Last week, I ran six miles, setting a new personal best for distance without stopping (and I don't count pausing at a traffic light to wait for the pedestrian light to change so I can cross safely as stopping, even though I find it annoying to pause like that). With my 10K race on the horizon, I've been trying to steadily--
Oh, who am I kidding? I got a heavy dose of "I'mma do it" and instead of adding a quarter mile here, a quarter mile there, as Matt the Reasonable recommended, I just strapped on my running shoes and took a six-mile run (previous best being 5 miles).
A 10K is 6.2 miles, so today, I set out to add at least that much. With my iPhone set to Map My Run, I cruised down my normal starting path, the GPS pinging from the little pouch I wear over my bottom.
It was an amazing run today--there was a definite chill in the breeze, but it was sunny and nearly cloudless after a full day of rain yesterday (with more expected tomorrow). The air was clean and fresh in that way it is after a good soaking. I felt faster than I was last week, and ran much of my route with a smile on my face.
Who am I, anyway?
It wasn't all easy. There's an uphill bit in mile 4 or 5 that is butt-kicking. It's not particularly steep, but it is a long hill, and I definitely lost some steam going up. Miles 5 and 6 were easier, but I was still slower than I'd been earlier in the run, and definitely ready to see my last half mile.
The last half mile is always the same--a stretch of road from one major intersection to another. If there's wind (there's almost always wind, even just a little), I'm running straight into it. Mentally, it's the toughest part of my run, but I'm even conquering that.
As I finished, lightly slapping my hand against a light pole at my "finish line," I took my phone from my pouch and checked the time. Not only did I add four-tenths of a mile to my route, for an awesome 6.4 miles, I only adding one minute to my time. Where last week, I ran 6 miles in 1:09, this week, I did 6.4 in 1:10. I can't wait to see how this translates to my next 5K (in May).
I'm feeling pretty good about myself right now. Of course, I'm also gnawing on the walls (that run burned over 700 calories) and my legs are slightly rubbery. But I feel amazing. I can run longer and longer distances. I can run faster and faster.
I can run.
In the end, that's the most amazing part. Today's route took me by the Lincoln Kaiser Permanente facility. Back when I used to have Kaiser for my health coverage, the only time I visited the Lincoln facility was when I had a bout of sciatica--the bout that sent my Dad to 24 Hour Fitness to ask about getting me a membership for my birthday. Today, I ran by it somewhere in the 5th mile, and grinned as I remembered all that I've accomplished. I'm so glad I'm not in that place anymore.
I've got this 10K. At first, I was doubtful. It was one thing to push myself for four miles, but I'm proving to myself that I can keep pushing those limits.