There is usually a point in distance running where you reach a pleasant plateau. The time when you have found your rhythm, your breathing is regulated, you are in the groove. Usually for me, this takes a good 3-4 miles. The first few miles on a long run are usually always tough for me. Thoughts flood my mind about what I have to do that day, how far I still have to run, how I wish I could get rid of that darn back fat that I’ve acquired from having two babies, etc. But after I crank up the music and start to relax and get in a rhythm, I am in a zone. My happy place. Then for several miles, I feel great, like I could run forever like Mr. Gump. This doesn’t happen every time, some runs are hard the entire time. Usually during a half marathon, I am in this zone from about mile 3 until close to mile 8 or 9. Then, the last few tend to be challenging…maybe because you know the end is near and reality sets in that you’ve run nearly 10 miles? Regardless, this is how I endure the long runs- the middle miles make it enjoyable.
I love these middle miles, they remind me why I love to run. During this time I can think clearly, I enjoy the time to myself doing something for myself, I pray, I think of my Dad, I think of all that God has blessed me with, and a lot of times I set new goals. Some of my best worship experiences have happened on long runs through the beauty of nature. This time has also been like therapy for me through the grief process. It’s good stuff. Good for me emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Because of this “me” time, I feel I am a better wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend. I seriously get cranky when I don’t run, just ask Ryan!
I hope you have something like this that you do just for you. Something that challenges you, pushes you, strengthens you, encourages you, calms you, relieves stress, gives you time to process and think. Whatever it might be, it obviously doesn’t have to be running. Although I always recommend it! I know as a mom, it’s hard to find any time for alone time. Trust me, I understand. But I think it’s truly important. So if you don’t do something like this already, I would encourage you to find those “middle miles” and set aside time to do it regularly!