I told Tom that I would like a different 6.2 mile route as I train for the Tufts 10K. During my morning meditation, I had to clear out the memories from last week's training run that I wrote about in "Finding My Second Wind".
I know the race is not until October, but I have a lot of lost training ground to cover from when I took a two year running hiatus. Tom asked me what kind of a course I wanted. I told him that I wanted to run the route from our house to twice around Jamaica Pond and home. I had no idea what he had mapped out for us.
We wound through the narrow back streets of Brookline to Jamaica Pond. It was a little testy navigating with cars but we did it. What a wonderful feeling to have the vista of Jamaica Pond spread before us.
Something happens to me when I run around Jamaica Pond. Perhaps it is feeling the energy of Bill Rodgers. Jamaica Pond is where he trained for Boston. I didn't know that when we trained for the 2009 Boston Marathon. Our trainer would take us to Jamaica Pond for speed work and hills. We would do our long runs around Jamaica Pond because it was one of the few places with a clear path during winter. We have many fond memories of our Jamaica Pond training runs like the day that Tom lost me on our training run.
From my memoir, "Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility":
And who could EVER forget us losing each other around - emphasize the word a-round Jamaica Pond. Tom had stopped at the car to fill up the water bottles and get some snacks. He had his iPod on really loud. I was in the zone and ran by him. I saw him looking for me in the opposite direction and yelled to him that I was over here. I felt so great and the weather was wonderful that I did not want to interrupt my rhythm. Finally, my daughter who had been going at her own pace came running up to me - where were you she asked? (well duh, we're going around in a circle) Dad is worried sick about you. He thought that since you had to go to the bathroom (and the bathrooms were not open yet) that you went off the trail and went to pee in the woods). We finally all caught up with one another and laughed so hard.
There is a beauty and majesty to Jamaica Pond. My soul settles when I am there and my body feels free.
Since we were out for a 6.2 mile run, I knew I had to pace myself. During our second time around, I told Tom that I was going to run up the hill just as we had done with my trainer. I felt a sense of exhilaration that I could rise to the challenge of running up the hill again.
The route home had a trail and steep hills. At first I told Tom that I never wanted to run this route again. It was so challenging.
And then there was a shift inside of me.
I thoroughly embraced the challenge. I experienced the expression, "I eat hills for breakfast." I loved feeling the different textures under my feet and I loved feeling nimble in my body as I navigated the uncertain terrain.
The terrain was uncertain yet I felt a confidence in my body.
A runner's high took on a whole new meaning for me. I paid close attention to my footing and to how I was feeling in my body.
Once back in the familiarity of our neighborhood where we would complete the 6.2 miles, I started running at a steady pace. I was amazed at how much I had left in the tank.
As I reflect on yesterday's training run, I realize that what fueled me was the feeling of rising to the challenge on a very difficult course.
Pushing myself and embracing the challenge holds me in good stead for whatever challenges may come my way in this journey we call life.