Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Great Eight

My fast and furious 10K training calls for a weekly long, slow run. Last week, I set out for eight miles and it wasn't pretty. My legs were sore and tired from kettlebell the night before, it was warm and humid, and there was so much pollen in the air that my eyes started watering the moment I stepped out the door. I struggled to maintain a 10:00 minute per mile pace, and when my loop took me close enough to my house, I decided to quit while I was ahead. Six miles would have to suffice.

Much better.

Yesterday was my chance to redeem myself. Eight miles would happen, and I wouldn't give up, no matter how much I might want to. I learned a few lessons from last week and decided that kettlebell classes the night before a long run are a bad idea, and skipped. The weather yesterday was perfect for running - mid 50's, sunny, breezy, and most important - no humidity. I didn't bring any music with me, because sometimes my own thoughts are the best company, and I headed out at an easy pace.

Not only was I able to finish the eight miles, but my average pace was 9:35 - right on target! And best of all, I felt strong nearly the whole time. Sure, there were a few moments - mostly on hills - when I wanted to lay down and take a nap, but overall I felt great. I never seriously thought about cutting the run short, and at one point I even thought about pushing it to nine or ten, just because. (Thankfully, I came to my senses right around the 7.5 mark.)

I was really glad to get a solid long run under my belt. My running has been disappointing these last few weeks - shorter distances, inconsistent paces, and motivated more by a sense of duty than a love for the sport. I'm glad I stuck with it, though - I know it was those weeks of struggling that made yesterday's success all the sweeter. I finally feel like a runner again, and that's a good place to be.