I should be exhausted, but for some reason I'm not. The last two nights have been late nights in preparation for the weekend graduation party--cleaning, shopping, food preparation, more shopping, etc.
Thursday night was particularly late, after midnight, and then up again at 5:15. Now the old me would have bagged the Friday morning planned run--at least 50 min.--and at most might have done a swim. That would have been an easy day. But the new me was raring to go.
I got to the gym at about 6:30 and found I was the only and first one there. Just an odd feeling, being the only one. Nothing I can relate to after the crowds at the Y the past 6 years. Privacy. Quiet.
I headed out of the basement parking area of my building, running up the ramp with ease. My legs felt like crap at first, due I am sure, to lack of a good night's sleep. But as happened on the last two runs, my ChiRunning took over and within just a few minutes I was fine, concentrating on form, breathing, cadence, and relaxing. It was actually quite chilly that morning, probably cool enough for gloves, but being June, who thinks of such things? So off I go into the cool of the morning, through the downtown streets, across the river, past the post office, the fire station, and turning toward the university. Lots of traffic, but no one really out and about that early. Too much exhaust though. I need to find a different route.
My goal each time is to run until my breathing becomes labored. In the recent past, that would have been after about 10 minutes, but with conscious relaxation and attention to form, the effort is cut to almost nothing until at least 20 minutes, when I might start breathing a little more. I am not running any slower than before, just more effortless. I am still not at the point where I could run a whole marathon or even a 10k without needing to catch my breath, but each time gets me farther before I have to stop. Yes before I could run up to 8 or 9 miles, but I would be exhausted and quite uncomfortable before I even reached the 5 mile mark.
Today, the only thing that caused me to stop part way through my run was the usual need for a bathroom. Fortunately there is a McDonalds on my route, so that might even be a crutch, a reason to stop. I don't know. I don't want to chance it because I know the consequences!
But the more I get into this ChiRunning, the farther I can go without stopping, and the farther I can go before I want to stop. Before, I would time myself for intervals of rest/walking, and couldn't wait until the break. Now I think, well just go a little farther and see how you feel. So a little farther keeps turning into a little farther yet, and before I know it, I am at a turnaround point (and only because of time constraints) and am heading back. At this point, I have taken a minute to reposition myself and check my breathing before heading back.
So 4 miles, and it seemed like the blink of an eye instead of the eternity it did before. I realize some of this new-found endurance comes with more biking endurance, which for me always equals more strength, but it really is the ChiRunning that has put this new twist on my running.
I know I still have a long way to go to accomplish my goals, but each run brings me closer.