I woke up at 5:41 this morning and laid there wondering if I should go ahead and start my long run or sleep in a little longer. The second time I looked at the clock, it read 5:46, and I figured since I hadn't fallen back asleep yet, it was time to get up.
After some yogurt, a hot shower and some stretching, I headed out to the park for my long run. This was a big day for many reasons--but mostly because I had to try my new running tights and jacket. :) I was nervous about the tights but they aren't so bad once you're out in them. You forget about them, which is what you WANT in a running pant! The jacket was PERFECT. I highly recommend this (and any other C9 gear, especially the RUNNING specific gear) to any women out there.
Here's the jacket, although not the best pic ever:
The ONLY way this jacket could get better for an outdoor runner is to put zippers on the pockets, and quite frankly, I can't figure out why they didn't. Honestly, though, the pockets are nice and deep and I carried sunglasses, lip balm and a piece of gum the entire run and they didn't move. So basically, non-issue.
I also LOVE how the hood fits around your face without bothering you AT ALL. The zipper goes all the way up to your chin, keeping your neck and head nice and warm and protected from the elements.
When I left this morning, the closer I got to the park, the less rain there was. It was dark and cool and the streets were relatively quiet. I decided to run the streets first (as opposed to running the park loop first) because I knew traffic would be much lighter this early AND because I knew that if I had to run the loop last, it would force me to finish. Running the streets makes it easier to turn around and head back to the car. But if you're running a 3.3 mile loop, it's not as easy to do that. :)
Honestly, as much fun as I had running this morning, it was not a pleasant physical experience. Nothing bad happened, but I just never felt like I know I should have. And from mile 1, into mile 4, throughout the 9, I never felt really, really good. I've run 8 before and had 4-6 great miles, where I felt strong and able. But today, I never really felt that for more than about 10 minutes at a time.
One time when I did notice an increase in performance was after my pit stop and I decided to try half of the GU (my first GU ever, and it was strawberry banana, for those who are curious). Yes, I did down a good amount of water, as well. I honestly needed that little bit of energy to keep going and for a few minutes, I felt okay, like I could keep running forever.
Isn't that the feeling we all are after when we hit the roads? It's an awesome feeling. It occurred to me today that the feelings we experience during a run are a compressed version of our experiences in life. Those tough times we go through in life (relationships ending, deaths, job troubles, illnesses, etc) make us feel like our life is so bleak and that it will never get better. Sometimes it's really hard to push through those difficult periods, but you know what? Most of us realize that AT SOME POINT (who knows when) things WILL get better for us, and those times we truly have to appreciate. In running, it's those uphill battles that make your legs feel weak, and you think you can't breathe another breath and all you want to do is just STOP. But what happens if you stop? You never get any better. What happens if you keep going, keep pushing through the pain? You reach the top of that hill and there's a smooth path (or maybe even a downhill stretch) in front of you. Your breathing evens out, your legs regain strength and suddenly, you feel like you can run forever. Or at least until that next uphill. ;)
I came home today after my 9 miles shivering and despite wanting to take a nice, long, hot bath, I warmed up, ate breakfast and started the ice bath. I stopped at Speedway on the way home for a pumpkin cappucino (and choco milk for recovery on the way home) to drink while I sat in the horrid ice bath. I had to turn the heat up to 80* before I even felt comfortable THINKING about that ice bath. But once I got in today, it didn't feel so bad. I think I might start with slightly warmer water from now on, at least until it gets warm again. I'll just add more ice during the winter.
I feel like going for another run right now, I have no idea why. I've been experiencing some minor-moderate ankle, knee and hip pain in my left foot since I purchased these shoes and I'm considering being fitted for another pair--this time at Swag's. I MIGHT go there tomorrow, just depends. I just can't tell what's going on with my leg, and I don't want to fall apart. I've been training so well and I'm seeing such improvements...I don't want injuries to keep me from doing what I love.