Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Finding My Stride

Since Iron Man told me I was burnt out - and subsequently suggest I dial it back a bit and take at least 2 weeks off - I actually did just the opposite. I went for 2 runs last week. But they were different sorts of runs.

Last Wednesday afternoon was just lovely. Mid to high 60s, sunny, clear sky. I was going to go to the gym and then I thought I'd be foolish NOT to take advantage of the gorgeous weather and so I grabbed my snazzy new Garmin GPS watch and headed to the Rail Trail. I haven't run the Trail in ages - mainly because I was never sure of the distance and measuring various metrics is of the utmost importance to me. But with the Garmin on my wrist I knew it wouldn't be a problem.

I didn't really have a goal when I began my run other than that I wanted to enjoy myself. I wanted to enjoy the feel of the late afternoon sun on my face. I wanted to enjoy the feel of concrete and fallen leaves beneath my new Mizunos. I wanted to enjoy air that wasn't oppressively heavy with humidity. I wanted to enjoy the pretty, tree-lined scenery. I didn't want to think about pace. Or time. Or distance. I just wanted to run. And run I did.

I ran the Trail 3 times. Don't get me wrong - I checked my pace on occasion. And I was conscious of exactly how far I ran (5.3 miles go be exact). But for once I was able to quiet the ultra competitive voices in myhead and just go for a run and enjoy it. Which I did. Until I got home and discovered I was covered in 100s of tiny dead bug carcasses at which point I promptly freaked out. So yeah - it had been buggy and I had been aware of trying NOT to inhale a mouthful of gnats every time I opened my mouth to breathe but it wasn't until I got home and looked in the mirror and it looked like someone had poked me 100s of times with a black ball point pen that I realized I was a living, breathing, walking cemetery for 100s and 100s of gnats. It was GAH-ROSS.

Insect issues aside, I felt so good about Wednesday's run that I decided to give it another whirl on Sunday. And while I didn't want to make it about training, I decided I wanted to go for a long run for several reasons:

1) I NEVER get to go for long runs. Weekends are the only chance I ever have the time and this past weekend I actually had the time.

2) I've had some things on my mind recently and I felt like I really needed to clear my head. I figured what was a better head-clearing remedy than an hour-plus run outside tuning out to my utterly ridiculous mix of pop tunes, rap and cheesy ballads (hello Adam Lambert!).

3) Now that I have my fancy, schmancy Garmin I figured I wouldn't be tied to the Trail or the track and I could run "freestyle" but still track the distance. I know - for someone who wanted to "just have fun" that last bit seems ironic but seriously y'all - I have some OCD issues and knowing distance is kind of critical to my sanity.

I started out on the Trail. Ran it one way and then promptly headed out into downtown Smalltown USA. I ran down to the Park. Then backtracked. Picked up the Trail for a bit. Then veered off again and ran through the South side of downtown and ultimately looped my way back to the top of the Trail.

I started out on my second lap. Ran the Trail again one way. Turned around but then veered off when I could and ran through the West side of town all the way to the high school and to the track that I used to feel so chained to. I looped through another neighborhood and once again made my way back to the Trail.

Can I tell y'all something? The whole being able to run wherever felt SO FLIPPING GOOD. And you know what else? Smalltown USA is HILLY. OMG I was huffing and puffing up some of those bad boys.

My original goal - other than to just have fun - was to run for at least an hour. At some point I switched the goal and decided to go for 10 miles. And you know what? I totally did. It took a lot longer than I thought. I mean seriously - if you look at my time for the 15K I ran the other week (which according to my Garmin I actually ran 9.44 miles that day) and you compare it to the 10 miles I ran on Sunday? Well let's just say that apparently on Sunday I was sloth-like. Then again? I wasn't trying to race. Not another runner. And not myself. My goal was a steady, slow pace to get through an incredible distance on my 2 little legs. That was all. And I did. And it felt really, really good to finally find my stride again because you know what? It's been a while.


Shelly Overlook said...

Ain't nothing gonna break my stride, nobody gonna hold me down, oh no...

kyooty said...

Go you! :)