We had unusually cooler weather here in NC this past week so I took advantage of it and ran outside 3 of my 4 running days this week. Not looking forward to the nineties returning this week.
I got to take Owen on my 3 mile run Thursday, which he loved! He still had lots of energy afterwards; I thought he’d be pooped!
Yesterday was a 9 miler. Mother Nature let me sleep in and since it was cool, I didn’t get out there until 11am. I was actually a little chilly as I began the run – quite refreshing! I ended up running from Military Park on the Greenway to Country Park, around the lake and woods, back to Military Park for 2 big loops there and finishing out strong right back at my car. Couldn’t have planned it better. I got to enjoy the smells of families cooking out at Country Park for birthdays and gatherings and could practically taste the burgers as they cooked. Yum!
As I was running yesterday, I couldn’t help but congratulate my body on how far we have come in the past 7 months. While I’ve always loved running, I never imagined myself training for a marathon. Now, with a half behind me and this training going so well *so far* I can see myself running, finishing, and being proud of being a marathoner. It’s hard, too, to imagine just this February I began the half training and now I’m only a few miles shy of running a half marathon every weekend. That will be coming in the next few weeks!
My body amazes me at how fast it can adapt to the training, how fast it can gain strength, and how fast it can recover in just the 2- 2.5 months I had “off” between the half marathon and the marathon training. Every week I have the opportunity to push it a little farther, and it always responds back with, “is that all you got?” The 9 miles yesterday seemed stronger than the 8 miles last week. I wonder how far I could have truly gone had I not stuck to the training plan and just kept going.
That’s another part of training. No matter how much you want to run farther than the set mileage that day – it’s not a good idea. The training plan was developed this way for a reason, so stick to it. Why mess with success? You’re putting your body at risk for premature injury and fatigue. Patience.
Anyway, this “my body amazes me” attitude started back in college when I began to run. Since then I’ve gained the attitude and confidence that I have today about body image. I know I’m petite, but I’m not a stick, and I am perfectly, 110% okay with that. My legs power me up hills, my abs keep me injury-free by having correct form, my hips stabilize me and also prevent injury so long as they are given proper attention. I love to feel my feet strike the ground and power me forward. I love to know my heart is getting stronger with every hill. I love that my body is getting more efficient at using oxygen. I just love running.
It’s not just the running that I love; it’s the nutrition knowledge to nourish my body in between runs that I love, too. Since I know what these nutrients do biochemically in my body and how that correlates with exercise, I love making different meals to get all my nutrients in for the day. I love to see how my body responds to pre and post run meals/snacks. I love reading about it and I’ve even busted out my undergraduate metabolism and exercise physiology textbooks. Did I mention I am also a nerd?
This is how I can get so much satisfaction out of my job, too. I have the amazing opportunity to work with college athletes and students to help them figure all this out. To work with all students to begin lifelong habits (or at least gain the knowledge) as undergraduates is nothing short of amazing. I can’t tell you the amount of gratitude I’ve seen working with this population.
I feel as if I’ve completed my circle. Personally and professionally they intertwine and I am fortunate to get to do something that I love. Running has provided so much clarity for me this year and I’m so excited to see what the next 16 weeks of training has to offer. I’m excited to see what else I can learn about my body and how I can put it #1. Nourishment, recovery, and rest are just as much part of training as the actual running itself. I love all aspects of it. I’ve found my niche, my hobby, my release from everyday life.
I realize I may not always be able to run. Due to injuries, schedules, or one day, old age. You can bet I won’t give up though. It’s not in me. It’s not who I am. I’ll run for as long as I can.
If you aren’t as passionate about running as I am, that’s perfectly fine. Just find something you are passionate about. A life is a terrible thing to waste.