Sunday Miles: The Manipulative Mind

(written yesterday, posted today)

Today was my long run and I had 8 miles on the schedule. It was an interesting run, not hard per say, but not comfortable. I do my long runs on the weekend and generally use them as a way to reset my mind from the previous week, so I have a fresh mental slate as I venture into the next week. When I say reset, I mean I literally turn off my brain—almost like a meditative state. I know I must be thinking during that time, but I really just space out, daydream and come back without a memory of the run, but always calm, collected and happy.

Unfortunately, I’ve been making some self-destructive decisions as of late when it comes to my personal life. Today I let those decisions, and the accompanying thoughts, devour my 8 miles—you know those 8 miles that were meant to be meditative. The funny thing about running is that it’s a great way to escape, and yet, if unwanted thoughts work their way into that time it turns into a mental prison. The mind is amazing, and manipulative, isn’t it?

And so, because I was unable to space out, not only was I unable to block out my mental state, but I was also unable to block out my physical state. It wasn’t a hard run, but I was hyper aware of each uncomfortable muscle and that one toenail I feel might be on the verge of falling off. In my opinion, a successful runner doesn’t learn to stop the pain associated with the sport, but learns to ignore the pain associated with the sport. I failed at this task during my run today. Obviously (I hope), I only mean ignoring pain to a certain extent and runners should always be aware enough to catch an injury before it occurs.

My friend, whipping up delicious drinks, as I write this post at his restaurant bar

My friend, whipping up delicious drinks, as I write this post at his restaurant bar

Well, that was a lot of (probably unwanted) information about the more abstract aspect of my run. Let’s get down to the numbers. When I say I ran 8 miles, I actually ran 7.85 miles. I parked at my parents’ house and ran from there since they live nice and close to the beach. On my way back and only block or so away from their street, I saw a dear friend walking to the restaurant he bar manages at—of course I decided to stop, walk and chat. (I’m actually sitting at his bar now drinking a glass of wine and eating sweet pork tostadas as I write this.) I averaged a pace of 8:52 during the run and I’m pleased with this. Considering I was averaging a 10:00 or slower pace during my short 4 mile runs a few weeks ago, I’d say I’m on track to reach my desired pace by early March.

What is my desired pace you ask? Long runs, 8:30 pace, pace runs around 7:55 (?) and tempo runs around 7:30. I’m fully capable of this and was running at these paces before my “official” training started, but I was running a lot fewer miles and they were significantly less consistent.  I should probably note that there is no science behind these desired paces. Based on my past experience and running, they just feel like the numbers that will help me achieve my goals.

That’s all for now. Tuesday, I do my first Yasso 800’s session and am anxious as can be. I’ll report back then.

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