Becoming a “Mature” Runner

ImageIf you started running as an adult, or even if you ran in school but then left it for a while, you probably understand what I mean when I say running evolves. I read once that it takes 3 years to create a mature garden and I think running is quite similar to my garden.

I was working outside yesterday, contemplating this one flower bed that I have nurtured for several years. When we bought this property, the day lilies and ivy had taken over everything. At that time, it was a summer home and each summer I worked to clear up one more section – pulling the ivy and cutting back…. well, everything.

porch photoA framed collage of pictures has survived almost 60 years on our porch and shows the original owner building the rock walls that surround the house. There was no ivy, no day lilies, the boxwood were mere shrubs where now they are trees. Each picture shows one man carefully and  lovingly creating something to be quite proud of for years to come.

A few years ago, I discovered a beautiful brick patio and a flower bed, long covered in mounds of ivy. I’ve spent three summers clearing and  planting this flower bed, experimenting with different flowers and plants – planting them, moving them, exploring different options. At the end of the season, I’ll buy up the discounted plants at the garden center and wait until the next spring to see them bloom. It’s a long time to wait to reap the rewards of a pretty bloom.garden 1

In the fall, it looks beautiful with just the right mix of mums and flowers that take it through to winter. Except that last fall a tree fell right in the middle of this flower bed and smashed all of the beautiful flowers.

My running also takes a good bit of experimenting – trying different training programs, diets, recovery strategies. I train for so long, weeks and months, and don’t reap the rewards of my effort until race day, maybe a whole season away. An unwanted injury is like that tree that fell last year just before the fall peak.

It takes years to evolve into a seasoned, mature runner I think.

And, if you’re reading my blog and you’re not a runner, I imagine you could substitute anything in place of the word running. For me, this could be any one of the other things I so enjoy in life: Tai Chi, definitely Kung Fu, piano, cycling.

When I was younger, I wanted everything now. I would obsess over something until I succeeded according to my definition of success. Sometimes you realize, success is the continuum of an effort undertaken over the course of your lifetime.

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2 thoughts on “Becoming a “Mature” Runner

  1. This is a really great post – I love the comparison of running to gardening! So true, and it’s something I think we all need to remember. Patience is one thing I need to work on in my running life for sure, so thank you for the wise words. 🙂

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    1. Thank you! I’m not sure I’ll ever quite conquer “patience” either. My husband always tells me to be patiently impatient. Somewhere in there maybe there’s a compromise for us runners. 🙂 thanks for reading.

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