Now that spring has finally come to the Adirondacks (though it did snow the other night!) … I've been back to running outside. All winter long I pound away on a treadmill in front of the Food Network. Me and Gianna. Me and Tyler. Me and the Barefoot Contessa. I get to burn calories and consume them vicariously instead!
Then comes spring and our annual family ritual to run some 5K races together. The children, who are 11 and 16, really look forward to this - and so I'm forced off of my treadmill and out into the actual roads of our town to start taking on the real hills, facing the wind, and feeling a host of new discomforts.
This year I started prepping early and got myself up to 4.4 miles, the equivalent of the Champlain Classic, the 5K run we will do on Sunday. It's really a push for me to go past 3.5 miles, but on this one day last week, I just decided to go for it. Could I turn my chattering mind off long enough to really run this distance?
My body is in good shape and certainly capable; that I knew. But my innate laziness wasn't so convinced this was possible or even necessary. Still I bravely punched 50 minutes into the treadmill time clock and set off to prove myself right … or wrong.
At the three mile mark, I could feel myself tensing up and resisting the rest of my run. Would I break through? Or could I? Or would this just be a small exercise in torture. Fortunately, Gianna was making chocolate tiramisu so I was gloriously distracted.
At the four mile mark I suddenly looked down and realized I was and had been in the runner's 'zone'…. A place where you don't really feel like you're running. Instead, you're just moving rhythmically and there's no good reason to stop. Still there I was running a ten minute mile, which for me is the stuff of true breakthroughs.
I stopped, almost reluctantly, at 4.4, so aware that the only reason I didn't usually run that far was my busy mind. Man, what a liberating new awareness… I'm not as lazy as I always thought I was! It was just a matter of believing it.
How about you?