Weekends are heavy in the training department. I had my long run and swim on the Saturday. Then Sunday, a long ride in the morning, and a short run later in the day. When a coach becomes a part of the budget, I think I'll ask about fitting the long run in during the week, but for now, I'm trying not to mess with my training plan too much.
Some weeks, that final run is a real challenge. After a 2.5 hour ride on the trainer, and a long run the day before, I had no idea how my legs would treat me. I made sure to fuel plenty during the day, which I think helped. (It's amazing how much food I eat on long ride days.)
When I got out for that run, I made a mental note that my legs were tired. Tired doesn't mean done though. I walked for a couple minutes like usual, and then I started to run. My training plan called for me to do 35 minutes total with 6 x 20 second strides (described as a relaxed sprint).
I was running without music. Some days I like the distraction of the music, but since I think it partially cuts off the connection between my head and body, I don't like to use it for every run. When I go without it, I'm far more aware of every nuance, every reaction my body has to the stimuli that surround me.
Despite the training I'd already done that day, my legs felt strong. I could feel each step connecting. I'm ultra aware of my calves because of the issues I've recently had on the bike, so it was my ankles and calves that I noticed the most. Sometimes, when I get tired, I really understand why I wear supportive shoes. If I let myself drag or shuffle, I can feel myself start to pronate. Not yesterday though. I wasn't even focusing on keeping strong, merely observing the fact that I was.
And so I ran. One of those perfect runs. The kind where my body does exactly what I ask of it. Easy? No. Effortless? Not a chance. But strong. I asked for one more effort from those legs, and they delivered.
I don't always appreciate my legs. They're bigger then I'd like, and sometimes kind of hairy. I've got some scars and years of obesity have left me with a network of stretch marks across my thighs.
But more importantly, they are strong. They take me where I need them to, and as long as I believe I can do something, they are there to deliver. These are the legs that carried me through a weekend of hard training. They're the legs that have carried me across the finish line of a dozen races, from my first 5K to half marathons, to an Olympic triathlon. They're the legs that are going to help me complete a half ironman in 3.5 months and make me an Ironman in two short years.
Perfect? No. But then, perfection is over rated. Strong? Absolutely. Don't ever underestimate the power in that word, or your belief of it.