Hills at Sunrise

It has been a while since I wrote my running chronicles, but I have been busy continuing to get into the groove of this running thing.

Just after Thanksgiving, we did a Your Super detox – which was really just a veggie-based smoothie/salad 5-day meal plan. I didn’t run much that week, although I probably could have. It felt like a good excuse not to run, since work kept me so busy I didn’t really have time for anything else.

After the detox, though, I’ve been fairly good about my training runs. Running this time of year in the desert is such a joy. The low,warm light later in the morning. The chilly weather that all my running friends in the Northwest would kill forbecause “chilly” here is sunny, between 45 and 55 degrees.

Last weekend my training plan called for a 10K race. There weren’t any nearby, so I made my own race. And blew my own mind! It was the fastest 10K I’ve ever run and I did it without the electricity of an organized race or other people for me to try to keep up with. I ran on Sunday morning and hardly saw anyone on the trail – even the cyclists I so regularly see there every other time I run. I finished my 10K in 57:39 at a 9:16 pace and I couldn’t have been prouder of myself!

This week, I made more time for my workouts – at least at the beginning of the week. Work continued to be nuts and I didn’t get my Thursday run in. By Saturday, I wasn’t feeling the Fartlek run in my training plan. Luckily, T reminded me that any exercise is better than giving up on doing any at all. So, we hiked the mountain by the house. I gave myself a pep-talk – no need to feel guilty about not doing the run in the program – and paid attention to enjoying the hike.Meanwhile, I remembered that I had planned to use the mountain as a measure of my progress. The hike inspired me to make the mountain a part of my long Sunday run.

This morning, I used that inspiration to get me up that hill! I don’t like hill running. The psychology of it often stops me in my tracks before I even start. It feels so daunting – and even more so when I lookup and see the incline in front of me. But I’d promised myself that I’d start my long run on the mountain and headed up hill (instead of my usual downhill)as I left the house. It was a quiet, serene morning, light enough to run and to find some jaw-dropping views. I succeeded in running the whole mountain. I might have been able to walk it almost as fast, but I “ran” it the whole way.The training plan called on me to take an “easy” pace for 70 minutes, kicking it up to race-pace for another 20 minutes at the end.

My body continues to surprise me. After running the daunting mountain at the beginning and taking an “easy” pace for over an hour, when my watch beeped and told me it was time to find “race pace,” my body found another gear. It continued to respond and I increased my pace even more as I passed the first mile of that last challenge.

This process is not easy. I do not always have the energy or inspiration to get out and run. I rarely have the wherewithal to cross train.But when I’m out on my runs – whether on the road or the treadmill – I make an effort to pay attention to the parts I enjoy, talk myself out of the negative self-talk that is so easy, and draft these blog posts as a further reminder of my accomplishments and joys of these running moments.

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