Running can be a Spiritual experience

Yesterday was my Long Slow Run and I had planned on going for 12 miles. Mike couldn't run with me this time (it has been several weeks since our last run together due to schedules), so I was a little bummed and not necessarily looking forward to it. But it was on my training plan, I wasn't injured or tired, so I had no excuse but to get my "Grrrrr!" on and get out there!

The run turned out to be really nice! I took the Prairie Path (my usual LSR route) down to the Dairy Queen (6 miles) and turned around to head back. All winter, the path has been bare trees and brown but today, it was green and filled with birds singing, squirrels, geese, and life! It was about 37 degrees outside so there weren't a lot of people on the path yet (it was 6:20am) so it was peaceful. You can feel God at work on days like this.

As I ran along the lakes, I had to stop at one point to take photos of the steam rising above the water. It was amazing! I was listening to a podcast about the TV show "Once Upon a Time" (love that show!) but I only used one earbud because I wanted to ear what was going on around me.

It was so serene and calm, it made my running feel smooth and light. I was wearing my Newtons again (this was my longest run in those shoes so far) and they felt great on my feet. I was trying to focus on my running form and keeping a good cadence going. I got to the Dairy Queen pretty quickly it seemed.

The return home was equally nice. I finished with a hard run for the last 1/4 mile, running at a 7:30/mm pace to the end of the path. That was fun! My overall pace for the 12.46 miles was 10:45/mm which included the warm-up/cool-down walks. I like to keep my LSR pacing at around 11:00/mm so I was a bit too fast but not complaining. My heart rate was about 50/50 in Zones 2 & 3 so that is acceptable for me (my coach however would prefer most of it be in Zone 2).

Today, I planned on a 10-mile Walk early in the morning before going to church for Easter Services. So at 5AM the alarm went off, and I got up and got ready. I left the house at 5:35AM and decided on a route that would take me to my son's middle school, then to the Dole Mansion, passing Crystal Lake (the actual lake), and on to my church. Then from the church, back down the main road and back to my home eventually. Total miles: 10.13 at a 14:53/mm pace.

The walk started off in the dark so I had my trusty headlamp on. But after about a mile, the run started to peek out and the world began to brighten. The sunrise was awesome -- my first Easter Sunrise while out on a walk. Gorgeous! The birds were singing, geese were out flying, and practically no one was out (a few people walking dogs and a few runners. Almost no cars!).

I brought music with me, starting out with the soundtrack to Godspell (I love that musical). It seemed fitting for Easter morning. And then I just listened to random Christian music tracks (put the iPod on shuffle mode). It was pretty amazing that most of the music played fit the Holy Week/Easter message of sacrifice and renewal. I was truly in a spiritual zone during that walk in a way I hadn't experienced before.

I came home relaxed and centered. Church services today seemed more poignant to me today as a result of my walk earlier. It was just a great Easter morning! I won't lie though -- by 2pm, I was really tired and took a nice nap before our family dinner. :)

So the week ended on a marvelous note for me. Total mileage for the month of April is 51 miles so far! That's ridiculous, right? LOL But the kinda cool thing is, I feel fine. My legs feel fine. I feel like my body is finally getting used to all this running stuff! I can remember back last April and May, when just running in a 5K race would leave me with tired/sore leg muscles for several days afterwards. So I guess training really DOES matter!

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