Yesterday (Saturday) was long run day, part of the backbone of any marathon training program.
[Note: for some background on what this is all about, please check out my initial marathon post]
I ran 7 miles, with a short water break almost at the halfway point. My pace varied between 10 min/mile and 12 min/mile. I did the same loop in my town twice: the first half of each loop is mostly downhill and the second half mostly uphill.
It had snowed overnight and the sidewalks were covered in about 3 inches of snow. The snow was packed enough that it wasn’t slippery and it made a nice cushion on each step. On the second loop a town crew had been around cleaning some of the sidewalks, which actually made them more slippery… go figure. Salt, anyone? But I digress.
I ran with five other members of my local running club, although only one other did the full distance that I did. It was comfortable out, probably no more than -5 °C, very little wind and the sun was shining. It was certainly the most pleasant outdoor run I’d had all month and it felt great to run at a pace where I didn’t feel like I was pushing myself: a pace that I felt like I could maintain forever.
I chatted a bit with some of my fellow runners but kept to myself for most of the run. The was the first long run that I done in ages without a podcast or any music, but I didn’t get bored. It was a nice change from running on the treadmill.
I’m not a particularly spiritual or religious person but I did feel a certain lightness of being on my second loop, particularly on the last mile. I realized that I felt happy, even a bit excited and marveled at the fact that I was running comfortably, something I couldn’t have done this time last year.
I felt particularly thankful and grateful as I was making my way up the hill. I wasn’t competing with anyone, not even myself. I was just running my miles, part of a greater plan to improve aerobic capacity and endurance so that I can run my marathon in May. But the fact that I could do it and that I felt good doing it – that was something to be thankful for.
And I was. It was a tiny moment of… not perfection, but maybe simply of things working exactly the way they should be. These moments are easy to take for granted because we normally assume that everything’s going to be fine and it usually will be. For that moment, I tried to hold on that feeling. I hope to bring it back again when times aren’t so easy on the road. And I know there will be tougher times, but hopefully a good memory will carry me up the hills and onto flatter lands when I need it.
Oh, almost forgot, today is supposed to be cross training day. (pauses) Well, I pushed the snow blower around this morning. That counts… right? 🙂