Today's run was amazing! I started about an hour later than normal, since I had no other pressing activities for the morning, it was semi-cool out, and I wanted it to be 100% sunshine. So I began my run at about 7 AM. I tested the route with my car two days ago, and I knew it was not always going to have substantial shoulders for me to use. As such, I decided to run without my MP3 player, just so my ears could detect the slightest sound of a car in the vicinity. I was a little bit leery of running without music, but I knew it was for the best.
I started the run, and the next thing you know I had gone almost two miles. My mind was filled with thoughts of old friends from college who have accomplished fitness goals (namely Katie and Martina). My pace was good, yet I was trying not to overdo it. Finally I got to the turnoff point, where it was to get really hilly. And it did! But I passed by a nice homestead in need of some TLC that could be fabulous. So the next mile or so was filled with all of my hypothetical plans to renovate the place. It was a house with two out buildings and a small acreage. Very cute!
At almost mile 4 I thought I spotted another human on the road. I then thought it was a volunteer trash pickers (like the Adopt A Mile people), and then I realized it was an elderly gentleman who really appeared to be picking cans to turn it into cash. I was sad for him. He reminded me how blessed I am. He didn't look hungry, exactly, or I might have stopped and offered him my energy bar.
At the halfway point (4.5 miles) I made myself stop and eat the energy bar. I didn't exactly think I needed it, but my M4M book said to do it -- so I did. Well, let me just say that I began to ZOOM down that hilly road! Two thumbs up for the energy bar! The next thing you know I was back at the main road with about 2.25 miles to go.
I was aware of the fact that I was much speedier than usual, and I challenged myself to finish the run in 1:50. I "hit the wall" with about a mile to go, but I was determined. Here's what I did: when I saw the sign for the church that generally marks my starting and stopping point, I pretended that my husband was down there waving me in, as well as an imaginary finish line. Even though I was tired, I kicked it into high gear. I finished in 1:49:34. Now let's review:
5-mile longrun 1:02:37 12:32 per mile
6-mile longrun 1:16:29 12:40 per mile
7.5-mile longrun 1:17:26 12:55 per mile
8-mile longrun 1:46:15 13:17 per mile
9-mile longrun 1:49:34 12:11 per mile
I don't know if it was the energy bar or the lack of the MP3 player, but I really improved this week. Honestly, I think it may have been a combination of both. Regardless, I am impressed with the improvement. Now for my shower then nap!