Do you ever have those training days where everything just goes right? Like the world was set in motion this AM just to bring me some stuff to smile about!
Have you ever drifted off to sleep and somehow immediately began to dream? You know the type...where you wake up with a hard jerk that shakes the entire bed. That's what happened to me last night. I was drifting off after reading. The material I was reading was very profound and quite thought provoking. I knew that it would take some days of processing before I could fully grasp. Nonetheless, as I drifted off I could see myself running down a trail. I was chasing myself as I tripped over a large root in the ground. That's right, I JOLTED myself in my bed as I tried to catch my fall in my dream. I nearly threw myself out of the bed but then sat there with my heart beating a million miles an hour. I love falling asleep to running and especially on a trail.
At this point in the training, I'm looking at 3.5 weeks until I once again attempt the 100 mile distance. There's something about the 100 mile that draws me in, that distance is set apart even from the 100K distance...at least for me. It's the overnight portion that puts it in another category. I lost a great deal of confidence after IMTUF for a variety of reasons that weren't all connected to running. Since January and my recovery from supposed "walking pneumonia" and a sinus infection that caused yet another asthma flare, has been like a catapolt to a new level of breathing. A new level evidenced by peak flow volumes I've never seen from my lungs. I feel amazing. I've had tempo runs that reminded me that I don't always have to be a 17 m/m trail slogger (no offense to any of my slogging friends) but that I can still run some sub 10 m/m and even sub 9 if I go for it. I still get a bit anxious when I start breathing hard (if I'm going for a sub 9 m/m) and I'm still about 9 pounds above where I was last year. BUT I'm working on it. I'm stronger because of it. Today, on my run after a particularly insightful conversation, I ran with food for thought. I imagined myself as a muskox. With the strength and knowledge that comes from a journey that is wild, rough and unrelenting. I thought about what Emily told me right before we started IMTUF. She told me how she'd been telling herself all night long how she was strong and could do this. She was coaching and self-motivating. (WOW did that ever work!!!) I realized that is exactly what I was doing only it was happening during a short 6 mile run. Last week my tempo run ended with the fastest mile split I'd seen in a year. 9:33. Today, my second to the last mile was a 9:35 and I nearly panicked. I own negative splits and I make them happen. When I saw the 9:35 I immediately doubted my ability to pull off an add'l mile with a negative split. I figured I had nothing to lose for trying. I was going home and would literally be right at my driveway when the mile clicked over. I had no reason to hold back. Not only that but this is my peak week for mileage so might as well make it a peak week for pace too right? I did it. 9:07! I almost pee'd my pants from surprise. In fact I completely started crying. Right there. In my driveway. Bent over at the waist heaving with tears. I did it. I am strong. I am a runner.
A recent quote that I've wrestled with is "this is how he grows: by being defeated decisively by increasingly larger beings" -Rilke I've been defeated by IMTUF. I've been defeated by respiratory problems. I've been defeated by the breakdown of my marriage and my family. These defeats have taught me lessons. I'm stronger now. I'm wiser now. I recognize past "beings" as no longer having the power they once held. Today this manifested in my run. I've learned how to manage my respiratory system. I've learned some of the lessons of a DNF. I'm growing as a Jesus girl and it's making me a better person, better wife, better mom and friend. I have much to learn and lots of room for growth. For this moment, I'll bask in this good run day!