Day 101 – Running in the garden

11 04 2010

Sunny Sunday with garden clean-out on the list. I always dread the job of pruning shrubs and pulling out last year’s dried up perennials, but so love the result and clearing the way for new flowers to grow. As I stood knee-deep in dead Russian sage, I was thinking gardening and running have a lot in common for my well-being. And on my also-dreaded 10-mile run later, I came up with this list of commonalities…one for each mile:

1. Thinking time: I can lose myself in weed pulling and watering just like I can cover miles without really thinking about what I’m doing. This is therapeutic!

2. Water is key: Pretty self-explanatory. In dry, mile-high Denver hydration is everything. I put in a drip system for my flowers last year. Might need a better plan for myself this year.

3. Trial and error: No one exactly taught me how to garden or run, but I love to learn about both and experiment with different techniques. Are there more garden blogs or running blogs out there? Will let you know soon…

4. You pay a huge price for neglect: Taking any kind of break is more of a financial loss in the garden — a physical and mental setback in running. Weeds take over, and legs lose momentum.

5. My kids and husband put up with both hobbies: They let me play in the dirt and on the trail — kids preferring to join me in the garden and husband relating more to the run. (Zach: “Didn’t you run Friday?” Scott: “Didn’t we buy one of those bushes last year?”)

6. Weather can make or break: Gardening and running suck in the wind, and sunshine makes both so nice. It doesn’t rain in Denver, leaving me and my flowers quite thirsty (see number 2).

7. Changing it up is a lot of the fun: Like my favorite 3-mile loop, I will always replant snapdragons, zinnias and dahlias. Beyond that, I love to try new combinations and colorful variations on old themes.

8. Outside makes me happy: I feel better in the fresh air — gardening and running get me out there, appreciating the changing colors of spring, summer and fall whether in my own yard or running by someone else’s.

9. Visible results: For every ounce of effort, if you wait patiently enough (sometimes weeks, sometimes years)…there is a tangible payoff — whether it’s a hydrangea that finally blooms or crossing the finish line for a half marathon.

10. Ongoing commitment You are never finished running or gardening. There is always the next season with goals to accomplish. No matter how hard you run or how beautiful your flower bed, it won’t look the same without equal effort next year.

So today all of my flower beds and my mind are clear — with more than 21 miles logged for the week, and a whole growing season ahead…

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