This weekend I explored a brand ‘new to me’ state park. I feel so fortunate to live in a state where lakes, rivers and state parks are abundant. Now if I lived in a state where it wasn’t below zero for 5 months of the year…
The Interstate State Park is a glorious place! I was amazed at the topography of the trail: many roots, rocks and elevation and then open prairie, grasses and city running. It was amazing. There were times when I felt like I was on the Superior Hiking Trail, at Afton State Park and at Lake Maria. I loved it!!
While volunteering at Chippewa 50K last week Jeff Allen invited me to his T&A Run. (Trail and Asphalt)I recalled receiving an invite in the past but wasn’t able to take advantage of it due to injury. I was all over it this time.
I met up with 27 other awesome runners in the parking lot of the Interstate State Park at 800 AM-Wisconsin side, St. Croix Falls. Not only were many of my friends in attendance but I also met many new people! What a great day.
The sun was shining, it was 43F, I wore shorts for the first time! WOOHOO! My training schedule stated 17 miles for the day so as long as I ran 17, anything else was frosting.
Jeff went through the plan. Two groups: speedy and not speedy. Speedy would run 24 or so, not speedy would run 17. OK, perfect! We’d meet paths every once in a while for aid and to regroup.
Let’s go! The trail was magnificent. I will definitely go back to run at Interstate State Park. We went over rock, roots, great hills, open field, lots of trail, nice single-track and then we’d pop into the city of St Croix Falls-along the river, through a golf course, it was amazing.
I felt like I was back in my element. Back to being able to knock off a 20 miler without worry. Back to being able to run alongside my friends. Back to doing what I love. Laughing. Belly laughing with great friends while running. What is better? It’s been a long time. I ran with a smile on my face and joy in my heart. I felt like..me. The me that I’ve missed and have been trying to get back to.
I’ve designated MAY as my month to reconnect. As I was running along the path I felt it taking place. I am reconnecting. Reconnecting to myself and reconnecting my relationships. Reconnecting to the good habits that had become my lifestyle. Reconnecting with Me.
One way to reconnect with the me of my past is to get my ass out of bed to run early morning workouts again. I have SO missed them. I keep telling myself I’m going to reconnect with this habit..but I have made the decision to fail at this over and over again. It's in my hand and I have chosen to let it go .. over and over.
Last night I had it with myself. I pulled out my running clothes, my watch, my shoes, my banana and my gel. I thought about my sister who wakes up at 4-430 each day to run, about Heidi who wakes up at 345 each morning, about Karly who woke at 440 yesterday and Amy who is always waking early to get her run on.
Before falling to sleep I set my alarm for 430. I was going to do this. I thought about how running early makes me feel: accomplished, energized, in my happy place, set for the day. I thought about how running early revs my metabolism early, how I drink more water, how I care for myself during the day after an early morning run. Running early frees up my afternoon. I can take Topaz for an easy hike in the woods, I can go to the gym for weight training, I can go to yoga. Running early makes me happy. Running early is what I used to do. Running early is something I have missed.
Yet…yet…I had been having trouble getting up. I had been turning my alarm off and sleeping longer..and spending the day frustrated with myself. It's ridiculous.
Well today was the day. My alarm rang. I thought about my clothes all ready for me, I thought about how great I would feel after doing this. I thought about how this used to be my normal. My no big deal. My first run of a double much of the time. I pulled my comforter down like it was my blanket of depression and rolled it away from my body. I stepped out of bed, into my clothing. I patted Topaz and explained to him that I had to do this for myself. I couldn’t take him along with me today. It’s too tough for him at 12.5 years now. I told him I’d walk him after my run. He cried when I left but I had to do this..for me.
I did. I ran through the slightly brightening morning. I heard the birds singing, the frogs croaking, I spotted deer crossing the road in front of me. I felt my body moving swiftly through the darkness, my breathing easy. I watched the sunrise. I ran. I ran with joy. True joy.
The morning was beautiful. No cars, no people, no music. A symphony of nature.
7 miles. I ran back home to Topaz. He welcomed me with kisses and leaped with excitement down the driveway as we jogged for his mile. I was beaming with happiness. We both were. It’s a great way to start the day. To start the reconnect. I'm looking forward to tomorrow morning. To do it again.