I have to admit that the weather made a huge difference - it was great running weather: overcast, misty rain, chilly air and a bit of a breeze. Exactly what I needed. Now, if you're keeping track, you'll noticed that I'm missing a running day this week: Tuesday. Tuesday was also perfect running weather, minus the misty rain. But unfortunately, I was sidelined with a nasty migraine, the worst I've had in a while. It was bad enough that despite three Excedrin when I woke up, I still called in late to work for the first time ever - when you work from home, it's hard to call in sick, unless you are really, really sick and can't even work from your bed with a laptop (which I have done, by the way). The headache did go away, but the other symptoms stuck around for a full day, and I felt weak and yucky right through Wednesday. Ah migraines.
At any rate, I didn't get to run on Tuesday and boy, did I need to run today. As you know, I've been struggling with finding the motivation for longer runs, debating whether I'm a recreational or a distance runner. I just couldn't shake a vague feeling of struggle every time I thought about running or went running. But I feel like I'm starting to get past that hurdle. Yesterday, I read a blog post by Liz Waterstraat about running hill repeats (something, by the way, I hope to never do). She talked about seeing Bob Scott, an 80-year-old Ironman, while she was running (that's right, 8-0. He's the current Ironman World Champion for his age group - if I'm still running when I'm 80, please come and find me). When Liz talked to him at the top of the hill/mountain, after her sixth hill run, she told him "This is so hard." His reply - "OF COURSE IT’S HARD! But it makes you strong, Elizabeth."
"THAT'S IT!" I thought! (Picture Charlie Brown yelling this at Lucy in A Charlie Brown Christmas and you'll understand my eureka moment).
This IS hard.
I think that's all I wanted to hear - someone admitting that it's hard for them too (especially a pro-triathlete like Liz). Running is hard work, especially when you get into the higher mileage, and I'm not even running that far yet. You battle with your body, with the weather, with your mind, with your schedule, with your diet, all of that. Just to run a little bit further each time. To have a bad day, followed by another bad day, sometimes followed by a good day. It's HARD. But it's making me stronger. The muscles in my legs are feeling SO strong lately - I can feel them with almost every movement I make. That feeling, I love.
So there's my motivation. This is hard. But it makes me strong.
With that in mind, I prepared myself for today's 60-minute run. I would like to say I jumped right out of bed and ran first thing, but that wouldn't be true. The last two nights, it's taken me until after 3am to fall asleep, so I try to sleep as late as I can so I can be a functioning, productive member of society. Those of you who know me know that it's not pretty when I'm tired. Last night especially, I was feeling jittery, with my legs on edge. That was another sign I needed to run today, to push my body past fatigue so that tonight, I can sleep.
So I headed out on my lunch break with the goal of 60-minutes and the desire to again, break an 11-minute pace. The first two miles were great. My body felt good (of course it did after three days off!), I was keeping a good pace, and the little bit of humidity wasn't holding me back. Around the start of the third mile, I got a twinge in my right knee, but nothing serious. Unfortunately, my knees ended up aching right through the rest of the run, though I didn't let it slow me down! Miles three through five were definitely the worst - I felt like each subsequent mile was twice as long as the last one. But I was feeling good about it mentally as I passed Sunday's halfway point of about 2.5 miles and I knew that if I could keep up my pace, I'd definitely make it past my 5 mile barrier.
I just kept doggedly at my pace and sped up as much as I could when I got to the last half mile or so. With only a few minutes left, I knew I was going to finish strong - finally, another great run in the books. My body felt great towards the end again (minus the knee issues), but as soon as I stopped running to walk, I could tell I'd really pushed myself today - my legs are feeling it! But managing 5.6 miles in 60:15 for a 10:45/mile pace makes me very, very happy.
This weekend, I'm running 45 minutes on Saturday and 35 on Sunday, so we'll see how those go. Next week, I'm off to San Francisco, with a jam packed schedule, so I'll be interested to see how/where I can fit in some runs!