That post I wrote a few weeks ago about hating too much feedback? I still stand by those sentiments. But it doesn’t mean I don’t like a little bit of feedback every so often, especially when it’s positive. (You know when the feedback is negative I just want to delete it or stick my fingers in my ears and pretend it doesn’t exist. Yes, we’re still talking about running.)
In any case, the feedback was good today (…and since I’m trying to post more than once a month, I’m going to share).
This afternoon, I wanted to get in one more go-round of my favorite 9-mile loop before moving on to new running turf in a few days, and I wanted it to be at some sort of tempo effort. Since an even-paced tempo sounded too ambitious and I sometimes have to trick myself into speedwork, I alternated between 12 minutes of “press” with 3 minutes “cruise” (not redlining the hard part, but not phoning it in on the easy segment) and repeated this until the loop was finished. What a win; I felt like a puppy tearing through fields of daisies on my way to harass an enormous flock of migratory birds. Pure jubilance. I was just… rolling. Never laboring. I came through the just-under-halfway point in 29:30 and knew that I could close the workout down in under an hour.
Usually, I get a little bit anxious at the end of races or distance-based runs. I’ll disconnect from what I’m doing and get caught up in the finishing time. On top of this, I’ve noticed that I’ll back off the throttle if I’m already confident that I’ve got it in the bag, which is not, I suspect, a toughness-forming habit.
Anyway, today, I just wanted to stay in stride and stay focused. I wanted to avoid spending the last fourth of the run in a state of unease about the time outcome. Sometimes outcome pressure is a helpful thing, but I’m realizing more and more that it often isn’t productive for me because it means I’m overthinking useless crap and not staying fully engaged in what I’m doing that moment. I need to worry about the “after”… after. Not during. (The degree to which this running stuff parallels other areas in life is delightful, really.)
The loop finishes on a formidable ~350 meter hill that always makes me feel like I will perish instantly, even when I’m running at an easy pace. I knew I was going to get my sub-60 minutes, so I had a mild fight with myself over whether to back off going up the hill. The angel on my shoulder won when I remembered that this hill taxes my system even if I’m walking it — it’s always going to hurt, so I might as well keep my effort up and get it over with. Accordingly, I went kind of hard — not breaking any effort records, but hard enough — which is an improvement over my typical quittiness on this segment of the route.
I finished my nine miles in 58:53 for an average of 6:32.5 pace. It makes me get to wondering… if I can do nine at this pace in a tempo workout today, could I do a half-marathon at this pace in a race? And if I could do a half-marathon at this pace in a race, could I be ready in a few months to do a marathon in… well, I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
No workout is a crystal ball, but the confidence boost sure is nice.