We all know how much I love my weekend run with the girls. However, this weekend, Carrie was out of town and Amy’s son had a soccer tournament, so Saturday morning found me digging for my ear buds in the junk drawer at 7:30 a.m. My play list was ready to go (and hopefully long enough to last me the 1.5 hours I would likely need it), and as I set out down my driveway, I was actually looking forward to the company of my mechanical RunKeeper lady voice, who would break in every five minutes and tell me how I was doing.
I forget sometimes that a long run by yourself is good for the soul. I didn’t have a route mapped out ahead of time, like I normally do with the girls, so once I hit the four way stop at the top of my street, I could decide on a whim if I wanted to tackle the hills first and go left, or head straight for the park and a few laps around Bradley Lake. I picked the hills. It took me a while to find my groove, but when I was able to clear the killer 23rd Ave hill without stopping (the mountain that usually leaves us gasping for air and walking 3/4 of the way up), my legs suddenly felt like wings and I finished the last four miles of my route happily, with a little left in the tank when I got back.
What I love about running is that you can always see measureable progress, if you work hard at it. Last year, at this time, I couldn’t make it through a long run without puking and pooping for the rest of the day. I was just starting hill work and finding my inner powerhouse–what I’ve discovered is that my legs can propel me up a hill faster than I sometimes give them credit for. I make up for it, unfortunately, by slowing down on the downhill side…trying to save my knees. But we’ve cleared a lot of hills in the past year (thank you Amy, and our dreaded Thursday afternoon run) and I can see and feel the results every time I feel my body starting to make another climb. What’s also important to note, I think, is that there are few other areas of my life where I feel like I’m making progress. I’m not really going anywhere, nor am I where I thought I would be at this stage of life. But then there is running…I look at where I was last year, or even two years ago, when I was wheezing my way through a mile or two, and I can be proud of where I’m at today.
All of these happy, peaceful thoughts were circulating around in my endorphin-addled brain on Saturday morning, right around mile six. And then…my phone rang. The loud jangling startled me as it interrupted Tom Petty singing in my ear. This? Had never happened before. Looking at my screen, and fumbling to get my phone out of my arm band, I could see it was my mom. Somehow, I managed to answer. She guessed correctly that I was out for a run and not dying of a heart attack. I promised to call her back on my cool down.
I finished just under nine miles, right around 9 a.m. The sun was out. The day was going to be beautiful. I know I should have pushed myself to do 10 or 11 miles, but sometimes it’s best to quit when your body is feeling fabulous. 8.8 miles solo left me feeling like a rock star for the rest of the day.
And my intestines did not revolt against me. That? Is progress, people.