Really? They have got to be kidding. How can they run so easily? How can they chat up a storm? Um, didn’t they say they were going to do five easy miles?
Yes, my friends Sue and Nicole put the beating down on my during one of my easy runs last week. Then came running 10 miles with Mark — part on trails, part on road — as we visited State College, Pa. for a wedding. The longest run I had done since, well, since Texas 70.3 last month and I had some serious issues along the way. OK, maybe “serious” is overstating just a bit. My legs felt it. My breathing was heavy. The air was humid and I was soaked in the first mile. That 9th mile, wow. I thought I ‘d never make it to 10, but by that last mile, I was holding my own pretty well.
This, quite frankly, is what I’ve been a bit nervous about — returning to training after a big race and an injury. How much fitness would I lose? How much weight would I gain from (a) not training either at all or with as much intensity as previously and (b) from eating a bit outside my norm with a month filled with travel.
Exactly how much would I suck?
As it turns out, I don’t suck nearly as much as I think I do.
Were the runs challenging? You bet. But then again, I wanted them to be challenging. I wanted them to push me a bit out of my comfort zone to kick me forward. If we stay with what’s comfortable, we never really grow. We may think we are experiencing new things but really, it’s just the same thing we’re used to, repackaged with a different color ribbon.
I’m not sure what this week will bring with training. Heck, I’m not sure what the rest of this morning will bring. If there is anything my last month of travels has taught me, it’s to let go and ride the adventure of each day. Some adventures are small. Some are grande. Some may only seem like adventures in our own minds. But I’m practicing letting the day come to me, practicing watching the day unfold. When I do that, I find a lot more joy.
Because while the run with Sue and Nicole may have hurt and while I may have had to push through doubts and succumb to occasional stops for water on my long run with Mark there was joy afterward. Not just because the workout was finished or that I was on my way to some of the best blueberry pancakes I’ve ever had (thank you Waffle Shop in State College, Pa.). It was because I did something I love, I met a challenge, I was with people whom I adore and respect.
The hard parts? Well, that’s all part of the story … part of the adventure which makes the bigger, more challenging adventures seem that much more attainable.