Just as I was packing up my things to head home, the dark clouds rolled in and I heard thunder booming outside. There are only a few things that sideline me from a run. Lighting is one of them. And where there is thunder lighting is not far behind. Thankfully I have been getting very smart when it comes to weekday workouts. I never leave the house with out my gym bag complete with all the necessities for a run indoors or out. If it rains, is cold, or I have to work late my bag is in the gym and ready to go. With the gym at my work I literally have no excuses what so ever to not get my workout in.
So there I am, face to face with the dreaded and terrible Treadmill. I am only feeling semi determined at this point. I know I can bang out four miles, but my planned six? Won't I want to gouge my eyes out by four and a half? I check my IPod battery life, and once I see it is half full I decide to turn on the radio and keep my headphones in reserve for the end of the run. That is when I will need it the most. I waste time doing lunges with weights, plank, and other random exercises from SHAPE magazine, putting off climbing up onto that big black monster.
Finally I realized the sooner I started, the sooner I would be done. Something I have been telling boyfriend a lot when we do our runs together is "When it hurts or get's hard just focus on the end. It may feel impossible now, but know that it is only temporary. You will finish, so focus on staying calm and working your way to the end." I took my own advise and just went with it. The radio was on in the background and I spend a good mile and a half if not two miles mentally putting together outfits for the next three weddings I have this summer. I thought about jewelery, shoes, hair-dos, and purses. Before I knew it I was two miles in. I spend the next mile staring at my feet and working on good form in my legs. Picking up my body through my chest (if that makes any sense). It's like pretending there is a string attached to your head and it's pulling your whole body up towards the ceiling. When I practice running tall I feel stronger than when I let myself slump. Almost as if I can feel myself carrying my whole body weight, but when I lift myself I feel lighter and moving foward (or in place) feels easier. After three miles I talked myself into finishing five.
I was going along great. I had a rhythm. I was in the zone. And then out of nowhere a shooting pain attacked my left shoulder. OW! This is something that has happened to me a few times on longer runs, the front of my shoulder joint gets sore, and although the pain isn't that bad it drives me crazy because it won't go away. I kept running, hoping it would stop, I tried to massage it but I was so sweaty I wasn't having much luck. At first I was angry. I slowed to a jog and then a walk, stretching my arms out every which way they would bend trying to get rid of the pain. Slowing down helped a lot, but did I have the strength to keep going? Did I really want to erase three miles off my weekly total because of this? The weird thing about running is the higher you get in your mileage, the harder it is to reach that peak where you feel accomplishment. Three miles just didn't do it for me anymore. More determined than ever I cranked up the speed and found I felt much better. Maybe sometimes a little break is all you need. I resumed my prior pace, and settled into a comfortable form. Letting the words and music of the radio wash over my ears like a glaze I found that inner calm and charged forward.
I am not sure what came over me, or what let me to keep going. Maybe in all this training I have been strengthening my mind just as much as my body. I kept thinking about all my long runs, and if I have the patience to keep going on those I can do this too. Maybe I just wanted to run the mileage I said I would and not have to change it. Maybe I wanted to hit 25 for the week. Whatever it was I want to harness it, put it in a jar and have it for breakfast, because it was amazing. It was like my body was moving, and I knew it was moving, but I wasn't in control. Was I on auto pilot?
Once I hit five miles I figured I got this far what's one more. I knew it would be hard, and I want it to be over fast so I pulled out my secret weapon I had been keeping for just this occasion. Headphones. The best motivation I know is a loud beat and a sweet melody. I upped my speed to something I figured I could handle for one more mile, and treated it like a shot at the doctor. Don't focus on the pain. And I didn't. I focused on the music, the rhythm, the beat, the words, and before I knew it was over.
There is a special sense of pride reserved for running more than four miles on a treadmill. I can tell you without a doubt I went home happy last night.