My little running friend, Mr. Red Fox.
Funny how life is. There are days where you are thinking too much about something and then a little sign comes along to tell you that the path you are on is the one you are meant to be on. That is what happened to me today. I went out for a nice 10 mile run. Today I was told to take an easy pace. The sky is a beautiful blue here in North Carolina with sparse clouds floating around. Temperatures are cooler and there is a nice wind blowing. To say the least this is my kind of weather. Now if there were snow, then this would be a perfect day for my Canadian blood. After much discussion with my guru of all things running I decided to keep my watch on the distance display and not even take a peek at my pace, until the very end of the run. My spirit needed this, as my mind has been over thinking lately.
Most people would be excited to see faster paces in their daily journals, but I am scared. Lately, on average I run anywhere from a 8:30 to a 7:15 min/mile. The scary part in all of this is I feel good and do not even notice it. At first when I started increasing my pace I could feel it. My legs would be tired and my body felt exhausted. However, as I continue to work on it I am starting to not notice it. The other day I had a 6 mile run where my first 2 miles were to be easy and then I was to hold a short tempo pace for my next 3 miles, then another 1 mile at an easy pace. The easy miles I ran in the 8-8:10 range and then the 3 miles I ran in 23:11 (average 7:43), my last mile was an 8:06 (easy pace). At first I was excited, but then I started over thinking it. Could my body keep doing this? Why did I feel so good running that pace? Will I push too hard? I do not want to get injured. Why did I feel like I could have pushed harder? What am I afraid of?
Truth is I am afraid. I am afraid of injuring myself, but ever since I changed up my form I feel good. When I added the strength training on top of all of that I felt even better. My whole body feels stronger when I run. Doubts and fear can really be intimidating if you let them in. You see my love for running did not start on a high school track. I am not a trained runner. My journey with running started in my late teens as a way to cope with my experience and deal with the depression that followed. Running was taught to me as a form of therapy. It was a way to get out there and release all of the negative thoughts that ran through my head. For years after having children I stepped away from running and fell deeper into depression. It was dark and harsh. Then in early 2009 I came back to running and it embraced me with open arms. Yet, even after 4 years I still doubt myself. This became even more prevalent after my hamstring injury last spring.
So as the speed has become easier and a 7:30 pace feels great I can not help but be afraid. So today we decided since I was scheduled to do 10 miles at an easy pace, well I was going to do just that. I kept my watch so I could only view my distance, just as I was instructed to do. There was not one time that I looked at my pace. This made me run by feel. It was a wonderful run. I finished with an average 8:12 pace and it felt easy. In fact I felt like I could have pushed harder and wanted to run more. Along the way I also saw my little friend, Mr. Red Fox. He was my little sign for today, in fact he was my reminder. My favorite animals have always been foxes and wolves. When I went to nursing school in Thunder Bay, Ontario, CANADA we used to have little foxes that would hang out at times outside the main entrance of our dormitory. We would all feed them little bits of hot dogs, probably not the best idea. Thunder Bay is also a city enriched in the Native Indian culture. I used to enjoy attending pow wows and learning about their beliefs. One belief they have is that animals hold a lot of significance. I thought about that today as it was the first day that little fox had let me get very close to it. Most often it would run off as fast as it could into the woods. I was once told that the fox was the symbol of wisdom and were considered a messenger. Well, today I heard that little foxes message. He allowed me to get closer to him today. I have seen him many times out on my runs, but today I was able to take a picture. That little fox reminded me of my baby steps. I have been back to running for almost 4 years and I started out as a run/walker. My spirit is not the competitive type, except against that voice in my head. My goal since I started back to running was to take on Boston in honor of my father. I have had to fight against that voice in my head that said I could not do it. That little voice that told me "since you were never a track kid there is no way you can take on such a big goal". Baby steps!!
So I am going to embrace these faster paced runs that I am starting to see. I am going to accept that they feel easy and be proud of them. That voice in my head telling me "there is no way you can keep this pace up" when I look at my watch......well I am going to ignore it. For 4 years I have worked hard, and over the past year since my injury I have worked even harder, to get to this spot. These fears and doubts are going to be there, but I am going to tell them how wrong they are. I started out running 13-15 minute/miles and I have allowed myself to gradually get to where I am now. The voice in my head, my only competition, will have to be quiet for awhile. I will continue to listen to my body and let my legs run at their comfortable pace. Just as it took time to get closer to Mr. Red Fox and get a picture, it has taken time to build up my abilities as a runner. My word for this year is determination!! I am determined to achieve those goals I have set and worked hard for. Today was my reminder that I have to keep my fears and doubts at a distance. I have to believe in my body, my training, and myself.
So after my run today I did the one thing I enjoy doing when I feel the need to release some tension sitting on my shoulders. I put on my silly glasses and took a goofy self portrait. Not only did it give me a chuckle today, but it reminded me that I will always be a goofy goober. There is one thing I love to do when I am feeling tense or need to release thoughts..........do something original. So I leave you with a silly picture and one of the scenes from one of my favorite movies.
Post 10 miles and feeling the need to be silly.
This scene is awesome. It is now something I tell my kiddos to do when they need to release some tension.............be silly and be original (unique).
So how do you deal with those moments in running when you have fears or doubts? If you have increased your pace over time, how did you deal with the transition?