Reflections on my run today, my longest run to date at 5.78 miles. I ran this distance in 1:15:24 for a pace of 13:03. Last Thursday on my long slow distance (LSD) run, I ran 5 miles at a pace of 13:57. Today, I was not working on my pace. My focus was only on the distance I would put in on the course I prepared last night. My goal right now is to increase my distance by 10% each week. I went a little over 10%, but I handled the distance well. I had only a couple times in which I thought I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to handle the distance, once within the first mile and once when we had to stop for traffic in the fourth mile. It was as though my muscles hit a wall at that point and didn’t want to continue on. I pushed through by slowing the pace just a bit until I got my legs back under me. Then I was able to push the pace back up to where I had been before stopping and I felt fresh the rest of the way home.
I don’t know what was different about today. I often have to fight off the belief that I can’t finish, that I’m not going to make it, that my body or my mind won’t handle it. But, today, I didn’t have to fight through that negativity. I felt like I could run forever today. I felt light, my breathing was good, my heart rate was excellent, my stride felt great, my body felt strong. I felt alive. Don’t get me wrong; at times, I hurt; my muscles ached; my body felt fatigue on the climbs. But, my focus was not drawn to those moments. It was on the breaks, the reward of the descents after the climbs. It was on the beauty of the day, the clear, blue sky, the green of the grass and trees, the quiet solitude of some of the side streets we ran. It was on the moment, the here and now, the sheer pleasure of being outside, feeling the wind on my face and the sun on my body. I enjoyed today. Immensely. Can I say that again, louder? IMMENSELY! This type of day plays a key role in my motivation to continue running. I can’t wait to get out there again.
I know I will have my moments where it’s not so fun. I have already had many. It doesn’t matter, though, because in those not-so-fun times I have the opportunity to shift my focus from the difficult, the aches, the fatigue, to the beauty around me, to how well I am doing and how I am progressing, to how alive I feel throughout the rest of the day following my run (other than the few moments where I could lay down and take a power nap, of course!). It’s all part of the journey, part of life. But, these moments, these moments, make the journey so much fun and so worth it. Oh, and, of course, the bettering my pace despite not attempting to do so. It tells me that what I am doing is working. My training is working and that makes it fun and worth it, too.