Sometimes it's the simplest little things that make you realize all the hard work is totally worth it.
I've always liked how running helps me clear my head, and I like long runs even more since it's even more time for all the weird thoughts running through my head to sort themselves out. Green Lakes was quiet, peaceful and as always, beautiful at 8 am this morning. Even with the 70+ other runners, it was the perfect mix of supportive nods, smiles, good mornings and solitary running time.
At one point, running all alone on a stretch of road completely surrounded by trees, I saw a deer standing in the road about 20 yards ahead of me. It just looked up, stared me down, then calmly turned and walked into the woods. At other times there were beautiful views of the hills around Syracuse, leaves just starting to turn. I can only imagine how beautiful it will be 2 weeks from now when we hit the park again. I'm going to be sure to bring my camera.
But the one thought that made its way into my head and stuck there today, was how good I felt on this run. It occurred to me that this is what Kevin's running program is all about. Sure, the seemingly endless lists of people PRing are wonderful, and I'll fully admit to feeling my share of pride every time I crack another one or hear of someone else smashing one of theirs. But the way I felt this morning? Like I could run forever? This is why you put in your time day in and day out, week after week. When your base is big enough, strong enough that you feel really, really good out on a long run. It totally makes the hard work worth it. No crowd cheering at the finish line necessary.
Even when the elevation profile of said run looks like this: