This morning I joined my girls for a run. Running with them is always a great way to refocus on what I love about this sport... and what really matters. We start our morning run with a prayer, and then fill the rest of it with fun, hilarious, meaningful conversation. I love hearing about their lives, their thoughts, their training and everything in between. They all encourage and inspire me, each in their own different ways, to be a better person and a better runner.
As I've mentioned before, Katie is training to run a 3:15 marathon and she's following one of the strictest plans she's ever used. On Wednesdays she does some sort of speed/tempo/hill workout and I usually join her for whatever I can manage. This morning she had a tempo run planned, but it was unlike any tempo run I'd ever done. I am used to one mile warm up, the middle miles at a certain pace, and then a 1 mile cool down. The one she sent me last night involved minutes and obscure terminology like the word "gradual." Okay, so I read it while watching "The Proposal" so I may have skimmed...
But I was game to give it a go and hang with her as best I could. The workout was to be a 10-15 minute warm-up and then a gradual increase of speed until we were at 7 minute pace and we were to hold that for 6 minutes and then cool back down. We chose a 6 mile route and ran for about 15 minutes before we decided it was time to rev it up. I thought "gradual" meant about a minute to get down to the pace we wanted, so I picked up the pace and thought, "Jane, you can do this for 6 minutes."
Katie wasn't really sure when we had started or how long we should go, and I forgot my watch (which just about sent me over the edge) so I was no help... but I was thinking this 6 minute thing was not so bad after all and feeling really good about my pace. That's when she informed me that we were still in the gradual phase and it was time to take it up a notch...for 6 minutes.
"But I don't have another notch!" I said. She wasn't bothered by this. She informed me that I had to stay with her or I would not know what my pace was since I didn't have a my Garmin. She knows my weak spots. She also said it was just six minutes and left it at that. So I ran as hard as I could, trying to keep the gap between us as narrow as possible, thinking to myself the whole time, "But I already DID my six minutes!" (think whiny 5-year-old voice here).
After the second set of 6 minutes, we slowed back down and my legs felt like complete jello. It was great, though, and I was really surprised that I could do that type of run at 5:00 in the morning. Even though Katie and I didn't really understand the workout or know if we'd done it correctly, I enjoyed running it with her and pushing myself. We had great conversation along the way (except for that second 6 minutes), talking about training and planning and thinking about it all.
We met back up with the rest of our posse after the run and got to chat with them a bit more before going home. As I drove away, I was thankful for the morning run and such wonderful friends to share it with. It was a great start to my refocusing efforts, and I knew exactly Who to thank for that.