I once had a friend (who was a runner) ask me why I liked to run. I don't remember what I told her then as it was years ago, but I realized recently that over the past couple of years I had forgotten what it was I liked about running and that I had begun to discover this love again. Everyone is different, but for me the turning point was just enjoying being active and pushing myself again. I did this with a different sport all together, rock climbing. I have spent the past few months really working hard to improve my upper body strength, my balance, and technique all for climbing. I was still running but I was really living for climbing.
To me climbing and running seemed so different and I tried to separate them in my mind and my life. So, the one day climbing reminded me of what I loved about running sort of blew me away. One day at the gym we decided to work on our endurance, so my climbing buddies and I picked a relatively easy route to top rope and did it as many times as we could without stopping. I climbed up and came down a lot and while I was doing it, instead of thinking about the wall in front of me all I could think about was how much I loved pushing my body and doing this type of work on the track not on the rock climbing wall. It was strange but this one endurance workout I got made me miss those countless hard workouts I have done over the years on the track--doing 800m, 1000m or even mile repeats with short recovery and feeling my body getting more and more tired with each interval yet feeling strangely energetic,strong and invinceable. This was a turning point for me. From that point on I slowly started taking running into consideration when I was planning climbing days. I began doing the little things again that need to be done, but I don't always find the time for (like taking ice baths). And my focus went from improving my climbing ability to getting ready for this marathon that I have committed to.
And now this past week I finally really felt like I had my first really successful week in my marathon build up. My mileage was higher, the hills and tempos were faster and I felt stronger. After my scheduled runs for tomorrow I will have put in 78.5 miles this week (I know not a ton, but if you looked at my training log over the past year you too would be excited) and run 2 pretty decent workouts with a long run Sunday. Thursday though was what got me motivated and ready for Jon (my coach) to bring it on. The workout wasn't much 2x3 miles with 5 mins recovery between. But I went into the workout feeling tired and not sure if I was going to be able to run the pace that was on my schedule, on the warm up I was nervous knowing this would be a turning point either way--a good day or a bad day was going to tell me a lot. Thankfully it was a great day. My pacing still needs some work as I seem to run very inconsistent splits which is unlike me (I have been called the metronome), but I was able to run controlled, relatively comfortable and still quick. I did my 2nd 3 mile 10 seconds faster than the first and it left me feeling like I could do more. I love that! So, now I just have to get through the next 11 weeks and I will be on the starting line in Duluth ready to run!