My breathing drums a comforting steady pattern in my ears as I step one two, one two to the up tempo beat of Nicky Minaj's Starships. I'm about three kilometers into a run that I've already chosen to make as my longest run yet, and I've fallen into a nice relaxed rhythm.
Weaving in and out of streets, passing cookie cutter houses and patchworked gardens full of artificial lawn, I remain focused on the distance ahead but still alert as I cross streets and duck around fellow pedestrians. A flick of a smile when our eyes meet fleetingly. A yellow labrador looks at me curiously then begins to run along by my side, a silent companion until he loses interest and scoots off down another path following the invisible scent of something inherently more interesting than myself.
My hair swings back and forth in it's regulation ponytail as I mentally map out my next turn. It's one foot in front of the other, arms swinging loosely and repeating my mantra at regular intervals.. I choose to run 11km. I choose to make this my longest run yet. I am strong enough. I can do this.
A flash of pink catches my eye, and I idly wonder about the strength of the Powerband the lovely Miss Danimezza sent me, and ponder as to whether it's actually helping me in any way, shape or form. Physically I believe not, but if it's helping me mentally, a placebo of sorts, that can't be a bad thing can it?
Around the eight kilometre mark I start to feel a slight protest in the knees, and a tightening in my stomach muscles. I concentrate on keeping my breathing pattern steady, and my mind flashes back to the very first run I attempted. Day One, Week One of the Couch to 5km program where I shuffled through, out of breath and full of fear at the end of a one minute run interval. How I needed to dig in, grit my teeth and repeat a few of the tough weeks simply so they didn't beat me.
After breaking that magical ten kilometre mark last week, I feel something inside me has changed. That the glass ceiling has been smashed, and I'm free to run just as far, and as long as I want. I turn the corner towards home, and press the button on the Nike+ to check for far today's effort has got me..
The possibility of a half marathon in the future starts to flicker around the corner of my mind, an idea wouldn't have possibly entertained even a month ago. I notice that my stamina has improved ten fold as I flop down on the lounge floor and start cool down stretches, excitedly telling Mr Hummingbird the little details of my run. No more gasping for breath, stitches or shuffling at the end.
Red faced, sweaty, wearing my Lorna Jane inspiration singlet and showing off my magical powerband. Does it really help? Who knows? All I know at this time is that I'm on top of the world, life is good and next week 12km you better watch out. You're mine.