Track Work! Who Knew?

So as Facebook continues to haunt me about who I use to be, I steeled myself to try to do seven miles on Saturday. I had already given myself permission to do only six and a half, but seven was the goal. I continue to struggle with my neighborhood run. I think it is the hills, so I keep looking for flat ground. I am also transitioning from my phone to my watch. This is weird, because I feel attached to Runkeeper and my phone. I like to be available to my children, but my new phone is a beast. I hate carrying it when I run. Plus, now that I have figured out my watch, I can use it to pace myself, slow myself down and measure my distance. (Although my phone has this cool heart monitoring sensor on it.)

When I did six miles I felt moderately successful running Valley Green. Besides being a beautiful run, it is relatively flat. There is a slight decline heading towards the city, but on the way back it pretty much feels flat. So the first four miles were not only relatively easy, I felt happy and strong. The last two return miles were more difficult but doable. My original plan had been to just add a mile to that.

Copy success is one of the guidelines in the book Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard. But there is a funny thing about success, it seems to become an immediate legend in my head. And it is never repeatable in quite the same way. So, when I go back it is almost instantly more difficult. And I struggle. I continue to run the same neighborhood most of the time, and even if I change the route I have a pretty good sense of distance without even having to check my phone. I think this comes from all the neighborhood run math I do to make the run go by faster. How far is it from telephone pole to telephone pole. (Remember calling them telly poles?) How long are most driveways? (.01 by the way).  What about cross streets? You know what I mean. Two years of this and I have a pretty good map in my head. Anyway, the point is, I know where I am going to get tired and where I am going to struggle. At least, I think my brain expects to struggle during these times. So I think it becomes like self fulfilling prophecy. For instance, I always hate to run up this one street. It seems so incredibly steep to me. If you walked this street you wouldn’t feel that way, but it is actually a steady incline. I checked it out when I was biking. So now, whenever I run it, I expect to be tired. And I am.

Anyway, long story endless, I decided not to go back to Valley Green. After the last few weeks of feeling like no success I didn’t want to ruin the memory of a good run. I decided to go to the track. It is flat and it is soft. And it is close. But I knew that running twenty eight times around the track might just bore the hell out of me, so I used the same strategy I use on the treadmill. Speed drills. This may seem like a dumb strategy since I am going for distance, but I thought it would make the time go, and if I couldn’t do it, then I would just keep going. It was a way of chunking up a relentlessly boring run.  One way or another I was getting around that track twenty eight times even if I had to walk.

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So the plan was two miles at twelve minute miles and then alternate half mile at a ten minute mile and half a mile at an eleven or twelve minute mile for four miles and then one more mile at twelve. It was a great run. The weather was beautiful, I was even a little chilly starting out. And I wasn’t bored. I felt happy.  I managed to do my faster half miles around a nine and a half minute mile and my recovery halves around ten thirties.  I even threw in an extra speed lap around the track. Now I know for some people this isn’t fast, and it isn’t hard. But for me I literally threw my hands up in the air when I finished. Although as the day wore on I became seriously tired (and maybe a little cranky), at that moment I felt like a superstar!!!!

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