Beautiful Early Morning Run

This morning I wanted to get my 6-mile mid-week run in – I knew technically I could have slept in and taken my run after work, but I knew I’d feel better if I just got in in beforehand. My mid-week runs are getting longer, and this was the first 6-mile run I’ve done before work in Chicago (last week my run was in DC and I was able to sleep in a bit) – point being, I wasn’t too sure how dark it would be when I needed to get out on the trail, and I wasn’t too sure how safe I would feel. As soon as I got onto the path (at 5:40), I realized I had nothing to worry about. The sun was just minutes from coming up and there were a lot of people already out there. This made me feel relieved because I have another 6-miler next week and then a few weeks at 7. I know I’ll still feel fine running early enough to get the 7 miles in. Once it increases to 8…we’ll see. 🙂 I usually feel extremely safe when I’m running outside but Chicago IS a huge city and I do get distracted with music so I want to be careful.

Anyway, I ran north along the trail and felt pretty great as soon as I got going – it was hot out but not humid, and the Lake looked gorgeous. By the end my app told me that I’d run a good 30 seconds faster than my long run pace, which is great, and my last mile was nearly as fast as my first. Definitely a confidence-boosting run!

At this point in my training (just 10 weeks to go!), I’m really pleased with the work I’ve done on the mid-week runs. When I trained for the Marine Corps marathon, I thought of the mid-week runs as preparation for the long runs, and while I did fit them in most nights…there were definitely others that I skipped the gym entirely. I just didn’t take those runs as seriously as I should have. Now I realize that they’re just as valuable as the long runs, just in a different way. I think the work I’m doing throughout the week is building the foundation for my big run, and challenging myself with these shorter distances – both in speed and in incline – is going to pay off in the end. At least that’s the hope. 🙂

I’m still struggling getting my head wrapped around 26 miles – especially when I first start a long run. After all these years, running still doesn’t come easily to me, so when I’m huffing and puffing away and it’s only minute 3 of my 5-minute run cycle, immediately I start questioning the whole thing and I’m filled with doubt. Music is a good distraction for those thoughts…usually…and it helps during the long run to have people to talk to…but I still need to figure out some mantras to tell myself when those voices in my head get chatty. Even this morning, within the first few minutes, I started panicking about my pace and actually had to tell my brain to shut up.

So that’s where I’m at this week! Two more quick 3-miles to go and then 13 on Saturday. MAYBE tomorrow I’ll actually get to the gym early enough to sneak in my run before the yoga class…we’ll see!

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