I made it past the azaleas.
A whole block past the azaleas.
God, this morning was a tough start. I got to bed after one am. My alarm started going off at ten to seven…and I sheepishly admit that it was after eight when I finally straggled out of bed and into my running shoes. The low last night was 75F…at 5am…and I knew that it would be almost 80F by 8am…and I heard the garbage truck outside and realized I didn’t even put out the trash last night…my LORD what a tough start.
But I did. I got up, filled a couple bottles on my Fuel Belt with Gatorade, turned on the “5k” playlist on my iPod, and shut the door behind me. After last night’s post and some hard thinking, I knew I would not stop until I hit 3 miles today.
And I didn’t.
Mantras and positive self-talk are becoming a critical part of my running now. I’m glad I’m not waiting to read NRMT week-by-week as I actually work through the 16-week training program – there are tips and nuggets of knowledge I need now. The chapter I read a few days ago was on hydration; this latest one addressed nutrition, but they’re all talking about positive self-talk, cognitive reimaging (fancy talk for visualizing success), and avoidance of any kind of negativity. I did a lot of that today. I kept telling myself how strong I felt, especially on that first hill, when I’m in the sun for a few moments and the mugginess of the air makes it hard to breathe…I ignored the weariness and instead told myself, “I just started! It’s way too early to be tired! I’m just getting warmed up!”
It worked…honestly. I’m totally thankful for a running route that is mostly shaded – the heat really isn’t that bad when you’re in the shade – because there are a few tough stretches in the sunshine. They all seem to hit when the road is rising. But today I tried scoffing at the hills…invalidating them. “You don’t even count as a hill. You can’t touch me.” That worked, too. In my previous three runs, the 31-minutes, I finished on Waterway Drive as I approached Country Club Drive from the pool…totally an uphill and in full sunlight. It’s been grueling, exhausting…I collapse into a walk, stumble across the road to the shady side, arms loose, almost ignoring the traffic working its way through the stop signs, thinking about nothing but how good it feels to start my cooldown.
Not today. Today I sailed through the intersection and across the street to get back into the shade, and for the next 0.41 mile, told myself there was absolutely nothing hard about this. And it felt true!! I took stock of everything…I was breathing fine…my legs weren’t hurting…my abs had that beautiful little touch of soreness they get when you know you’ve just worked them well…I was soaked in sweat but that only meant I felt cooler…and it really did feel like I could go on forever! The hardest part of the run was behind me…I was just easing into the end at this point.
As I passed Kevin Walker Drive, I thought at my pastor, “THERE’S my 10%.” When I got to Ashgrove, I stepped off and on the curbs like I had springs in my ankles. In the final block to the azaleas, I had to deal with a blind woman and a seeing-eye dog, a woman strolling in a hat and a sundress, and a man running the opposite direction…three major obstacles in about ten yards…but got by them…and decided if I was going to pass the azaleas on Cove Lane, I might as well just keep going till I hit Brawner, and then do the cool-down lap down by the lake. Which is what I did.
37:53…3.02 miles (on RunKeeper). Not fast. But done.