It keeps getting harder to get up before the sun.
When my alarm went off this morning, I was thoroughly confused, having been woken from some dream or other and being fairly convinced that I'd just fallen asleep. I wondered, in that hazy sort of panic you have after being jolted awake by a phone call, who could possibly be calling at this hour of the night. Staggering, I made it over to the phone and looked. It was my alarm. I stood in quiet disappointment for a moment or so, and then headed over to the dresser to get my running clothes.
What was a pretty standard run took on a little bit more meaning for me when I reminded myself that I would not be stopping the watch today. Since I was out the door early, I had a good chance of being able to run all five miles continuously, which is really something I should be able to do without thinking by now. Heat or not, if I can run four times that distance, I should be able to complete a fiver without much trouble, and I determined that today, I would not stop. And you know what shocked me most? The traffic lights seemed to agree.
After six months of running in this town, very often over the same road, I managed for the first time to hit every single stoplight on green. I never expect it to happen again, but it was a huge help on this morning's run. It should have been cool outside, but the never-ending humidity would not let it be so, and I was sucking breath pretty hard by the end of it. My last mile was my slowest, I'm sure, but to be completely honest, I have no way of knowing for sure. Not only did I keep the watch running, I didn't even look at it, with the exception of one glance around the mile marker to be sure that the thing was actually functioning. Everything that I've been promising myself I would do on my training runs actually happened this morning, which is a huge victory for me. I was up on time, out the door quickly, running the whole way without stopping the watch, and not at all focusing on time. Bam.
And what did I learn today? Erm, well... nothing, really. Today was exactly how an ordinary, everyday run should be. Choosing to run a race is one thing. Choosing to run 50 races means a complete change in lifestyle, and I've got to start getting used to it. When that alarm goes off, it shouldn't be exceptional that I actually get out of bed. It should be the norm. I shouldn't be wondering if I'm going to finish the run, but should instead be able to focus on my pace and form.
It's a bit of a double-edged sword for me. See, I know that if running becomes more of a routine, it'll be easier to do, from waking up on time to having all my equipment ready. However, I worry that letting it be the same thing every day will take the fun out of it. True, running in this heat isn't really all that fun to begin with, but any time something gets monotonous, I get over it really quickly. I don't want that to happen with my racing. I've got a long way to go.
So, keep it fresh. There really aren't many options for routes from my apartment (something I expect to change in our next location selection), but hopefully once I get my cross-training schedule put together (no, haven't done that yet), I'll at least be able to keep my own interest piqued for a little while longer. After all, this is a hobby not a chore. It's a love to, not a have to.
Telling that to yourself when the alarm goes off is half the battle.
36 Minutes, 7 Seconds