Saturday, October 17, 2009

Never Too Late...

This past summer (and the summer before that), one of my goals was to be able to run the entire outer path of Forest Park. According to the StL Track Club's website, that loop is 5.66 miles. Now, I've completed the loop many times with a combination of walking and running but never running the whole thing. After last weekend's success with the 10k, I knew 5.66 miles shouldn't be a problem. My only concern was that the south side of the park has several steep hills that have always given me problems.

So this morning, with the sun shining (finally!) although not doing much warming, I set out for the park to put a check mark next to another goal completed (even if it was a little out of chronological order). I started on Lindell near the Visitor's Center going clock-wise, that way I would hit the hilly section after only a mile or two. Some way, some how, without my realizing it, my legs have gotten WAY stronger. The hills really weren't that steep...I just slowed down when I needed to and kept careful watch over my breathing and form.

Another small victory...About 4 miles into the run, there's a very small hill, one that shouldn't give me any problems, but for some reason, whenever I've gotten to the top of the rise in the past, I've had to walk for a couple of minutes to catch my breath. Well, today, as I approached that section, I told myself, "This hill is so tiny compared to the others you've just conquered...the fact that you can't keep going when you get to the top is purely mental." And, it was. When I got to the top of the hill, I reminded myself to control my breathing to help slow my heart rate and to just keep going. It worked!

When I reached the end of the run, I still felt strong, so I pushed on for another quarter mile or so just to prove to myself that I could. I finished the whole run (5.66 + some) in 61 minutes. Not as fast as my 10k pace, but I was happy to cross off another goal, not to mention clearing a mental hurdle that's been holding me back. Now to get my eating back on track and finish off these last 16 unnecessary pounds. I think of it this way: the closer to my ideal weight, the easier it will be to run!

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