Mr. Higdon’s Novice 2 (week 3) long run, was like throwing this girl a bone; a relatively easy six miler, but run at long run speeds, 45-90 seconds slower than race pace.
I happily ran with the bone, fully aware that next week will begin the slow climb into, “Oh God, can I really run (fill in the blank) miles next week?” territory. I took it as an invitation to slow down and enjoy myself, and I embraced the opportunity to notice my surroundings, while high-fiving every endorphin.
Here are some of the happy thoughts that kept me company on my run:
1. Every other house was decorated with hanging wreaths in the windows. Light up Frosty’s dotted door steps and mailboxes were wrapped in ribbon. How could this not be the happiest time of year?
2. I ran slowly enough to mess with my itouch. Usually I’m so consumed by my pace and mileage that I hate to fuss with it, and prefer to listen to the “recently added” playlist. Today I listened to some of the songs that don’t get enough play. A little Journey, some disco, Michael Buble, Johnny Cash, and a lot of Gaga and Mary J. Blige. A mish mosh, sure, but all talented artists with something to say.
3. Running up the tallest hill of the day (Sawmill to Lead Mine, Raleighites?) I had my shadow ahead of me. This was an opportunity to do one of my favorite things while running; dance with myself. Here’s a little tip for non-runners, or runners who don’t consider their running to have anything to do with dancing at all. It starts with Swan Lake arms.
Here’s what you do:
- Open your arms wide with elbows slightly bent, aiming toward the ground.
- Connect your middle finger and thumb into a Om (and say it too, just to get that sound of the universe vibrating through your bod). It helps to see it in your shadow as confirmation that you really are doing this.
- Release the fingers a little and feel the wind coming up under your wings.
- Let your hands fly free, whichever way they choose, and move to whatever music is in your ears or in your head. My fingers like to do their own little dance, like conductors in an orchestra. A more accurate description is what I call, “Mariah Carey fingers.” Quick moving digits, straight and long, tapping the air like keys on a piano.
As you run, as you move, you will know that your are free and strong and that your soul is in on this pavement pounding experience. I swear, too, that anyone who catches sight of you will smile, because who couldn’t smile at a person with dancing arms and piano fingers running up a great big hill.
4. My final two miles, I listened to (probably) the greatest break up album/cd of all time; George Michael’s Listen Without Prejudice. I am sure some folks’ eyes will roll at the thought of my vote for greatest break up album, but let me tell you, if your were 19 and breaking up with the love of your life, and you listened to this over and over again for more than a year, you’d think the same thing. Interestingly, I revere those songs like old friends. Of course, I thought a little about the big old jerk who caused the album to carry such weight in my life, but it’s not a negative thing anymore, rather a realization of the life I was meant to lead and how far I’ve come. There’s a reason most of us don’t marry the guy we dated at 19, right? I mean, really!
5. I was dressed perfectly for the cold. My long sleeve Dash top over my Lulu running jacket (zipped up over my chin) was perfect for the blustery wind. Even my toque didn’t make my head too hot (one of my biggest winter running pet peeves). My shoes were laced perfectly, loose near the toes, tighter (but not too tight) in the middle, and just pulled enough at the top to allow my ankles to be secure without cutting off circulation. I like running in all kinds of weather (except heat), but this mornings’ 32 degrees filled my lungs and made me feel alive. It also made my nose chilled to the touch, which believe it or not, is one of the silliest joys of winter running for me. Having my whole body covered and comfortable, with my nose sticking out like a little thermometer, I was reminded me that (yes), it really is this cold.
The best part about all the happy thoughts and rushing endorphins is that they didn’t end with the run. I came home, showered and got dressed, and went out to do errands all by myself. I hit up Lululemon (had to see Paris Pink in person), bolted through Trader Joe’s (ate half a box of delicious peppermint cookies on the ride home), and meandered though Joanne’s Fabrics collecting the necessities required for my attempt at crafty Christmas gifts (for the ones whom I love).
Here’s hoping that your day, whether you ran six miles or not, was as full of happy thoughts as mine!