Ron Marinucci: "Some mornings I Don't Feel Much Like Running" - November 2013

Ron Marinucci: "Some mornings I Don't Feel Much Like Running" - November 2013

I admit there are some mornings I don’t feel much like running. No doubt people who know me find that surprising. Fortunately, I think, such days are few and far between. But I still have them. “Ugh. Maybe I should skip today.”

Experience, though, has taught me to get out there and run. Invariably I feel much better afterward. A run that might not start out so hot ends up as a good workout.

Sometimes I try a little psychology, although I’m not sure I’m fooling myself. If the run isn’t going well after a half mile or so, I tell myself I’ll stop, turn around, and walk home. I’ve rarely had to do that.

I’m not a streaker, one with considerable consecutive running days, by any means. Maybe the most I’ve even put together are three or four weeks of consecutive running. I do take off days, often planning which days not to run depending on family obligations, work, and other matters. I don’t run on extremely windy days or when the lightning strikes up the skies.

An example of this came a couple months ago. I was out of town, in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. The two nights previous to heading out to New England I’d had maybe seven hours of sleep, combined. And the day before this Saturday morning I had a late afternoon run after my flight on the very hilly campus of Amherst College. (OK, it might not have qualified as a “run,” as I walked and stopped and took in the sights as part of my nostalgia trip.) But, I was tired and had a long and full day ahead, but one to which I was really looking forward. Still, I hadn’t planned to run.

As so often happens when I travel, I get out to run as a sight-seeing adventure. When I wrestled with “to run or not to run,” I thought I’d give it a shot. I struggled at first, maybe the first mile or so, wondering if I should just go back to the motel and get ready for the day. But I kept at it, soon forgot about the lethargy, and began to enjoy the sights—a state park with the locks along the Connecticut River, the bridge across the river, a church and the town hall that were both constructed in the 1760s, etc. Before I knew it I had covered more than six miles and headed back to the motel to clean up, reinvigorated for a mid-morning breakfast with nine of my college teammates. I’m glad I opted to run.

Last weekend, I asked my running buddy Bob Drapal if he ever has similar thoughts about not running, that “maybe I should just take the day off today.” He readily agreed he has and knew exactly what I meant. But he, too, usually gets out to run anyway. And, not surprisingly, he also agrees he’s always happy he did. One thing that does bother him, though, is an afternoon run. If he can’t get out in the morning, he prefers to not run that day.

Sometimes I feel this way on Saturday mornings when I head out to run with my blind running buddy, Michael Holmes. For many years, Saturdays have been my “tired days” and it’s hard to motivate myself to run. On Thursdays, I usually leave the house for my classes around 8 AM, after getting the kids off to school. I return home after a long day about 10 PM. Fridays offer no respite, as I am usually up before 5 AM to start running the kids around to open gyms, “socialization Fridays,” etc. So, Saturdays find me dog tired. Often the last thing I want to do on Saturday morning is get up at 6 or 6:30, hop in the car for an hour drive, run for an hour or more with Michael, and then drive home. But I’ve never—never!—had a drive home when I didn’t feel great, on top of the world and ready to take it on. I often put in some Motown CDs in the player and sing along. I’m always glad I chose to run instead of cancel. Of course it’s the run, but I think even more so is Michael. He is so darn inspirational!

That’s what gets me out the door on those infrequent days when I question whether I want to run. I remember the past and how after practically every run I am glad I went instead of slacked. “Just get out the door and run. You’ll feel better for it!”

Many runners cut back or even stop running in the winter. Days are shorter, conditions are often snowy and icy, and it’s cold! Winter, though, is my favorite running season. I do run a bit less, mostly because of the increased darkness and seasonal perils, but not much less.

For me, the winter running season is kicked off in November, namely with two road races I always run. They are both festive and really begin to put me in the holiday mood.

One of them is the Big Bird in Roseville. It’s a 10K, with an accompanying 4K and mile, held the second Sunday in the month. I usually race it, but sometimes opt to just run it, enjoying conversations in the pack. This year is the 35th Big Bird. Darrell McKee has run all of them and, in fact, used to train on the same streets way back when he was on the Roseville High School cross country team. The Big Bird is one of my favorite races and I know my streak pales next to Darrell’s, but I’ve run all of them but one since 1989. (I missed due to a family wedding in New York. But I did find a proxy race in Buffalo, noteworthy to me for the post-race recovery food—a gymful of pies, cakes, brownies, and other baked goods courtesy of the mothers of the high school athletes who sponsored the race.) I plan to be in Roseville again this year.

The other holiday race is the Light Fest 8K on Hines Drive in Wayne County, usually two days after the Big Bird. This is its 17th year and I’ve run every one of them. Hines Parkway is closed to traffic for the evening (as it is the next night for bicycles), but all of the lighted holiday decorations are up and running. They are wonderful! Weather conditions are always adventurous, ranging from shorts-and-tee-shirts (temperatures in the 60s) to heavy rains (practically flooding the course) to snow. One year we ran along with the Comet Hale-Bopp! I ran the first two years by myself, but since have included family and friends. We, sometimes as many as nine or ten of us, run or walk the race and then celebrate afterward with pizza at our nearby favorite pizza place.

I can’t think of any better ways to kick off the winter running season or the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Check the RMDC calendar for other great holiday races.