Yesterday, the change in my level of fitness suddenly dawned on me. It was the first time in a long time I set an alarm for Sunday morning. We never sleep past six a.m. anyway, so I usually don't bother. But I had a motorcycle ride scheduled with a new friend, and I was going to need to leave the house by 10:00 a.m. The only problem with that is that I had a 10 mile run to complete to wrap up my training week. This was expected to take about an hour and 50 minutes to run. So I set the alarm for 5:30.
Flashback to Saturday. I had gotten up at 5:30 on Saturday as well, because I was going to a nutrition conference in Seattle. I left the house at 6:45 a.m. and got home right around 6:45 p.m. The conference was only from 10:00-2:00. The rest was drive time. I was in bed by 9:30 that night.
And earlier in the week? My normal "get up time" is 5:30. I may hit snooze, but I start waking up at 5:30. Off to the gym 3 days a week for weights (I'm doing Stephanie Keenan's FitLife Challenge at the moment, and the workouts are hard and fun.), on alternate days of my 3 days of running.
All of that is to point out that I normally would be tired on Sunday to begin with. But here is what got me. I'm far enough into my training plan that long runs are now back to double digits. Sunday's was 10 miles. I can remember back to 2010 when I was training for my first half marathon. When I ran a double digit run, I had to come home and pretty much rest the rest of the day. Read the paper, watch TV, and EAT. I would be starving the rest of the day. And tired.
Sunday's run was hard. I ran a hilly route, and was surprised how far out 5 miles was. I kept predicting where my turn-around point would be, and it kept being a lot farther in actuality. In the end, even with the hills, I was an average of 12 seconds faster on each mile than my prescribed pace. That surprised me! I went home, stretched, showered, and got on my motorcycle for the next 9 hours. I wasn't on it all 9 hours. We would stop and take breaks, get fuel, get coffee, relax, and ride again. But still, it was a long day of riding (and totally FUN, I'm so glad I went!). I came home and did a little laundry and got my gym stuff ready for today before relaxing for the night. That is a HUGE change from where I was in 2010.
I no longer feel like I have to eat back every calorie I run off on my long runs. I have energy left over to go do the fun things I like to do outside of the gym. My training makes me better in the rest of my life. I can ride my motorcycle without getting a sore back, for example. I'm happier, and thus more fun to be around. :p There's a million reasons why I strive for consistency in my training. This was just the first time I really noticed the payoff. :)