28 August 2009

Need more cowbell

Everyone has different types of motivation. Some use music. Some have goals. Some just do.

Last night I went for a 6 mile run. I've been struggling lately to keep my head focused while I run, so when I headed out I was a little nervous.

I started out in my fast shoes, nice and easy. It was warm out which I didn't like, but not so hot that I couldn't function. I eased into it all and ended with a nice 10:08 first mile.

"That's great," I thought to myself and looked ahead to the bridge and kept going. I started to feel a little freer and thought that maybe I could have a good run with a lot of 10 minute miles.

But when I hit the half mile marker and I was under 5 minutes, I started to freak (in a good way). Holy crap, I thought, I could have a sub-10 mile! So I kept pushing myself.

I didn't focus completely on my time because when I do that I tend to stumble and trip a lot. So I just focused on my marathon coming up. The bike trails where I run are similar to the route at TC - lots of trees, the river along the side, and a nice path. At one point, I was imagining running the marathon and when I looked up to a bridge I could have sworn I saw people along the side of the path cheering me on. Until I realized exactly what it was (a couple seconds later) I felt myself surge with energy and pick up my pace just a bit more.

So I switched my tactic slightly. Instead of just focusing on my time and hoping I wouldn't trip, I thought about the marathon and my future run. I imagined around every corner MS and Debbie standing, ringing the cowbell and cheering me on. I could actually hear the cowbell, I was that entranced in my focus.

It helped, it really helped a lot. My 2nd mile was 9:51, the third 9:41. I walked for 45 seconds before starting mile 4 just to refocus my head and finished that one in 10:21. The next couple miles I really had to focus on MS and Debbie...not just around the corners but even along the long stretches of path, yelling my name and jumping up and down to encourage me. Mile 5 was 10:03 (back on track) and then Mile 6 was 10:40 - I walked a bit more here. I think my body was starting to feel the effects of faster running. I'm not used to that.

But it was liberating to realize that, yes, I can run faster than I thought I could. And yes, I'm not sore the next.

So tonight I'm hoping to run 9, or at least 6 again, and see if I can duplicate the efforts. Maybe, just maybe, I will have found a great way to focus when I run so I can keep these paces up. TC is coming up in 5 weeks and I really, really want to finish around 5 or 5:30.

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