I started training for my first half marathon about eight years ago. I had a friend who had run several of them as well as two marathons, and who convinced me that distance running was in my future.
So I found a training plan on runnersworld.com, filled out how many miles I wanted to run every week and how hard to train; printed out the schedule, and laminated it. We followed that plan diligently, rarely wavering from the specifics, and never ever missing a run. It worked; my first half was exhilarating, my time was decent, and I was hooked.
Through the years, I followed a couple of other plans, but eventually just kind of did my own thing.
This past week though, I found that original schedule in a drawer and was a bit astounded at what it showed. Namely, far fewer miles per week than I run now. Two days off! Plus, though I may be a somewhat faster now on longer distances, I was caught off guard a little — not only at the abbreviations and running lingo — but what those tempo runs and speed work entailed.
The timing on finding that schedule was serendipitous. As summer had worn on, my runs just weren’t as fast as I had wanted them to be or, on some days, slower than I could have sworn I was going. I’d been attributing my relative poky pace to the weather; maybe for good reason, maybe not.
But seeing on that faded schedule what I had been capable of made me wonder…am I still? So next time before heading out, I took an extra deep breath, letting that wave of anticipatory giddiness seep into my psyche.
And, well, what do you know? I ran stronger and faster and — most importantly — more joyfully than I had in awhile.
Since then, once, maybe twice a week, I’ve pumped up a run just to see where it takes me. Place, I found out, I’d all but forgotten I could go.
So for those serendipitous reminders of what we could do and, often, by golly, what we still can, The Grateful Runner says thank you.