Eight hours later, and I am still floating on my runner's high from this morning. I had a fantastic long run today! I can't even describe how badly I was in need of a good run after feeling so crappy last week. And honestly, I wasn't expecting today to be any better, but I was hopeful.
I ended up eating breakfast when I woke up, because I knew I wouldn't be able to head outside to run until my dad picked up the kids to go to church; so I ate breakfast, and had my tea while I waited to go out. It was 8:45 when I left the house, and as soon as I stepped outside, I was in awe of how cool it was outside. It was 59 degrees--I couldn't ask for better July temps for a long run!
Again, I decided to stay close to home in case of cramps or other issues I've been having lately. I did a five-mile out-and-back first, and then a five-mile loop around the neighborhoods. The first couple of miles were a little tough. My heart rate was in Zone 1 (long runs are supposed to be in Zone 2), but I felt like I was struggling. I was breathing kind of hard, and couldn't understand why it felt so difficult when I wasn't even pushing myself very hard.
When I hit mile two, it was like a switch flipped on in my body, and I started feeling really good. When I made the turn-around on the out-and-back route, I had a tail wind, and my pace picked up a bit. I assumed it was from the wind being in my favor, but even when I changed directions again, it was like I just kept feeling better and better.
I was afraid for a while to go too fast, because I didn't want to burn out. But my heart rate was right in the middle of Zone 2, so I was nowhere near pushing too hard. The last five miles flew by--my feet were feeling like they were just springing off the ground, and a sub-9:00/mi pace was pretty effortless. It's been a long time since I maintained that pace for a long run. (Actually, I just looked, and the last double digit run that I averaged a sub-9:00 pace was in early May!)
I felt like I could have just kept running forever. With the exception of the first 2 miles, I felt really strong and amazing through the whole 10 miler. I had mapped out my route before I left the house, and it was exactly 10 miles; but I must have screwed something up, because when I reached mile 10, I was still a quarter mile from home. The extra quarter mile didn't hurt, though ;)
When I got back to my house, I just sat on the porch with my water bottle and enjoyed how gorgeous the day was! (Definitely feeling the runner's high).
I was feeling SO good after that. After last week's runs, with the stomach issues and muscle cramps, and just feeling crappy in general, I was really starting to doubt myself and doubt the new training I'm doing. But today really showed me that bad days (and bad weeks) don't mean that all of my runs are going to be like that. I know I've said this a thousand times this summer, but the heat really does make a huge difference in my pace and effort level. Having such a cool morning today was just what I needed to boost my running confidence a little.
I had been planning to get a cookie with my Activity PointsPlus today, but after my run, I was in the mood for ice cream. So I bought some cookie dough ice cream (15 PP) and ate that this afternoon. My favorite part of my long runs, for sure ;)
Just a reminder, tomorrow is Motivational Monday! If you have a picture of a health/fitness accomplishment you'd like to share, you can e-mail it to me at SlimKatie (at) runsforcookies (dot) com with a short description, and I may include it on tomorrow's post :)