Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Bridge and Running … my two loves, different, different but the same

I have played bridge since I was about 18. I started playing with Mark, the boy next door and we had some late night games with Mark’s friends. I read books by Charles Goren and as a  counsellor at summer camp taught bridge as a night-time activity to campers who actually thought I knew how to play. At university I feel in with the bridge crowd. All men but me who cared more (a lot more) about bridge than studies. Off and on since then I have played for fun, competed, directed games,taught and wrote about bridge.

A few years ago I retired from my main way of making money: directing large complex computer projects and other related activities. This was a really high stress occupation and frankly though I loved it I had had enough. I became a “full-time” part-time worker at Master Point Press. Now I had time to do other things. I had never been much of an athlete but I had always been a walker… I mean a serious walker, miles and miles of walking.  Eventually in the winter of 2013 this led to a running program and in the time since running has been my avocation. (No, I haven’t given up on bridge. I still teach. i still play (mostly online). I still keep my bridge mind in shape through some work at Master Point Press.) I also muck around with tennis.

If you are ever interested in running the running equivalent of the ACBL’s Learn to Play Bridge is C25K. I love the name… Couch Potato to 5K (or 3.1 miles). Pretty much anyone who is not disabled can do this program. It starts off slowly and gently and at the end of it you can complete about 3 miles of walking and running. If you are already a walker you should be able to do the program in about 10 weeks. There are many plans on your smartphone, smart watch and the web. But also a lot of companies selling something… here is a link to a sample plan if you want to try. I wish we could think of a cool name like that for a learn to play bridge program..B to BB (Bored to bridge bum … maybe not).

One big difference for me between bridge and running is the word competitive. I run races. I do this mainly because it gives me goals but I do love the feel of the race. The runners gathering at the start (hundreds of them in a mostly orderly bunch), the ceremony before the race, the run and chat with others and at the end the cheesy medal, your photo and the big sign that you cross under that says FINISH.

What I really like is that I am there to run and to finish and not to win. I really wish all the others well. I don’t need to beat them. I may have a target time but for me as for most recreational runners the goal is to finish and that alone makes me happy. I pretty much never feel like that at bridge except perhaps at those rare times when I actually won something important to me.

Why I love bridge:

Social (unless you play with robots online like I do sometimes).

Works your mind (I wonder if it really does keep your mind young, I truly hope so).

Fun? (I don’t find serious tournaments actually “fun”, do you?)

Community… I love bridge people (well most of them.)

Why I love running:

Can do it outside most of the time (I won’t run in thunderstorm, hail, and a few other weather quirks).

Requires minimal equipment (note – I have collected a closet full of running clothes, running watches, ipods, water bottles, belts, of course running shoes etc. .. so have most runners),

Can do it alone. I like alone. I like listening to music or an audiobook or even just looking at the scenery. When I run I am transported to my own place.

Running works my body. After about 18 months of running I have a runners body. I am lean. I have strong legs. I have a very healthy heart, lungs and well everything. 

Fun … maybe. It is lovely when you are through and sitting down with something to eat or drink and feel a bit buzzy after a long run.

Community… to me running is mostly alone but I do belong to a running group and have fun with them. Note: most of them are pretty much half my age. Runners as a group are young.

Competing… Winning is finishing.

Of course you could have the best of both worlds and run AND play bridge…. healthy mind in a healthy body.

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