It's amazing what you can do when you've got the time.
Today was almost an extra day for me, thanks to a careful front-loading of my hours for work. Without any official business to take care of today, I still got up in time for work. Instead of hitting my desk, however, I hit the road.
Really, it's incredible how much your experience on the road can change when it actually occurs in time that's free. Tomorrow, for example, will be a weekend run, but I have to be done by a certain time in order to get cleaned up and still make it to our latest adventure in dog training. My days get scheduled farther and farther in advance, and my running has to be squeezed in between any number of commitments.
But not today. Today, I got to run when I felt like running. It was still relatively cool out (we're already hitting 90s and above here in Texas), though I did have to deal with a bit of a headwind. I'll never understand how you can run in a loop and have headwind the whole time, but somehow, my neighborhood manages it.
I kept a forward but not fast pace throughout the run, ending up only a few seconds off my planned pace for the upcoming Sunburst Marathon. Of course, the eight miles that I did are not even a third of that distance, but it's nice to know that I'm able to keep that pace without losing my breath too much, even for as "short" a distance as eight miles. This is, of course, down from the ten that I was originally scheduled to do on Fridays, but in keeping with my sorta-less-is-more philosophy of late, I figured I could use the extra fifteen minutes of rest.
My strength is not the problem. I know I can run the pace that I want to run, and I can do it for a great deal of time. The trouble that is looming on the horizon has to do entirely with endurance. And that's what tomorrow is for. It's 9:30 here, and yes, I'm in bed. I'm going to finish this entry, maybe read a chapter of Pride and Prejudice (better than I expected), and then I'm going to sleep so that I can get up at some ungodly hour and hit the pavement.
Unlike last week, I feel that I've done everything right today. I ate well. I drank lots of water. Maybe yard work wasn't my best option for the afternoon, but it needed to be done, and it's a self-propelled mower, so really, it's not that big a deal. Now I'm off to bed early, and I'm hoping that all of this, combined with the cool air of the morning, will make for my first successful long run in several weeks.
If so, there's nothing that can stop me. With only four more double-digit training runs on the schedule (including tomorrow), I'm nearing the end of this season. I'm excited, scared, and cautiously optimistic.
If tomorrow goes well, I'll be confident, too.
68 degrees, cloudy but windy