Yesterday was stunning. Bright sunshine, temperature about 60, no wind. It was glorious. In one of those “Prolly shouldn’t a done that” moments, I went by a local running shop, Tryathletics, and talked with the owner about some running club stuff, etc. and then headed down to a new (to me) portal to one of the vast numbers of trails we have here in Columbia (yes, all you runners out there should be EXTREMELY jealous of the over 200 miles of well maintained trails in and around Columbia… yes… I said over 200 miles). My plan says I should have run 3 miles at a moderate pace. But once on the trail, it was so pretty and I felt so good that I just kept running (kinda like Forrest Gump). Now I only ended up doing a bit under 5 miles, but still. It’s good I wanted to do more, but that is an easy way to accidentally overtrain. I should be careful. I finished up at 40:16 or at just about an 8:50 pace.
Although I am always conscious of my pace, I treat it completely differently than I used to. And, since I am not a “competitive” runner, I take pace with a grain of salt. I monitor my pace mile by mile to help me run consistently, so that I am not running one 8 minute mile and then the next one is a 10 minute mile. I use it as a benchmark, setting my daily pace with my first mile and then trying to at least equal it for the rest of the miles I run. It is not important to me to “beat” my pace, but rather to “hit” it with each mile. If I have a little left in the tank I might pick it up in the last mile, but usually not much.
Warning: Personal philosophical hooey ahead. Please read with appropriate grain of salt attached.
For me, running is very personal. I don’t have a coach barking at me about arm position or stride. I can’t lie my way out of a time that is worse than the one I ran last week on this course. The watch doesn’t lie. I know when I have eaten right and when I have digressed. My body will also let me know if it is displeased with my selection of foods in a very… umm… “gut”teral way… Nothing says “Don’t eat those extra spicy wings” like a desperate search for a bathroom halfway through a 10 mile run… although my memory for some things is short, I learned quickly to analyze my diet far more carefully on run days…!
The only guages I have of whether I am succeeding are the watch (are my times coming down), my body (are my pants fitting looser) and my mileage (am I adding miles to my weekly total). And honestly, this is really all the measurement I need. I know that, if I keep running and eating right, the scale will eventually reflect that. I use it more as a guage of how much of a water deficiency I am in than anything else.
Today is supposed to be a 3 mile day but it is raining so we will see. I have neglected my stretching for about the last 4 days and my back is slightly stiff this morning. What a surprise. If nothing else, I need to lift and stretch tonight.