I like to begin my runs in the dark. For some crazy psychological reasons, it seems easier to run in the dark. I love knowing I have miles behind me when the sun rises. Today I was a little slow so I only finished 4 miles before it was fully light. That was fine because I was under 20 and in the running groove by then.
I woke up before the sun and the house. This greeted me on the counter. What a guy....love my Drew!
For me, this run was a warm-up of 3 miles, three 5 mile runs, a prep mile, and go time for the last three miles. With my run broken down into segments, it never seemed longer than five miles to me. That was my focus....whatever segment I was running. It was also a great morning to run. It was cool, but not freezing. There was a slight breeze, but not too windy. I was chilly, but not cold and never hot. The morning was made for running!
The first three miles were pretty slow. My legs were still waking up and I was not trying to break any speed records. I knew I had a long way to go and I wanted to start slowly, but gradually increase my pace.
9:52, 9:45, and 9:39
The next five miles were all about trying to settle into a groove. I did not turn on music as I wanted to focus more on my breathing and keeping my pace as steady as possible. I was sort of successful.
9:28, 9:15 (took a GU), 9:26, 9:19, and 9:13
Unfortunately I had some stomach issues so decided I needed to head home for a quick restroom break. I ran until mile 11 and returned to running as quickly as possible. It was a great win-win to know that my run was half finished.
9:09, 9:07, 8:56 (quick bathroom break and then took a GU), 9:12, and 9:10
My final five miles before the big push were probably the hardest of the run. It was getting a little windier and I was obviously getting more tired. I was in full focus mode to maintain my pace. I was determined to keep each mile faster than 9:20. I wanted to be more tired this week than last week when I had to pick up the pace. I also decided to take another GU pretty quickly. I had waited to take #2 because of the bathroom break and I felt like my body needed some energy. It was a good decision.
9:18 (took GU), 9:15, 9:09, 9:11, 9:06 (took last GU as planned)
Mile 19 was my mental preparing mile. I used this time to think about how hard the last three miles were going to be and how much I wanted to crush those miles. I wanted to run fast. I was excited to go fast and see what I had left.
For the last three miles, I became the runner that really bothers me. I so dislike when other runners or walkers don't give a little wave or smile or hello when I pass them. I just think it is rude. Well, this morning I was that rude runner. I was focused and except for staying safe on the road, I was only worried about me and my pace. Oops!
I put in both ear buds and just ran. I wasn't bothered by the inclines. I kept my breathing even and just kept moving my arms. Where my arms go, the legs follow! Mile 20 was 8:15. Mile 21 was 8:18. For the last mile, I tried to move as fast as I possibly could. I was aiming to go under 8 minutes. With about a half-mile to go, the song Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys started. I thought about the words and my run today...quickly. Then I realized I am on fire. I am crushing this run and it feels good. I finished mile 22 at 8:01...not quite under 8, but I will take it.
My total for 22.10 miles was 3:22....pretty freaking amazing!
Every single day I find a hundred things wrong with myself. I should be thinner, or stronger, or prettier, or nicer, or fitter, or whatever. You name it and I think about it every single day. Today as I was running I thought about how stupid those things are. I will probably think all of them again tomorrow, but today I was strong mentally and physically. My body, as imperfect as I may think it is, carried me through an awesome, confidence boosting run. I have nothing by thanks in my heart today!
When my family finally arrived home from church and got settled, Drew left for a bike ride. I then had the privilege of being mommy. Yes, my kids made me nuts with some of their behavior today, but I also got to watch them play so beautifully and creatively in the yard while I rested. They knew I needed to rest and they let me. I also got to cuddle with my baby. I love these moments as much as freaking awesome 22 mile runs....probably even a little more!