My daughter Ruthie woke up at 2:15 this morning, rousing both Dan and me from a deep sleep. After he got her settled--it wasn't even five minutes--I couldn't go back to sleep for an hour, and when I did, I had disturbing dreams involving me turning into Witch Mommy Who Locks Children Into Their Rooms for interrupting her nap and me getting into fights with other women over treadmills crammed into impossibly small gym locker rooms.
You can imagine that when the alarm went off at 5:15 I wasn't happy about it. But I haven't missed a single run in this training cycle. So I heaved myself out of our seriously comfortable new bed and assessed the bags under my eyes in the bathroom mirror while my Nuun tablet dissolved.
"Well, Terzah," I thought. "Remember that DLF is greater than DNF is greater than DNS."
This sentiment--which stands for Dead Last Finish is greater than Did Not Finish is greater than Did Not Start--was quoted by a fellow reader of the Run Like a Mother blog. She said she saw it on a T-shirt. And after my rough night, it was just the thing to get me out the door. Yes, I was supposed to do 5 miles at a mid-range tempo pace (8:24/mile), but I decided I would just run, keep it going for five miles and if I felt slow or ill (in other words, the training run equivalent of dead last), well, at least I got out there.
Those of you who have been running for a while will probably guess what happened. I ended up feeling great on this run. It started as soon as I stepped into the cool morning breeze. By then it was 5:41, and the late winter sun was already turning the eastern sky a deep shade of gold. The Flatirons, striated with snow, hulked to the west. This was to be my first tempo run outside in several weeks.
The first mile I still felt slightly creaky and slightly sleepy, but it dissipated quickly. At mile two, it was light enough that I felt comfortable turning on my iPod. As soon as I found the tempo of the first song ("Fadeaway" by the BoDeans) I knew I was going to enjoy this and run it reasonably fast. And by the end, I was sorry it was only five miles and not six. Waking children and work (I have a night shift on Thursdays and it's always a long day) no longer seemed stressful.
Unless the weather gets seriously awful again, I plan to do my tempo runs outside from here on out. My head needs the fresh air. My legs need to get used to road running again (the backroads and the treadmill are both lower impact than that canyon in Utah is going to be).
A few days ago, with the weather about to turn nice again, a runner I follow on Twitter mentioned a beautiful run he had that morning around Davidson Mesa: "Boulder runners, get back outside!" he exhorted.
Yes, yes. It's time.