Every Saturday morning my alarm goes off at 6:25 AM. Whereas I once woke up to bright light providing an instant mood boost, the sun’s presence has crept later and later into my morning routine. With less light to wake up to, it’s become harder to release from the covers and lace up sneakers and fill up water bottles. But while it gets more difficult to get up early on the weekends, the feeling I get post SLR is like no other.
I’m at the point in my training where nearly every week until about mid-October, I will be (hopefully) achieving a PDR, a personal distance record. This past Saturday continued the trend: FIfteen miles for the SLR, plus three more from my warmup and cool down. Total: 18 miles.
When I finished, my legs were stiff and tired. I was starving as I rushed to brush my hair and get over to brunch. Yet, though hunger and fatigue followed, my running high was unmistakable. After two and half hours running (followed by an afternoon nap of the same length), I still managed a full Saturday that including brunching, football watching, dinner making and late night bar hopping.
Even with a packed Saturday agenda, my run remained the highlight. I had pushed myself to do something that I had not before and I finished feeling accomplished and eager to do it again. What makes the achievement even better is how much closer, and stronger, I am to becoming a marathoner. Each SLR has me running an additional mile, another mile towards to that once aloof number, 26.2.
When I started training for my first half, nearly every week of training garnered a PDR. I can remember texting friends and family about how amazing it is to see what you are capable of when you dedicate yourself to doing something. More specifically, I was amazed by how far I could push my body and test the limits I thought it had. Then and now, I continue to amaze myself. Not so much by the fact that I successfully survived 18 miles, but more that I have stayed committed to this idea of waking up at pre-sunrise hours and accruing double digits mileage, all for my own sake.
Now, it is becoming more real. No longer is this marathon simply about checking it off my life bucket list; it’s become something bigger. I can see the ways in which the confidence from my running has woven itself in my daily life. The training has kept me on a schedule, but also more conscious of my time and how I treat my body. Because I feel more confidence in myself, I feel more inclined to start conversations with strangers, act on impulses and do things my earlier, high-strung college self would have never done.
I can’t say that running deserves sole credit for self-esteem boost, but it has done wonders. There is no one making me wake up to run. It’s just me, doing it for myself. Maybe if the running high weren’t so great, then I would have to reconsider this whole marathon thing. But it’s a high money can’t buy and no one can package in a box. It’s all about me, and that’s a reward I’ll gladly keep running towards.