Run … or rake?

Exhibit A: Tuesday, 1:18 p.m.

Yesterday, I was scheduled to do an 8-mile training run on single-track trail. I also had a boatload of work to do. But the night before, I’d done the math: 8 miles on trail, that’s about 1 hour and 20 minutes at my current pace. Add in 20 minutes of travel time to and from the trailhead and I was looking at an hour and 40 minutes (OK, an hour 50 when you throw in stretching and the fact it probably takes longer than 10 minutes to get to Umstead). I factored that into my workload, got up an hour early and got to work.  I can make this happen, I thought.

Then I looked out the front window and what I saw sent a shiver.

What I saw was the top photo. It sent a shiver because only Saturday I had spent six hours raking the front and back yards. Six hours bent over a non-ergonomically correct rake making nature’s leafy mess go away. Now, just two days later, it was back twofold. At the rate the leaves appeared to be

Exhibit B: Tuesday, 2:26 p.m.

giving up the ship, there could easily be a foot by day’s end. And with rain in the forecast for Wednesday, the act of raking could, literally, become a Herculean task.  I grabbed my work gloves and rake. So much for my run.

I’m not here to kvetch, however, about the occasional downside of home ownership. Rather, I use yesterday as an example of why you need to be flexible with your workouts. Yes, in a perfect world where the leaves fall only on my strength training days, yesterday would have been ideal for running. But I still got a good workout out of the deal.

I ended up raking vigorously for one hour and eight minutes. When I’d finished (see second photo), my body — my whole body — was complementing me on a good workout. Barbara Ainsworth, an exercise epidemiologist at San Diego State University quoted on the AARP website, says raking helps build upper body strength as well as strength in your core,

Exhibit C: Wednesday, 8:25 a.m.

your stomach and back muscles. (For the record, according to the calorie calculator, I burned 382.97 calories. According to the calorie calculator, I would have burned 1,000 calories on my 8-mile run.) Plus, there was no sooty carbon footprint attached to my yardwork and I had a spotless front yard to boot.

Or I did. Then I went out this morning to get the paper (see Photo Exhibit C).

Looks like I won’t be running today, either.

* * *

Postscript: I decided to run anyway, did 8.2 miles on the trail at Umstead, was grabbed by numerous roots and rocks hiding beneath the leaf litter, finished in a slow but study 1 hour and 28 minutes. I returned home and found this (Exhibit D) waiting for me.

Exhibit D: Today, 1:45 p.m.


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