Sunday, March 16, 2008

ain't nothing gonna break my stride...

How many running blogs have used that title? Allow me to be the latest one...

I headed out today for a 5 mile run. It was supposed to be 8, but I managed to whittle enough of the day away doing who knows what to pinch the amount of time I had for a relaxed run (i.e., not worrying about time) and shaved off a few. Perhaps that was a subconscious thing; I'm choosing to not read in to it too deeply.

It started off as a pretty eh run - I went out of the gate too fast, and started to feel the repercussions in the first two miles. My bad. I know better than to gun it at the start, particularly as I live in a rather hilly area, and on top of that I live at the top of the hill. Thus, the early part of most runs is heading downhill, and the last stretch is mostly uphill.

Good training for races, sure, but sometimes I think it would be nice to live in a flat area. Like Arizona. Here are topography maps for my standard paths:

My usual three mile route:

My usual five mile route:

My usual eight mile route:

It's like a really long, really slow roller coaster.

Today was the five mile path pictured above, and after allowing myself a bit of a walking interlude post starting too fast, I finished pretty strong. My ego was boosted a little when I realized that I was jogging my way all the way up the final stretch of hill. I realized that this was happening about half way through, and spent the rest of the time trying not to think about it too much, lest I start to wonder if I was fatigued and start to psych myself out.

Instead, I thought about the fact that I was hitting a stride (hence the blog entry title), and it felt good. The legs were going, the breathing was steady, and my body was relaxed. It's been a while since I have felt like a little machine moving along, a feeling I generally enjoy.

Given that my team is now officially registered for Reach the Beach (my credit card is on fire a little from laying out the hefty entry fee), I have started to think more seriously about the training involved. I have a few races planned, and even a teeny little triathlon for kicks. More on those another time. For now, I'm just happy that my body is starting to get back the muscle memory it had a year ago, and that I'm finding my stride again.