Sundays are the only day of the week now that I sleep past 6:30am and once the truly long marathon training runs begin even most Sundays will become early to rise days. For me that is quite a change. I have always been the person who likes to lie in bed in the morning, snoozing or just daydreaming. I find it a relaxing and comforting time and over the years pushing myself to get up early when I don’t have to hasn’t met with lots of success.
So this past Sunday when I woke up around 7:30 and heard the rain outside I definitely wasn’t in any mood to get up for my run. I knew I needed to get going soon though as the day was going to be busy. If I didn’t run early in the day then there was no way I’d fit running into my schedule. So about 15 minutes later I actually pulled the blankets off and put my feet on the floor. Then I heard it, the absolute deluge that was just kicking in from the sky, and quickly climbed back under the covers. Rain was one thing, but driving, heavy rain, just wasn’t happening. I figured it would stop soon.
I was right. The tremendous downpour did stop fairly quickly and I pulled myself out of bed and downstairs for a quick breakfast. Then it was off for my run. It was still raining, but at a more normal rate. There was no need for an ark to make it down the block.
The beginning of the run felt great. Everything was clicking, my legs, my breathing and my mindset. There was little negative chatter and I enjoyed “inspecting” the houses as I ran by. The first hill I came to I climbed it well. I was definitely working hard, but it was a good climb. Then I hit the long straight-aways where it feels like you’ll never reach the end. The straight-aways I find to be the toughest part. There aren’t enough turns to set good markers for myself so that I feel constant mini accomplishments. I can’t say I enjoyed this section on the run, but I did finish it.
Then I made the turn towards the really big hill on this route and I began talking myself into the climb. I kept telling myself over and over to just take one more step, focus on the next telephone pole, remember that there is a big downhill after this climb. Don’t quit!
After I conquered that hill, I was tired. I took the next half mile or so a little easy, but then I reminded myself that my goal is to finish the marathon in under 5 hours and to do that I have to get faster. That made me pick up the pace again and to start pushing myself just a little faster than normal.
As I kept up the faster pace I noticed that after a half mile or so my body seemed to be adapting. The faster pace was getting easier. My breathing was getting better and my legs were beginning to respond well. They were becoming less like dead weight being forced to move forward.
I was willing to bet that other runners had experienced this phenomenon before, but I hadn’t. It was new to me and I loved it.
As I reached my street and the last 2 blocks of the run I really picked it up and ran hard to my house. A couple of my neighbors were outside and saw me finish. I’m sure I looked exhausted since I’d really pushed myself for the past 2 miles or so. I felt great though. I’d learned that my body could go faster than I’d given it credit for. It could adapt if I pushed it and just kept at it. I was getting stronger and that 5 hour mark was getting closer!