The last mile of my run is always the fastest. Like clockwork, I get my second wind after making it up the winding hill. The final stretch is fairly flat, perfect for pushing harder if you have enough energy to weave around the stroller blockades. This is my favorite part – sometimes the highlight of my day – because by this point I feel like I could run forever. I arrive back at my front door with a surplus of energy.
It’s past time to start adding more distance to each run, but my efforts to wake up earlier to carve out more time for these extra extra miles have so far met powerful resistance. By me. Which is to say that sleepy me hates runner me, and the feeling is mutual.
I could run faster to burn off the energy, but my goal is to build endurance not speed. Besides, I learned this morning that running too fast gives me a serious case of rubber legs the next day. Yesterday I was running the speedier final stretch when I heard my running buddy catching up. At any other point I’d slow down, but we like to race this final bit, so I sped up. Challenge issued; gauntlet thrown down. Then he sped up. We were close enough to the end so I broke into a sprint and was surprised to still hear him just a few feet back. In my mind we were about to come in at a tie, but then he kept going past our usual finish line and street exit. I was confused and too wobbly to pursue.
You don’t get to change the finish line when you’re racing. That’s an unspoken fact of life. Unless of course you’re not racing. As it turned out my running buddy was way back taking his time, enjoying the scene. The fellow I refused to let pass me was a fast runner trying to get around me. (Sorry!) I’m really glad I didn’t have the energy to pursue him. However true, “Hey, you’re not my boyfriend” would be an awkward thing to say to a stranger after chasing him down.
But back to me. Have you ever woken up with rubber legs? At first it kind of feels like an evil magician snuck into the bedroom and sawed you in half while you slept – only you still look whole. The bottom half is weak and unsteady and not easy to coax out of bed. Sleepy me isn’t fond of rubber legs.
Increasing my mileage is going to take some tough love. At first I thought I’d have to change all the times on our clocks to trick myself into earlier rising, but the threat of rubber legs combined with an annoying new phone alarm may be enough to squash the resistance. Wish me luck!