When my alarm clock went off at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 26th, I hit the snooze, rolled over, and promptly fell back asleep. However, when it went off again 9 minutes later, I remembered I had race training to do, hit the snooze, rolled over, and fell back asleep again. When it sounded a third time, I remembered it was my BIRTHDAY, and surely I could take off just this one Saturday and pick up where I left off the following weekend, right?
Ask any runner what the keys to successful training are, and I guarantee one of those will be consistency. Even my coach agrees that running 3 times a week is great, but 4 times is better. So I turned off the alarm, climbed out of bed, and headed downstairs for breakfast.
I have been training for this year's Garden 10-Mile coming in June since the beginning of February, but this was our first training run at Garden of the Gods. I've been running on trails along Austin Bluffs Parkway, Monument Valley Park, and Fountain Valley Park, but I had to admit, I didn't want to miss this first Garden run, birthday or not. So I got dressed, laced up my Brooks, and headed out the door.
Several days ago while chatting on the phone with my daughter, she mentioned she had started running in her neighborhood. "It's hard to stay motivated, though," she confessed. I told her I couldn't wait to hit the trail every other day, and was up to 4 miles each run, racking up 16 miles a week. She was as shocked as I was. "I know, right? Who would've thought a year ago that your mother would be running like this?" I laughed with her.
That's just the start, though: I am running 4 times a week, and on my "active recovery" days, I do a 20-minute warm-up on the elliptical at the gym, followed by strength training. On Sundays, I allow myself a full recovery day. This past Friday, I switched up my running with an 11-mile bike ride on Powers Blvd. Whoda' thunk?
I signed up to only run 3 miles instead of the 4 I had worked up to due to some recent knee pain, plus I didn't want to overdo it with hills like these. However, the hills were easier than I anticipated, except for that first one--nothing like a steep one to get you huffin' and puffin' right out of the starting gate--and I was finished before I knew it!
The views were spectacular, the sky a deep blue, the air crisp and clean, and thankfully, there was little wind. I kept a good, steady pace throughout and didn't need to stop, except, of course, to take pictures of the deer (couldn't resist!). Afterwards, we hung out to chat, and they sang Happy Birthday to a couple of us who were celebrating.
As I drove home afterwards, I shook my head in awe: Here I am, turning 44 years old today, and I'm running. Me! Actually running! Consistently. I'm so proud that I haven't given up. The "fitness bug" must've bitten hard, because I didn't even take a break for my birthday! And I can't wait for the next one!
P.S. I'm happy to report that I hardly had any knee pain after the run, or even the day after.
Happy Birthday! And CONGRATULATIONS!! You are going to do AWESOME in June! And I'll be right there somewhere behind you :P
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