Miles to go: 1579
Had a long week of travel at work so I took off early this afternoon and went to a favorite short run of mine to give it a go. I started under threat of a shower that never really manifested itself but did manage to blow a cool wind my way, which, under cover of the trees, was very pleasant.
I took off at a comfortable pace, expecting my ankle (something to do with my achilles) to hurt and the usual grumps to come back but, to my surprise, my various body parts seemed happy with the conditions. About 1/3 mile into the run I was passed by a younger (20ish?) girl who seemed to be cruising. I looked inside myself at this point and realized that I was too.
I wasn’t pushing myself.
I wasn’t breathing hard.
In short, I was kinda phoning it in.
In an instant, I picked up the pace. Dammit, I know my limits and I know when I am pushing it. The only way for me to get better/stronger/faster (think $6 million dollar man) is to test my limits. I picked up the pace to see if I could catch her. She was running about an 8:30 pace and I locked in on her heels after about a mile and stuck with her. It wasn’t about male vs. female or old vs. young, it was about effort vs. reward. I could feel my breathing getting heavy, but not labored. THIS was the right pace. She seemed irritated and picked up the pace. I wasn’t trying to piss her off and I really didn’t care if it was a girl, guy, bicycle, dog or shadow that I was running with. What I was chasing was inside.
After about another half mile I could hear her breathing getting labored as she struggled to maintain her pace. I’m sure she didn’t want to get passed by an old, fat guy. I totally understand. But I was tuned in at this point and didn’t care. I went around her and continued on. I got to my turn and headed back, surprised by my own splits (8:02). I looked up to see her walking, obviously winded, up the trail at me. We smiled weakly at each other as I passed.
Again, this WASN’T about “her”. It was about “me” and the realization that, whether it was because I was afraid to hurt myself or I had just gotten lazy/out of shape, I was only putting in minimal effort on my runs. I can’t really fault myself since running has been such a painful endeavor for the last 6 months, but I don’t want to fall into that habit. I’m going to mix it up a bit. Trail runs, group runs, track runs, etc. I think it might be time for me to start running “different” for a while. I need to mix it up and do different types of runs.
No matter what type of run I choose, I need to start challenging myself again. It’s obvious to me over the last week that I have more in me than I have been giving. It’s time…