Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Going from "Felt Like Crap" to "Kick Ass"

Two days ago, I ran a 20 miler that I describe immediately afterwards as "felt like crap".

Contrast that with today.  It was 48 degrees with no humidity when I left home rather than 63 with high humidity.  That alone made this a much more likely to be happy afterwards run.

I was given a plan that told me to begin with an 8 minute mile, then run faster by 15 seconds each mile through mile 7.  These progression runs are simple enough to do when I am running on a treadmill.  Effort--yes.  But ultimately can I do it--yes.

Running these outdoors has proven to be a real chore.

Two weeks ago, I had a long one that I didn't quite get.

Last week I had a long one that I did manage to get--although it started at 8:04 and went down to 6:44 rather than starting at 8:15 and going down to 6:30.

Then there was today.

Here is my run: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/597591115

I started by running across Lake and down Bellona.  Despite all efforts not to go too fast, I ran a 7:44 opening mile.  Given how I often meander up the hill from my house to Lake and then down and up Lake before crossing York, this was a surprisingly fast mile.  It felt great.  I had to slow it down to end at 7:44.

Continuing down Bellona and heading to Northern Parkway where I turned toward and eventually onto Charles and headed up Charles to Melrose, I ran the second mile in 7:36.  So far so good.  Still a little fast but a definite acceleration from mile 1 to mile 2.  And I chose to make a strategic choice to do some repetition today that kept the course flatter than in previous weeks.  That was good.  I could focus on the speed rather than worrying about the hills.

I continued across Melrose back to Bellona and this time turned north toward Stevenson.  Hit three miles before I hit Stevenson.  Ran past the pharmacy and Pinehurst beer, wine, and liquor and then past the Villa for retired nuns.  Third mile in 7:26.  Almost right on.  Still speeding up.

Then, I continued up to Stevenson, turned west back toward Charles, and ran down Charles.  Hit 4 just a little north of Gittings.  Time--7:14.  Right on!

Then, continued south to Northern Parkway again and headed back toward York Rd.  Thought I was going to be forced out onto the street at one point but was not as what used to be overgrown bushes just east of Bellona had been cut back at some point since the last time I checked (years ago).  Mile 5 hit before York Rd in a time of 7:00.  Could not ask for better.

Then, I continued across Northern.  Had to dodge some people getting off the number 36 bus and walking toward me taking up the entire sidewalk.  Continued along past the Buddhist temple, and hit 6 just before turning north on Chinquapin--6:46.

There had been slight hills up and slight hills down throughout. The last mile, leading home, was full of hills.  Up Chinqapinn.  Up Lake.  Up Northwood.  Across Cedarcroft.  Up Cedarcroft.  Then across Yorkshire, down Highwood, and back up to get my 7.0 in.  Final mile 6:44.

Performance overall: very close to spot on.  Might I have had it in me to run that last mile closer to 6:30 if the first two were more on appropriate times?  Maybe.  But then again maybe not.

The key is that it felt just right.  It felt in control

I had tried to get myself ready to go early enough so that I could drive to the Y and run on the treadmill.

In the end, as I finished, I looked up to the sky (where I envision God to be, although I realize that if God exists the supreme being is everywhere and not just mythically in the heavens) and said "thank you."  In the end, it was such a great day for running outside, that the overall experience had been wonderful and had been better than any treadmill based experience ever could have been.

So what began as a day on which I expected to have a well controlled indoor run, I ended up with one of the best outdoor runs ever.

Still, reflecting on Sunday, I completed 20 miles and 7 miles.  And whether I had run them at record fast or record slow pace, I would still have completed the same number of miles.  The reward is in how I perceive the experience.  My log says "27 miles added" regardless.  The reward is intrinsic while the extrinsic note is the same.  The intertwining of the lack of control that led me to do a worout differnet from what I'd planned with control that I felt on the run is an amazing combination.

And at present, on my virtual pilgrimage, I find myself on Farm to Market 694 just to the side of US 54 just outside Dalhart, TX.        

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