I wasn't sure I'd ever be able to write this post, and I'm afraid to even put it in writing now, out of fear that I might curse myself (not that I'm superstitious, of course). But for the past few weeks now, I've been running without shin splints. I can't say there's absolutely no tenderness when I run--rather, after I run--but the crippling pain I once felt during each run that kept me from pushing harder no longer occurs. And with the absence of that pain comes the absence of fear. And fear, I've learned, is a powerful thing--more powerful than any other human emotion I've known. To now run without it is a beautiful experience.
Earlier this week, I was able to do a 5-mile training run at a 9:10 pace. This wasn't something I set out to do, but it was something I just felt like doing in the moment. For me, that is a great pace to maintain for 5 miles. I was so elated afterward at how good I felt and with my newfound freedom to push when I wanted to. This is the feeling I've been seeking in running since I began. But I must give props to all of the strength-training I've been doing, as well. My twice-per-week gym sessions and once-per-week (killer!) CrossBoot class have all contributed to stronger muscles and better overall conditioning. To think that I avoided strength-training for so long somewhat repulses me, but that's the the way I do things. I take my time.
I'm feeling really great going into the last few weeks of training before the Gasparilla half. I believe things will only get better from here, and I look forward to a stellar race performance.