Today is the official first day of autumn – my favorite season. I welcomed in the changing of seasons with a run – 18 miles to be exact. Running in nature seemed appropriate so I went to the towpath to run. It also is much, much flatter than my neighborhood. The weather was perfect – after rain most of the night the clouds lingered it was in the mid to upper 50’s. It is so nice to run and the only traffic to deal with is made up of runners, hikers, and cyclists. The path winds along the Cuyahoga River and a canopy of trees covers the majority of the path. A beautiful display of nature showing its autumn colors emerging from the green.
As for my run, it went better than last week’s long run. The flatter terrain made a huge difference. I have not trained for a marathon in over a year and a half and I am noticing fatigue is setting in around mile 12. I have run several half marathons a year over the past three years, so I am used to the distance. With a little over two months to go, I am hoping I will acclimate more to the longer distances. It is also motivation to extend a few of my long runs throughout the year to the 15 – 18 mile range. My pace was better than last week too, by ten seconds a mile. Not having hills to climb certainly made a difference. I also took an electrolyte supplement every hour and a half. By the end of my run my legs were not nearly as sore as last week. Considering I ran three miles farther, was faster and not as sore as last week, I am quite happy.
During the run, by mile 15 I would have thoughts cross my mind of doubt. Despite all I have been through and achieved, still self doubt crops up. What is different now is I have the knowledge from experience to override those doubts. Just like bad habits – they don’t really go away, we just learn better habits to replace them with – doubts will most likely be there. Replacing doubts with thoughts of encouragement will get easier the more I accomplish challenging tasks. Just like my body will physically adjust to longer runs the more I do them, so too will my mind. Because after I finished today, no doubts remained and I reveled in the feeling of accomplishment. A wonderful way to enjoy this first day of autumn.