I don't usually run on Sundays. I don't usually drink coffee. Today I did both.
Since I skipped my regular Friday long run and subbed in walking 2.5 miles to work instead, I was actually really craving a run today (Ok, maybe it's not the coffee - maybe I just AM a crazy person - did I just say I was "craving" a run? Woah). So the plan was to allow myself to sleep in for as long as possible (Mission Accomplished - I didn't wake up until noon today), have a sexy breakfast, and then head out for a nice long, leisurely jog to see if I could accomplish my 8K distance (5 miles).
It's a dark day here today - very overcast and threatening snow. We've already gotten a winter weather watch warning (how's that for alliteration?) in effect for Tuesday-Wednesday. They say we're in for a doozy of a snow storm again - lovely - so I best be getting a good run in today anyway since the conditions were pretty near perfect for running weather - 30 degrees, clear streets with only a few slushy patches, and overcast so there isn't glaring sun in your eyes - and it could be dicey over the next week. Maybe I'll finally get to used my YakTax.
Anyway - the cloudy skies allowed for a very late awakening this morning which was lovely. It's what's made it so hard to get out of bed during the week too. When my room is still dark, I think it's night - therefore, I continue to sleep! Haha. After finally rolling out of bed, I padded to the kitchen to make that sexy breakfast. Two toaster waffles - one with peanut butter, the other with Nutella, a tangelo orange, 6 strawberries and a large cup of coffee with a new skinny caramel macchiato creamer...mmmm. Even though I don't usually drink coffee, especially at home, I had a coupon for a free bottle and it looked delicious so I got it. I usually only get coffee one other time a week. On Wednesday afternoons before I go swimming, I get a decaf grande skinny latte from Starbucks. The warm milk tides me over for a late dinner post-swim and the little bit of caffeine gives me a boost to get through my tough workout after a full day at work. Since I feel a definite difference between when I do and don't "fuel" like this before I go to the pool at night, I decided to try it as well on my run today to see if it made a difference there too. Umm, yeah, it for sure did.
Firstly, running mid-afternoon after you've had a ton of sleep and a proper meal is way different than running first thing in the morning on only a banana - which is my usual routine. I noticed this on Christmas Day when I did a 5 mile walk/run down the lake and back. My energy was amazing that day as well, so I knew I was in for a good time today too.
Secondly, the coffee just gave me a wicked boost of energy, and it was all I could do to keep telling my self to SLOW DOWN before I burned myself out after 2 miles.
I decided on a couple of different mantras before I left for my run that have been working for me lately. Besides "SLOW DOWN" which I actually use a lot on my long runs, today I also used "You Have All The Time In The World" and "Push It Through". "Push It Through" works really well for me if I'm feeling tired or if I'm having any pain. Whenever I say it I do that meditation technique of imagining a wave washing through your body from your head all the way down through your feet and out on to the ground. Usually this technique is done laying down, but I've been able to use it a lot on my runs as well. Every time my foot hits the ground I push a wave through my body and out onto the pavement. It's been extremely effective for pain in my legs. "Push It Through" and I can usually wash the pain or the tenseness or cramp out of my leg and out through my feet. "You Have All The Time In The World" was really nice today. Kind of like "SLOW DOWN", it reminded me that I was out to have fun today and relax and that I really wasn't trying to set any records (even though I did). And I could actually use it today and know that I was speaking the truth because I really don't have anything else to do today (except maybe a couple of loads of laundry) so I really didn't have to be in a rush, which I often am if I run before work. So that made a huge difference in knowing that I didn't have anywhere to be except right there doing what I was doing.
So of course you want to know how I did right? Haha. Well - I did what I set out to do. A full 8K, 5.02 miles in just over one hour, 1:02:50. BAM!!!
I got emotional again when I finally stopped running for the first time since I hit 5K for the first time back in November. That's an amazing feeling to have. When you accomplish something that is so huge, so life changing, that your emotions just let go and you cry like a baby in the middle of the street. I am changing my life. I have mantras for creeps sake. HAHA! What the heck is that? I've lost almost 80 pounds and I can run EIGHT FREAKING KILOMETRES!!! FIVE MILES. Holy crap. I am disciplined enough to run that far, to control my breathing and my body and my mind for five miles. Just a year ago I wasn't disciplined enough to press the power button on the remote control to turn off the television on a Sunday afternoon. THAT was the crazy person, not this. This person that I am now is FAR from crazy. This person is disciplined, and steadfast, and determined and beautiful. This person is the person I want to be, the person that I need to be.
I don't know that I want to pick up a coffee habit again just so I can run faster and longer, but at least it's worth it to know what it does for my training. I'll go back to my tea for the week I think, but I might make a treat of it on weekends as long as I'm running. It doesn't do much for my sleep (I'll have to see what happens tonight when I go to bed) but I'm hoping the strenuous exercise will counter-balance the caffeine consumption and I'll sleep like a baby. But for now I am just so proud of myself for what I was able to do today. And a full 3 months before I have to run my 8K Shamrock Shuffle too! It's my goal to be running at least a 10K by that point though, so that's the next goal. Now that I know I can run 5 miles, 6.2 will be a piece of cake right? Right?
Time to hit the showers. And maybe get to that laundry now. I have a BUNCH of sweaty running stuff to clean - and it's SO worth it!