Before today, my last run was Monday of this week. It seems like WEEKS ago! It was great to get back out there. I ran the same 1-mile trail as Monday, five laps, with almost the identical time (40:33; 8:07 pace), but with a slightly different format. I ran the first three miles slowly (8:22/8:18/8:18), then a hard fourth lap (7:17), then finished with an easy lap (8:17). For the hard mile, I wanted to see if I could run a 7:30 & ended up going a good deal faster. It wasn't easy, and I probably couldn't have held that pace for even another mile, but it was reassuring to be able to go faster than I thought I could (it's a hilly loop, so I likely would have been a bit faster on a flat course). Thus, I'm sticking with my 7:30/mile pace goal for my 5k a week from tomorrow. I followed the run with a bit of stretching and an ice bath. My right IT band and hip were bothering me just a little during and after the run.
It's been a rough week. Not to get too personal, but my business is really struggling right now in this economy. Plus, I had the intestinal virus issue a couple of days ago, followed by having my email account accidentally shut down by Verizon (still is). Then yesterday, my wife and kids got rear-ended while driving our relatively new (and not cheap) Odyssey minivan. They're fine, and unlike most stories you hear, the driver at fault IS insured and very cooperative. I say all this to make a point about running. I'll start by saying that I do have a strong faith & beliefs (which I won't get into on this blog) that give comfort and solace...but, to a lesser yet very significant degree, running provides me with something much more valuable than I had ever really understood. I don't know if I'd call it an "escape" from reality, but it really clears my head and relieves stress. It calms my nerves. It provides an energy outlet (which I DEFINITELY need, since I'm antsy and restless by nature). I've run a (to some runners, measly) 8000+ miles in my "running life", yet the psychological benefits of running are so much more apparent and valuable to me know than ever before. When I finished today's run, I felt elated. Yes, it was probably the endorphin release, but the feeling of well-being blotted out the worries (at least temporarily) that rattle around in my noggin. Although I love the increased fitness, trim waistline and more abundant energy that running provides, I'd keep running just for the mental benefits alone!
Enjoy your weekend, everyone!