I had to postpone this run by a week—when it was time to first do it, I was feeling on the weak side, and I feared that I would simply underperform and be unable to recover succinctly afterward. But for a whole week after that decision, instead of making sure to get enough rest, I actually did some serious, yet unplanned, hill work (by running in a hilly city). Needless to say, by the end of the week, I was exhausted. And then Friday came…
Scrambling Out of Bed to Kick Some Ass
When the alarm clock shrieked at 6 am, I stirred awake suspiciously rested. I say suspiciously because I’ve been recently having some issues with sleeping—this topped with that crazy hill work makes my feeling good all the more surprising. Could the hill gains be absorbed so quickly?
Through the lingering veil of sleep, I went out of the house. From the moment I started jogging, I felt strong and optimistic, but there was undefined hesitation simmering underneath the excitement—I didn’t know if I was physically ready to complete this difficult workout.
Repetitions Turned Steady Pleasure
That hesitation clung to me all throughout the jog warmup and usual drills. I took three deep breaths, braced myself for a possible fiasco, and hit the start button…
The first four 200m repetitions went down as smoothly as a bottle of Coke after a long run in the summer! I knew I would kick some gravel ass today. My stride was satisfactorily bouncy and reassuringly greedy. I needed the speed after all.
When I started running the steady 3-mile threshold, I immediately enjoyed the ride and actually welcomed the growing exertion. The pounding on the asphalt was trance-like. I focused on the road ahead, letting the scenery around time further amplify the experience and joy of running. On both sides of the road, going as far as the horizon, the last sentinels of nature were slowly preparing for winter. Now in their last annual stage, the greenery and trees were almost entirely deprived of color and leaves. I took immense pleasure in reminiscing about the passage of time and the reassuring repetitiveness of life cycles. It was wonderful and sublime.
This state of exuberance lasted until the last 800m, at which time a dreadful thought crept up on me:
Did I set a recovery period before another set of four 200m reps?
I frantically browsed my head for the recollection of setting a break after the steady 3-miler in my Garmin. Nothing of the sort came up. And indeed, when the threshold part was over, Garmin urged me to sprint another 200m. So I stopped only for a second before getting into the game again, and man, did those last four 200m reps hurt!
Midway through the final reps, I looked up at the horizon in front of me, and alas, a majestic, absolutely breathtaking, fierce orange-violet sunrise was happening just before my very eyes. The sun was a huge formidable sphere, still only halfway up over the horizon, hiding behind barren trees. This view alone gave me such an energy boost that I didn’t even have to resolve to any mantras—I was running toward that rising sun, toward performance gains 🙂 It made me appreciate my resolution to run first thing in the morning. You don’t get to see sights like that sleeping soundly at home!