Thursday, February 23, 2012

In which I almost miss a great run

I've found that sometimes the runs or workouts that start out the worst - or almost don't start at all - turn out the best.

Latest case in point was this morning.

I woke up at 4:30 am, on my own, wide awake. This was disturbing because I didn't get to sleep that early and I still had another hour before my alarm went off. Rolled over, tried to go back to sleep. No dice. Tried it again. Again, eyes wide open.

I begrudgingly got up, grabbed my running stuff and went downstairs because, hey, at least I got to eat. I had breakfast, read the paper, checked my email, Facebook and Twitter. It was now 5:20. Crap. I didn't have to head out to run until 6:45 am. I knew what was going to happen.

I was going to lose this burst of energy, get sleepy again and crash, then wake up tired and late for my run, if I even make it at all. It was too dark to go running this early, but then I realized I could go to the gym and get a treadmill. Or I could just go back upstairs to bed and hit the gym tonight after my husband got home from work.

I sat on the couch and pondered my options. (By the way, this is way too much thinking and decision-making for me at this hour.) Then I thought, Well, I'll just lay down here on the couch for a bit. I felt the wave of sleepiness overtake me, and when I opened my eyes it was 6:36 am.

I quickly got up and checked the thermometer. 44 degrees! Factoring in 20 more degrees to compensate for the heat of running, that's 64 degrees. On Feb. 23. Yeah! I threw on a long-sleeve tech shirt and wind pants. No winter hat. No gloves. No fleece shirt. No vest. Warmed up and stretched out, I took off.

I decided to try a more challenging route, which means "more hills." I also decided, with a 5K three weeks away, it was time to really stretch out the rehab run-walk ratio, which today meant 10 minutes running, 1 minute walk, repeat x3.

Within 5 minutes, I was really happy I did not go to the gym. It had showered overnight, so it was damp and smelled like spring. I was unencumbered of winter running gear, the sun was coming up and blue skies were peeking out in between the clouds. This was very good.

After the first 10-minute interval, I felt good. Loose and smooth. Tuesday's run was not great - I felt clunky and uncoordinated. But this morning, this was a keeper. The second 10-minute interval had me hitting some decent hills and I practiced my good hill-running techniques to conserve energy and remain efficient. I saw the last nasty hill on the horizon and I thought to myself, It's 7:23 am. Knock this off and the hardest part of your day is over. That's a nice feeling to have.

The third interval was the home stretch. I felt good. My endurance, breathing and legs felt good. Sunday I'm aiming to go 20 minutes straight before stopping for, say, 2 minutes, then another 10. And next week? We're going to run the whole thing.

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