The training calendar just says “run and strength training” on Mondays. Every Monday for as long as I can remember it’s said that. Outside of my long runs, Monday is my favorite training day. I ran my fastest single mile on a Monday, my fastest training run 10K on a Monday, my first run after my second daughter was born was on a Monday. Monday is my day.
For so many recent Mondays I’ve run indoors on the track, round and round in an endless circle pounding knees and turning circles watching the steam build up on the floor to ceiling windows that seemed to mock me as I turned each lap. Physically comfortable in the 68 degree weather wearing my shorts and tank top I would watch the snow fall and swirl in the parking lot lights through the pane, just inches from my face in the dark. I wanted to be outside. Cold or not, I wanted to feel the wind blasting my face, nipping at my heels and clawing at my back as I run. I’m not meant to run inside. So much snow and ice made even running in spikes impossible near my house especially in the dark so patiently I waited logging miles inside. I watched the snow fall and pile up and the temperatures drop 10 degrees, 5 degrees, – 15. Crossing off the Monday runs on the calendar until today. Until this Monday.
The sun is sinking low in the sky as I step outside and stretch my arms above my head. The last two days there has been a break in the snow, the ice, the frigid weather. The snow is melting rapidly and scores of minature streams of the froth flood down my street forming muddy puddles at the bottom of my block. The gravel exposed in messy clumps along the sidewalk. I inhale. I can taste the clear air and I close my eyes for a moment. Taking several long minutes to stretch, I feel every muscle loosen, relent and surrender to the stretch. When I feel warm and loose I check my watch, just once. Almost out of habit. I’m not pacing today’s run. I know I’ll be fast, I can feel it. My muscles tingle filling with blood, my heart begins to beat faster, faster, the corners of my mouth twitching slowly into a smile. I have been waiting for this Monday.
Taking off down my driveway, I make the familiar loop around and down the street passing the houses, climbing hills and through my familiar five mile loop. It goes so fast today, my muscles are strong and they feel like armor today. My feet seem so light and the ground seems to bounce back encouraging my steps welcoming me back. I end on “the hill” a monster that stretches behind my house, and I run it… 7 times… the final descent I have the wind at my back. The sun is almost setting, when I roll up my driveway out of breath. It’s perfect. Monday.