Typically I’m a happy optimist. But last Wednesday I woke up in a crummy mood, not feeling at all enthusiastic about my run. I should have been: It was spring break, so I had the luxury of running once the sun was up. But the sun didn’t make an appearance here in Portland that morning--instead, a light but steady rain was falling. I still should have been feeling chipper as I’d decided I’d do my 13-mile run in Forest Park. I rarely get to trail run these days: My runs are so long that I can’t spare the 15-minute drive each way to the trailhead.
But I just was not feeling this run. From the moment I started, it felt like a slog. It was what my coach, Lynn, calls “beauty miles”—mileage run at a relaxed pace intended to just get me time on my feet. No tempo, no marathon pace, no intervals. Just one foot in front of the other. Usually these mid-week runs are a delight, a chance to veg out and listen to tunes while covering 12 or so miles. Instead, it felt like a moving pity-party…until about mile 11 when, suddenly, a feeling of contentment flushed through my veins. The feeling of well-being was palpable, yet entirely fleeting, like a woodland creature scampering across my foot.
But instead of accepting that I was once again in a funk, I told myself, “Make your own good mood.” Almost as soon as I thought it, I felt my spirits lift. My footsteps seemed lighter and the weather looked less gloomy. My run ended on an upbeat note, but overall it was a dreary, weary run.
Oh, what a delightful difference a few days can make. Yesterday I ran 18 miles, with 10 of them around marathon pace (I averaged 8:37 for the 10). Lynn ran with me for 11+ miles, and the time passed in an enjoyable, entertaining blur. If my Garmin hadn’t told I’d covered 18 miles, I would have swore I’d run only half that distance. When I got home, I felt exuberant. It was a great kickoff to a high-mileage week.