This morning I had an awesome run. The weather was perfect for a fall run–sunny and in the low 40s. I was comfortable in a long-sleeved tech shirt, shorts, headband and gloves. The neighborhood hills were calling my name, so I opted for one of my hilly neighborhood loops. The worst hill (I call it Heart Attack Hill) comes at the end of the first mile, but every mile has at least one hill that takes my breath away.
I felt strong as I started out. I know the cool air was helping my pace, but I was suprised when I crested Heart Attack Hill and hit mile 1 at 9:50. Mile 2 starts with a long downhill stretch, but then has a long climb. My time for mile 2 was 9:15, which was too fast for a hilly training run. The rest of my miles were closer to 9:35, which is faster than my usual training pace has been, but felt good–a comfortable effort, but not too hard. I hit mile 7 just after I got back to my neighborhood, and decided to add a loop to finish at 7.5 miles.
I love it when everything comes together for a glorious run. Good weather usually has something to do with it, as does a good night’s sleep. I also think that some of my long-term efforts are paying off. I can tell that my strength training is making my legs stronger and helping my ITB. I’m sure yoga also is helping, although I think I need the yoga to counter-balance my all day desk-sitting more than my running. Either way, the twists and hip-openers feel so good. Even my eating habits have been pretty good lately–I’ve worked in daily doses of dark chocolate without pigging out on Halloween candy and survived an unexpected week-long visit from my mother-in-law without trying to hide in a bag of chips. My weight seems to be hovering a few pounds lower than it has been for ages, and I can tell the difference in my running. (At 5’1″ every pound counts!)
Realizing that all of these efforts are paying off gives me more motivation to keep them up. This is especially important as we head into winter, with its dark, cold mornings and constant march of food-focused celebrations. I can count on my fitness routine and good nutrition to keep me one step ahead of the hectic holidays.