The End is Near - Couch to 5K Week 9, Day 2

My next run is graduation–the final run in the C25K program. Saturday will mark the end of one of the most life-changing experiences I've ever had.

But that's Saturday. Today is Thursday.

Week 9 started out tough due to some travel issues. It was certainly not the run I'd hoped for on my first 30 minute stint. A trip to Los Angeles also means I had to take 3 days off before Day 2, and I was really worried about what that would do to my conditioning.

It was a needless worry. From the first step of this run everything felt right. For the first three minutes I had a burn in my thighs, but it was the good burn. It's the feeling you get when your body says, "OK, I can do this. Just let me warm up."

After the first three minutes gravity left me, and I felt like I was floating above the sidewalk. Time lost it's meaning. I knew I was hitting a good pace, but it was easy. When I would feel a natural drop in my pace for a hill or minor fatigue, I would go faster. Easily.

Several times I laughed out loud at the sheer joy of movement.

The halfway point came far after I expected it. For my last 5 minutes I pushed the pace up quite a bit while running mainly uphill. For my last minute, I moved into an all out sprint that left me shaking when I hit the cool down walk. I loved every second.

On Week 9, Day 1 I hit 2.8 miles. Tonight I did 3.2 in the same amount of time. I burned 555 calories.

The pace, the distance, the calories don't mean anything. The feeling, or rather not-feeling of my feet on the ground and the wind in my hair is why I keep doing this. I am an addict. I am an athlete.

I am a runner.

And I will never be the same again.