... my journey from ballerina to triathlete

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Five Mile Miracle

Today, something miraculous happened.

I looked at my training plan, realized that I had to run 5 miles, not the 4 I had expected, and did it without thinking twice. And it was easy.

Okay, so easy probably isn't the correct word, but it felt like one of my normal, everyday "short" runs, not a major undertaking. I know this seems small, but it isn't. Three and four milers have been my standard for the last year. My long runs were 5 and 6 miles. I would prep for a 5-mile run, mentally prepare, and get ready to really "push through." After four weeks of upping our mileage in preparation for Honu, however, it appears that my internal odometer is finally resetting!

This is also monumentally exciting because over two years ago I wrote a post called Five Mile Marathon about an instance in which I failed to properly plan my route and ended up trekking through a five mile "run" only a month into my couch-to-triathlon training on a day when I was only supposed to go for 35 minutes. It took me over an hour, and I remember every aching second of it. In the comments section, a friend and fellow runner told me that I would eventually be running 5 miles easily, and I held onto that hope enthusiastically throughout my early training, dreaming of the day when 5 miles would be no big deal.

Today is that day.

Now yes, it took two years. Although I have run frequently, I really haven't done much by way of upping my mileage. A few 6 or 7-mile runs here and there, several 5-milers, and a lot of 3's and 4's. That has gotten me through the Olympic distance triathlons just fine, so that's what I stuck with, but with Honu looming, it has been really exciting and fun (and hard and painful) to increase the miles I do. Two weekends ago I ran 7 miles in the heat. This past weekend I ran 9. Suddenly, 5 doesn't seem like such a major undertaking. Two years, many races, and countless running form adjustments later, five miles is an easy day.

When I got back to the car, I allowed myself to bask in how far I've come.

My legs didn't hurt.
My breath was under control the entire time, despite doing speed intervals and hills.
I feel energized, not tired, even at the end.
I didn't have to bargain with myself to keep going.
I felt light and strong.

These are such gifts for me, the ballerina who couldn't even run a mile. I am so excited to continue this training process, knowing the strides I've made (no pun intended) and looking forward to what I may be able to accomplish in the future! If you're just starting out, don't give up. Keep going, keep pushing. I promise you will not be disappointed with the results.

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