I’m not sure if you know this or not, but I coach a half marathon training group on Tuesdays and Saturdays at Fleet Feet Des Moines in the East Village. Usually Saturday’s are my long run days, so I have been trying to get to the store early, run on my own for 1-1.5 hours, and then run with the group. This way, I can focus on my training alone, then focus my attention to the group as we run.
When I head out on my own, I have training goals, times, heart rate maximums, and such that I want to accomplish. But there comes a time that you can get so busy focusing on those goals, that you forget to enjoy the run itself. Don’t get me wrong, training is important, and setting training goals are key, but every now and then you need to just get out and enjoy the run itself.
Last Saturday was that day. I started out, keeping track of pace and heart rate and aerobic zones that I realized I missed the sunrise. I stopped and looked around, and I saw this:
It was actually prettier than the picture shows, and suddenly I decided that I needed to enjoy this moment, this time alone, and soak in the beauty that was around me.
So now I had a new goal to focus on: finding the beauty in downtown Des Moines during the remainder of my run.
I could have taken dozens more, but I had to get back to the East Village to start my group run. As the group took off, I told them to look for unique things that they see while running. For me, it makes for a happier, more peaceful workout.
It’s hard to believe that 10 years ago, I ran a 5k in honor of my dad who died from lung cancer. The run started and ended at the Blank Park Zoo, and I remember it being so hilly and hard, and having to walk part of the last hill while trying not to throw up! I didn’t want anyone at the finish to see me walking, so I mustered up the last ounce of energy I had and ran over the hill to the finish (thankfully it was all downhill after that). It’s funny to look back, 10 years later, and see what all I have been blessed and honored to accomplish: coaching athletes, completing 3 Ironman Triathlons, countless half marathons, 10k’s, 5k’s and everything in between. All because I decided to stick with it, to accomplish a goal, and move to the next one. That is one of the first things I tell athletes: stick with it. The workouts get easier, but then you increase them to make them hard again. What was once my long run (5K) is now my warm up before starting the main training! And that can happen to you too, as long as you stick with it.
Live healthy, be happy!