I have trained for twelve half marathons.
I have run ten of them.
The eleventh was supposed to be the Chili Half Marathon in February but I decided that it was more important to attend a family event than race so I skipped out a few days before despite having done all the training.
The twelfth is the race I'm training for right now.
I have trained for twelve half marathons and no two trainings were alike.
Sometimes the training was tough. So tough that I lived for the easy weeks. I thanked the running gods when it was finally time to taper and I spent a small fortune on massage therapy in order to make it to the start line in good enough condition to cross the finish line.
Sometimes the training was alright. I made it through with few physical complaints but, again, I was glad for the easy weeks and grateful when it came time to taper.
Something is different this time.
I don't want to taper. I don't want to ease up. I don't want to run less this week than I did last week.
I want to run more.
I signed up for this race mostly because I wanted to run it but also because I knew that April through June were going to be crazy. Crazy with a diabetes presentation, with planning family events, showers, bachelorettes, weddings, birthdays, Mother's Day and Father's Day.
When life feels out of control, I always resort to physical activity as a way of keeping myself grounded and I sign up for races as a way of forcing myself to fit in exercise when my schedule seems to be conspiring against it.
So I signed up for this race to make sure that I didn't get lost in the craziness and that I made time to run, to rest, to eat well and to take care of myself. I didn't expect to do anything other than try to squeeze the runs in and to survive the training.
Instead, I'm loving it.
The early morning weekday runs are my favourite. Most mornings I set out to run 7k and end up running 8 or 9. It's peaceful and quiet, the mornings have been crisp and cool and the birds help me welcome the sun.
I have never ever added distance to my runs before. Ever. I usually ran the distance I was supposed to run and then gratefully stopped at the end. An extra 500m would have seemed ridiculous. Not this time.
My long-distance weekend runs have also gone well and, for the first time ever, I don't want to drop down to 18k this weekend. I want to run 22k again. Or even 24.
Maybe the stars have just aligned. Maybe I'm doing everything right. Maybe my body is working extra well right now and is loving all the activity instead of falling apart from it.
Or maybe I'm a little too stressed in several areas of my life and I need to spend a few extra minutes running because it makes all the other voices in my head quiet down for a while. All the problems seem to be solved more easily on runs. All the financial stressors seem more manageable. All the delicate juggling of family responsibilities seems easier to keep in the air.
It's good for the body.
Sometimes it's good for the mind too.