Spring! (in my step)

Alas! The weather has begun to recede it’s tempestuous hold on the Finger Lakes region of New York State, the sun has gotten up the gumption to show itself a bit more often, to shine more resplendently, and – best of all – to begin the process of warming this lovely earth up. To step out into this warmth – a whole 45 degrees as of late – you can feel it right down into your soul, into your bones, and not so much because it is physically warming you up, but because it is warming your mood, your demeanor, your outlook. Finally, relief. Your spirits lift, you smile, and everything begins to look upward. It is amazing what the sunshine and the great outdoors can do for your body, for your mind. I think it is absolutely refreshing and reviving, the changing of the seasons. I absolutely love it, and I absolutely would not change anything about the seasons here, or where I live. I cannot imagine not experiencing the changing of the seasons – especially winter to spring – experiencing the renewal and the lift of spirits! It is a blessing, this life. Don’t ever forget that. Open your mind and you’ll see, you’ll realize, how not-so-bad everything really is.

I have been able to take full advantage of the past few days that we have had with dry roads, warmer climes, and a little less snow. I have begun my final cycle of the base period, although much of it will be transitional – I am beginning to incorporate new exercises into my strength training routine, with a new focus now on power development, so that I can maximize the strength gains I have experienced, and I can now start to add some true speed and get faster.

Yesterday I bounded out the door – spring in my step! – for a 9-mile tempo-effort run. I call this tempo-effort because it is not yet a full-on tempo run. That comes in the next cycle. Right now, the focus is slowly increasing and sustaining speed over a given distance. Yesterday, I did just that. Perfect. Nailed it. Hung it on the wall. And boy, did that ever feel good. Yes, it started to get a bit uncomfortable those last couple of miles, when my lungs were starting to tell me to slow down…because it would be easier. But I knew full well that they could continue their gas exchange perfectly fine at the effort I was at, and as a result the rest of my body would comply as well. It just meant that my heart was going to beat a little faster and my breathing was going to get a little heavier. However, that’s just what I wanted – that drift – into the next physiological effort zone while my pace stayed the same. And then got faster. I carried on, with the feel of spring in my body, and a note of spring in my step. Nothing was going to get the best of me today! My strength was evident, my solid base of training shone through, and my body told me it recovered well on recovery week last week, and that it is ready for more. Excellent. Because next week is race week. And we are ready.

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