Sometimes opportunity and adversity come at the same time and more often than not, the precursor is a simple wrong turn. For my training, the wrong turn came last Saturday. I had left early in the morning, well before dawn, following a route along the W&OD and Custis trails, planning to follow a 20-25km loop. However, as I approached the Roosevelt bridge - intending to pass beneath it, I realized that my right veer at the fork was lifting me up higher and higher with improving views of the monument field across the river. I was no longer following my intended loop but now moving east across the Potomac River and down to the National Mall.
Because of my wrong turn, I had the opportunity to run all the way to the Capitol, past the Washington Memorial, across Memorial Bridge and past Arlington National Cemetery. And to reward me for taking the opportunity to withstand the adversity of additional distance, I saw the most brilliant sunrise I have ever logged. As I passed the Netherlands Carillon, stars and midnight blue painted a cloudless sky above while an easterly view of crimson and fire was only interrupted by dark shadows of Washington DC's treasured monuments. I couldn't have asked for a better reward and in the end as I arrived home, I had conquered half of me my ultimate 40-mile goal - over 20 miles of training toward progress.
After a week of swimming and cross training to ensure that I hadn't injured myself during the long run, I celebrated with a 13 miler this morning and what a celebration it was. According to my gps enabled trainer on endomondo.com, I set personal bests during the run for all categories - 12 minute Cooper test, 3 miles, 5k, 10k, 1 hour run, and half marathon. I am feeling that the months of training is really starting to pay off with strength, endurance and running form. Progress through opportunity and charged by adversity. What could be sweeter?