hip.

At last Saturday’s run, I tread carefully on any icy or snowy spots and didn’t worry that I was at the back of the pack. Went there, (very slowly) ran that, and lived to win the T-shirt after standing out in the cold during the drawings for swag.

Then I went home (heated car seat cranked), then sat there in my (hot) bathtub. Been there, done that, and gonna’ keep doing it again and again if necessary—along with my exercises, of course—because I’ve got a shirt to live up to—and so many more places to go and things to do in my life.

Yes, I still have miles to go before I sleep—don’t want to miss them just because the road has been more than a little bumpy. Going to go there, do that, and keep dodging the potholes as best I can.

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