Davidson Mesa rematch. Today was all about learning how my brain works. I went in to this run with almost zero expectations. I was tired from moving but not feeling bad. I warmed up 3 miles and pushed a bit towards the end. Then: 4 X a 3 mile loop. At altitude (~5500ft) on loose gravel. Same course with the 1.5 mile uphill. I ran this completely by feel and only recalled the splits after the run. My thoughts during all of this were focused on simply staying very much within myself and NEVER pushing. This entire run with the exception of the last 3 miles.... was simple jogging.
3 miles- 17:01 (5:40 pace)
3 miles- 17:00 (5:40 pace)
3 miles- 16:51 (5:37 pace)
3 miles- 16:15 (5:25 pace). This would have been a 16:45 5k with a very relaxed effort.
12 miles in 1:07:12. As I said, this was a very easy run for me in less than ideal conditions. A simple 6:00 mile (+.1) at the end would have given me a ~1:13:45 half marathon with out pushing. The idea of this run bolsters my confidence for my future as a runner. There has been a huge shift from my thinking of running as a numbers game and thinking of running as a simple perception game. Running doesn't need to be chess... it's not that complicated. Running actually is checkers! My problems with running have been based on preconceived ideas of what certain paces should feel like. If you threw a party and secretly bought a non-alcoholic keg of beer, how many people would still get drunk? Anorexics think they're fat.. the power of perception is profound.
I've taught myself to FEEL based on my pace which was measured by my watch or HR monitor. Your perception should not be dictated by a number but by what you are feeling. I've also found that running with out music has helped me a ton in terms of listening to my body. Music has always been a distraction from the task at hand and I can tune in far better with out it. It feels good to learn and change. Reading back just one month I was a completely different athlete... until some guy named Uli left a comment and started my mental ball rolling. Thanks for questioning me Uli!