Ahhh, Sunday. My favorite day because it's Long Run Day!! I love a good long run. Sometimes I even love a crappy long run. Well, let's be honest, I just love to run.
Today's long run wasn't really all that long (8 miles) so I decided to see what I've got, speed-wise and I was pleasantly surprised that I've got an 8:06 pace in me! Not too long ago, that was my fastest 2-miler pace. And not so long before that, it was simply a dream to run that fast at all. A couple of things have happened in the last few months that have made me significantly faster than I used to be:
1. I turned 40. I gotta tell ya, I dreaded that number just like every other woman alive, but being 40 ROCKS! There's something very freeing about being "old." I let go of a lot of vanities I didn't even realize I had. And the older I get, the older my kids get, too. They're so much more independent now that I don't need to spend my run thinking about what I need to do for them.
2. I lost my job. Okay, this was not great news, but I'm trying to make lemonade here! I am a girl who really enjoys working, so I made athleticism my job. I don't actually run more mileage, per se, but my workouts are more focused.
3. I started doing core workouts. I used to dread core workouts. Anything but crunchies, please!! Blech. But with the sudden onslaught of free time (see above), I figured I might as well add a new dimension to my fitness, so core workouts it was. I made a deal with myself that on bike ride days, I would also spend a few minutes with the balance ball, doing planks and squats and whatnot. I looked up interesting and unusual exercises and I haven't done a crunchie yet! I started off with ten reps of three or four exercises. Now that I actually look forward to core work day, I do about 10 - 20 exercises (still only ten reps each). I'm pretty sure that the core work is the real secret to my recent speediness.
4. I ran a marathon. And once I did that, I realized that I can pretty much do ANYTHING. I had to work pretty hard on my mental game to complete a marathon. When the going gets tough, my mind says, "Hey, let's take a break!" so I had to learn how to override my inner quitter. Nowadays, especially on shorter distances, I don't even hear that little voice in my head suggesting that I walk or at least slow down. I am so glad that girl shut up!