Today I ran 4.5 miles. It was a shock both mentally and physically. I haven't run more than three miles in more than four years. But today, despite how much I wanted to stay in bed and sleep off my Christmas party wine, I was determined to run the last race of the year put on by the Rocky Mountain Road Runners club that we are in.
Mile one was great: on pace and heart rate low. At mile two, my left knee started to ache. At about two-and-a-half, my left hip was aching. At mile three, I thought I might cry and I began to question my sanity in attempting this run. Then just as I was ready to slow to a walk, there it was in my ear buds: "Dancing Queen" (yes, I have this on my phone and no, I'm not embarrassed to admit it, even though I probably should be). I am not young and sweet and only 17 any more, but guess what? I didn't have a chance in hell of running 4.5 miles when I was 17. I could barely run a mile then. Today, I can.
I listened to the song twice and I pushed things into high gear. My heart rate spiked above 180 for the remaining mile and a half of my run, my other knee even began to ache a bit. But my heart felt good and my mind cheered me on.
My body will surely hurt tomorrow morning--hell I may barely be able to walk!--but my pride is strong today. Sometimes when you're running on empty, it's your heart that keeps you going. Sometimes it's pride that has something to prove. Sometimes it's a song that reminds you of who you once were and who you still can be.