Today was Week 4 Run 1. I had an absolutely great week last week (week 3), so I was only mildly apprehensive about running for 5 continuous minutes in week 3. And yes, I did the math and realized I would be running almost twice as long as previous weeks too (16 minutes during the podcast, as opposed to 9 minutes). But what the heck? I surprised myself already when I found that running 3 minutes wasn't so hard. Why not 5 minutes?
Even so, just getting out of bed was the biggest challenge today. I was so anxious about life in general (non-running-related problems that make me cringe like a puppy under my blankets). I didn't want to face the world at all. My chest felt tight, my breathing ragged. My head swam. I just didn't want to be there... so it took me a good long while to get up and moving.
But wow, am I glad I did! My run was great. The sun was drying up the puddles left by a freakish snow storm two days ago. Young parents were out with their toddlers and small dogs. Neighbors were sitting on porches, listening to Reggae, stoned on the sunlight. We Canadians take our pleasant sunny days seriously. We don't get enough to squander them. They are precious jewels of Vitamin D and 10,000 Lumens.
My normal route just happens to be mostly flat right until the 5 min warmup is over. Then there is a big, scary hill. And then a more gentle incline with some small downward bits until I reach the midpoint, where I get to go mostly downhill the rest of the way. After bashing myself against that first hill in week 2, I started walking up it in extended-warmup-mode and then continuing the podcast from there. Now I am trying to gradually add a little more of that hill back into the run. Not wanting to overdo it on my first run of the week, I just started running maybe 20 meters earlier. No problem at all.
But surely the very best part was how great I felt. All the cares of the world seemed to melt away. I was listening to the music and the birds. Petting a friendly kitty (during the warmup). Feeling the soft breezes kissing my skin. I even did my stretching afterwards on our deck out in the sunlight. And now I don't feel half so bad about my day. If I get nothing else out of running, I am so grateful for the stress release that rewards me during and after each run.