Every so often, but not by any schedule, I suddenly have that run you know the one I mean? Like the perfect storm when every thing falls into place. Regardless of the weather or the terrain, you feel absolutely comfortable......
Not too hot, not too cold, but the perfect temp. You are running hard and can hear your own breathing but are somehow outside the realm of consciousness. Almost floating in a way as you are in a special place, a zone that separates your thoughts from your task.
Everything is right and your brain expands all your senses to be at maximum capability. The air smells fresh and perfect, absolutely full of clean oxygen, the sun tickles your face as it peeks around the trees in a flickering fashion.
Every turn in the trail seems to allow you to run even faster and harder as you negotiate the terrain. The hills seem non-existent and you swear you are running on a soft blanket of air.
You are breathing very hard but you have enough breath, there is no deficit, somehow you can generate plenty of energy and oxygen. You wish at this very moment that you could continue forever and think for sure you could if you didn't stop.
That experience has only happened to me a few times in the 7 years I have been running but I can remember the feeling well. As I sit here and vision the wonderful event in my head, I wonder when it will happen again. I hope it is soon as I not only long for that day but wish I knew the secret to make it happen more often.
It should happen more often as I am not as serious as I used to be (of course my current speed shows evidence of that) I try now to enjoy more of my runs and go out for the fun of it rather than having every run a speed training run. The trails have taught me that.
I know there is a toggle switch somewhere in my head that has the distinguished capability to put me in that zone. I do know that learning how to let myself run slower has brought me much closer to it, yet the payback is loss of speed in shorter races like 5ks and 10ks.
Training for the 50K has allowed me to slow down and take more time to enjoy my surroundings. If I gain nothing else than that, I have still gained a lot. I know it will be the toughest run since I started and I know that there is a possibility that I might not finish well or even finish at all.
My goal is to start the race with the intent to squeeze as much enjoy as I can out of every step.....if I can do that, whether it is to step across the finish or only manage a few steps, I will be able to say I enjoyed the experience.
My training has fluctuated immensely and I have many unanswered questions. I do not fully understand my desires which in turn brings a cloudiness around me. I find myself wondering often if I am doing the right things or if my body is up to the task.
A good example is my run the other day. I took a week off from running as I had surgery. I ran a relatively hard outing Tuesday night but not out of the ordinary for the last few months. Wednesday I was lame as hell....didn't make sense, I only ran 7.5 miles at a moderately hard pace, I should have felt fine the next day as I am training for much longer distances.
Anyway, instead of running my planned 7-8 mile run last night, I ran a very easy 2 miles with my wife (which was quite enjoyable and another step forward for her) I could feel the tightness in my left calf (even at the slow pace) and reassured myself that it was the right thing to do. I think running the 8 miler at a moderate pace might have been a step backward for me.
I am either getting much smarter at reading my body or becoming much lazier. Either way I had no trouble convincing myself to stop after the two easy miles and have a relaxing evening. I was fine with that decision .....that is until this morning....now I am regretting it and kicking myself for not running longer.
Last nights run:
2 miles @24:40..... 12:20 pace (10:30 pace running)