Maybe it was my reduction in caffeine. Maybe it was a balmy 54 degree temp. Perhaps it was even my new running duds, I’m not sure. All I know is that tonight’s 5 mile run that started as 3 and turned into 4 rather swiftly, ended up at 5 around the 2 mile mark. I love running over this particular stretch of road because it crosses two highways and it’s open and breezy and you can see the sun rise and set there. It’s like freedom and it’s my favorite route to run when I have time to more than 3, I was going to do 3 because I have stepped up my fitness routine quite a bit. I bike on the stationary bike, I lift weights to tone up, I run and pretty much try to do something every day. Because I’ve added in so much I kind of promised myself that I would not go crazy with running except on long runs because of two things. First I wouldn’t purposely do anything to jeopardize my ability to run. Running is life for me and I would rather run slower, longer and in less miles than suffer a stupidity injury. I promised I would keep it reasonable. Second I have a race coming up and definitely want to do as well as I can in it. Injury is not in my plan. Tonight I headed out because it was raining this morning and it was now warm and I had the time. As I headed out I felt pretty good, legs are a little tired in general because of all the extra but they weren’t screaming at me so I pressed on. At the 3/4 mile mark I decided I was going 4 miles which dictates another path and includes my favorite road previously mentioned. It was getting darker and I knew I would be able to see the sun set so it was decided. As I ran I was really enjoying the fresh air, setting sun and end of what seems like a long day. As I approached 2 miles I knew just a half mile more and I could do a 5 mile run. No excuses and no reason not to either. Legs still felt good and although it was approaching dark without a light I continued on. When I hit 3 miles I took this great picture because it is why I run this way. It was so pretty and it allowed me to catch my breath but just long enough to take the picture and put my phone back in my sleeve so not long at all. After that my run changed. I began thinking about my legs and how they felt. They felt strong, really strong like they would never let me down. I could feel a difference in how my muscles were working together to carry me home. I could tell they were improved and that I was running better because i have invested time in making myself stronger. It was amazing and it wouldn’t have happened if I had just run 3 miles. I am so happy I ran 5 miles! I feel like I have worked my way to a new level of fitness and capability. I feel like it’s time to step up my routine to get even stronger so that is what i’ll be working on in the coming months. Running is an amazing teacher / therapist that I owe everything I have struggled to become and everything that I have worked so hard to get rid of. I feel like I am that oncoming car in this picture and the top of the hill is where I take my next steps to somewhere that I am excited to explore. Bring it on…I’m ready!