Getting There

Within 28 pages of Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea’s 2nd book, Train Like a Mother, I was already laughing out loud and finding stories and quotes that confirmed these two women can read my mind. My favorite blurb so far:

“Running on a regular basis makes you live in and appreciate your own body; fight your own physical and emotional demons; focus on your goal; and strengthen your resolve, your confidence, and, while you’re at it, your muscles.”

My tempo run yesterday definitely made me experience all of the above. It was oh-so-tiring but incredibly energizing. Is that even possible?

Tempo runs make me nervous mainly because I never think I can hold the paces I’m asked to do. It’s a confidence thing. This morning’s run called for a 5 mile warm-up, 5 mile tempo at 7:45-7:50 followed by a 5 mile cool-down. It sounds do-able, but here’s the kicker: It was all to be done on the rolling hills of Mountain Drive.

During my last workout on Mountain Drive, my legs felt incredibly heavy during a shorter tempo at a slower pace. I kept thinking about that last workout and hoping this one would feel better. I knew the rolling hills would be challenging. I also knew this workout would be a push. I felt if I could maintain around a 7:50 or so, I’d be pretty happy. (Like I said, I’ve got a confidence issue.)

After my warm-up, a Gu and some nuun, I set off on the tempo effort. I told myself to ease into it and not gun it right from the start. (I have a tendency to really attack a hard effort at the beginning.)  After about a mile or so of what seemed like a 7:45-7:50 pace, I checked my Garmin. It read around 7:30. Whoa! I eased up a bit, knowing the road and terrain that laid before me, and managed to maintain a smooth, controlled, somewhat relaxed tempo push throughout the 5 miles of rolling hills. I focused on my breath and the rhythm of my feet, repeatedly told myself “I CAN do this,” and ended the tempo at a 7:37 average pace, much faster than the 7:50 I thought I’d be doing. Wahooo!

And that made my day. I rolled into my 5 mile cool down confident that slowly but surely, I was becoming a little better at pacing and a little stronger physically and mentally. Like described by Dimity and SBS, I fought some demons, focused on my goal, and strengthened my resolve, my confidence, and my muscles. And I’m incredibly appreciative of my body and what it can do. I CAN do this!


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