When I was a kid, I liked to make stuff up a lot.
Who doesn't, you know?
When I was 4 or 5, I had a "pet squirrel" in my backyard that I named Drippy. My mom didn't really have the heart to tell me it wasn't the same squirrel out there every day. I'd just talk to him in like we were best buds.
I had, and still like to think I have, a "dessert compartment" in my stomach. Like, when I was all full of lima beans and meatloaf and stuff, I would conveniently be able to "find" room in my compartment for ice cream. "But you're so FULL!" my dad would say.
Oh no I'm not...I have the dessert compartment.
These are my Windy Glasses.
Windy Glasses, of course, are meant to keep your eyes warm. That is so that you can stay outside in the snow and rain and general mess longer. This way, you can make snow angels and jump in puddles and "you're just fine see because your eyes are warm."
So now I think I have my Strong Shoes.
These shoes are looking a little ratty, but you need to trust me here.
They have special powers.
See, these shoes have been on my feet since the end of June. They've seen rain and heat and cold and mud. They carried me on my hilly training runs at the Hinckley Hills. They were with me when I ran on campus in Wisconsin in July. They were with me when I finished my second half-ironman in New York. They were on my feet for 26.2 miles at the end of Ironman Wisconsin, and now when I put them on THINGS just HAPPEN.
I put them on, and I remember what I've done in these shoes.
And for some reason, I just get excited. I might feel tired...maybe I had a long day at work...and I come home and put on my shoes and I'm STRONGER. And it's go time, baby.
Tuesday, for the first time in a long time, they took me to a group run. I was a little worried that I might be tired and slow and not able to even keep up with my friends, but I put the shoes on and thought, "Nope. I'm gonna be just fine."
And I was. 6.5 miles later and lots of smiles with my friends, and I felt like myself again. I enjoyed the sunset over Lake Erie and the crisp air, and saw the leaves turning even more red this week as the stars started to peek out in the dark blue sky.
Stronger. That's how I felt.
That's how I feel.
I felt it on Thursday, when I nervously set out to try my first tempo run since IM MOO. I thought I'd just try two miles and hope to hit my tempo pace, and see how it goes...and when I checked my splits I was exactly 11 seconds faster than my tempo pace on BOTH miles.
I felt it today, when I set out to run along the road that follows Lake Erie, and felt warmth of the "Indian Summer" day on my skin, and noticed the leaves changing even more. Maybe it was because I ran into friends. Maybe it was because I've gotten to see my friends and family more in the past 4 weeks. Maybe it's because I'm still riding a high from the finish a teensy bit.
(Or maybe it's the shoes.)
For whatever reason, I finished my run and felt so strong...and looked down to see the fastest pace for 5 miles that I've done in a long time.
Those Windy Glasses let me stay outside a little bit longer. That dessert compartment got me a little more ice cream.
My Strong Shoes aren't new and shiny, but they have taken me some pretty amazing places.
And I know they have a few more miles left in 'em.