This morning was like most mornings. I woke up with a few minutes to myself before the toddler would come downstairs and demand a "snack" (he has issues with calling it breakfast for some reason.) In those few minutes I hop on the computer, check me email and make sure all my sites are up and running.
Most mornings, without fail, I get sucked into a conversation on twitter or reconnect with an old friend on facebook. Then, before I know it, hours have gone by and my morning is shot. It’s a pattern I find myself in often but I’ve been making an effort to get a better start. So this morning, with a 9 mile scheduled run hanging over my head and a house showing at noon I knew I needed to get moving. Even though I really had NO desire to leave the house on this gloomy Sunday Morning.
So I gave myself a little pep talk, threw on my running clothes and got in the car. I decided to hit a local trail that’s about 7 miles one way (at least that’s what I thought, more on that later.) That would give me more then enough room to run out 4.5 miles turn around and head back. Perfect! This "turn around" approach is really the only way I can mentally do a run over 2-3 miles.
The 15 minute drive there was a complete mind game. I gave myself every excuse to turn around and go home…
- It’s way to foggy to run.
- Looks like rain!
- It’s getting late, I should have left a half an hour ago.
- I have my 10 mile race next week, maybe I shouldn’t run so long so close.
- I could just pick up donuts and surprise the husband!
…but I kept driving towards my destination. It was as if I gave my brain permission to find excuses but I wouldn’t let me body actually act on them.
When I arrived there was only one other car just parking. A couple walking their 2 black labs. I hoped out of the car, stretched a bit, put my key in my sports bra, set 9.00 miles on the Nike+ and hit the trail.
Thankfully it starts on a nice downhill slope. That always motivates me when I’m about to run. I passed the couple, waving high and kept on jogging. The weather might have been yucky but the temperature was perfect. I was wearing short sleeves and had a bit of a chill but I knew by the end of the first mile I’d be perfect.
That first mile actually snuck up on me quickly (that’s the benefit of a the first 1/4 mile being downhill) and I felt great. I passed a few other runners going in the other direction and gave them a smile. I started contemplating the camaraderie I felt with these total strangers. I wondered how long they’ve been running. What mile are they on? Have they always been active or are they recent converts like I me?
Around the 2-2.5 mile I noticed it was raining. When did it start? I was so lost in my thoughts I didn’t even notice. For some reason running in the rain gave me an even bigger sense of accomplishment. I felt like an athlete with an unstoppable drive and motivation.
Once I heard the 3 mile notification I was getting really excited. Only 1.5 miles left to the half way point. For me, once I hit that point the run is mentally over. I mean I HAVE to get back to the car. I have no choice now. The hardest part is done.
Well, today I hit a snag before the half way mark. The trail ended! Apparently it’s not 7 miles one way, it’s 7 miles TOTAL! I had a hint of disappointed but then I realized it’s not that big of a deal. I just kept running! Off trail, into the city and on the side walk. I didn’t want to travel too far, as I didn’t know the area too well, so I did a few laps around the block.
Almost exactly at the 4.5 mile notification I spotted a Robin Redbreast giving herself a bath in a puddle on the sidewalk. It made me so happy I smiled and laughed out loud. I was overcome with just a sense of happiness at that moment. Here I was out and about, running miles away from home, miles away from where I started. I felt good, great even. Not winded, not tired just moving forward. And I’m seeing things I would normally not be seeing, or even noticing. All because I just got out the door. If I didn’t what would I be doing right now? Fiddling on the internet? Watching TV?
This is SO much better.
At this point I headed back to the trail. I had a feeling I’d be just a little short of my 9 mile mark when I got to the other end but I new there was a short spur I could take to add another 1/4 mile so I wasn’t worried. The trip back started great. I was on the mental high of knowing I was passed the half way mark. I started passing landmarks I set in my head. I even started passing the same runners who must have turned around themselves and were now making their trips back. I smiled again at each of them. One women in particular smiled back and when I passed her a second time we both laughed out loud. It was nice. :)
Around mile 6 I was really starting to feel fatigued. Mile 7 my knees were aching. Once I hit mile 8 my normal sense of excitement that I only had a mile to go was cut short when I realized the trail was going to end before I was suppose to. This sucked! There was NO way I wasn’t going to finish the full 9 miles. I mean I already made it this far, right??
Of course the end of the trail was all uphill. Once I got to the top I was .54 miles short of my goal. SO what do I do?
Laps in the parking lot! That’s right, I did laps. And when I heard that little voice in my ear say 400 meters remaining I was FREAKIN ECSTATIC! I kicked it up a notch…. 300 meters reaming…. 200 meters reaming… Just before she said 100 meters… I said "COME ON!" and then it was over. The most beautiful words I ever heard coming out of my iPod… "Congratulations. You have reached your goals of 9 miles." Then Lance Armstrong chimed in to let me know I just ran my longest run yet. To which I responded… "That’s it? That’s all you got for me Lance? I just ran 9 FREAKIN’ miles, ALONE! Don’t I get a prize or something?" lol
Needless to say I felt fantastic. I really can’t describe the sense of accomplishment, of pride, of awe-ness, I felt. Why haven’t I always been active? I mean I apparently have the ability. My body isn’t broken in anyway. I’m lucky to have my legs. My health. Why did it take me this long to see how great it feels to be fit. To push myself physically and feel the reward of doing so? And I don’t mean the "visual" reward, the weight loss, my size, I mean the "sense of accomplishment" reward. The feeling you get from setting a goal working at it and reaching it. Do I dare say nothing is sweeter?
Once I got home. I walked in the door and the toddler was on the couch. I said "Hi Ryan, I’m home! I just ran 9 miles!" to which he replied enthusiastically… "WOW… that’s great Mommy! REALLY?" Now I know he has NO idea what 9 miles means. All he saw was an active, fit, happy mom feel good about herself and her accomplishment. That’s what he sensed and that’s why he reacted the way he did and that’s all the motivation I need to keep on going.