Fall returns and with it chillier nights, falling leaves, and for me, a return to distance running. This summer I completed four 5k's, and feel well on my way to my goal of minute off my time from 2008. The curse is still with me around Run Around the Square, I came down with a pretty nasty cold a few days before the race, again running it just to finish as I have in years past. I'm beginning to believe I should never plan to run RATS fast something in the universe is telling me to slow it down. Still, it was great to be out there with some many folks, and to have my own little cheering crew. Running a race by myself is not something I shy away from, but having people there running it and watching does make a difference.
One thing that the summer brought was the addition of dedicated speed work to my weekly routine -- one of my least favorite running related activities, but one of the most beneficial to improving my overall strength and performance. Each week my running buddy and I meet up at the track, and run all out for various (short) distances, jogging between each to recover. It is never easy but there is some satisfaction to be gleaned from completing each leg and not collapsing into an anaerobic heap. There's something subtly exciting about the feel of lactic acid building in the legs, pushing past the point of no return.
I feel like my life is in the midst of some pretty big transitions, even though it may not seem so on the surface. My old way of doing things is no longer working for me, what once was comfortable and easy no longer seems that way. I remind myself that what seems hard now can be the gateway to greater strength, that through challenge and struggle we can access a potential we could not begin to dream of previously.