What if I didn’t…

Posted: 06/13/2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

So the running doldrums have been passing slowly. I stubborned-through some more treadmill time to keep the legs moving and work on focus, then last Tuesday (the 5th) I headed off to running group as usual, talking to myself in the car about what my intention was for the run and half-expecting it to be hard. Another run to stubborn-through. And then it hit me…

What if I didn’t put that on myself before I started running?

*That* thought – that the run would be hard. What if I just didn’t go there? What if I just went to group, and started out slow, and decided to have a good run in whatever form that took? Not worry about what my pack is doing, or what my Garmin is saying, or if I feel tired before I even start. What if I just relax and go? Slow down if I need to. Walk if I really need to. But basically just enjoy the run and see what happens.

I set my Garmin to 3:1 intervals as a safety net in case I started to crash in the heat, but put it on backwards so I couldn’t read the times or worry about pace. I decided to run continuously until I felt the need to do otherwise, then I put myself in the back of the pack and set out slow. And honestly – it was FABULOUS! I just let the run go before I even started so I wasn’t putting any pressure on myself. When I got frustrated at the pace of the people in front of me, I knew it was time to pass & speed up. This made for a nice progressive warm-up. My Garmin beeping off the intervals was comforting somehow – even though I was ignoring it and running continuously. (It was a really nice cue as to when people in front of me were going to drop to a walk, so I could move left when they moved right and not run straight up their asses.) A co-worker of mine was keeping pace with me just over my left shoulder, so when she caught up with me for the third time, I let it be a challenge to keep her behind me, which pushed me into some unplanned fartleks. I ended up passing a lot of people, running continuously on a route I would normally interval, and finishing before TWO of my coaches. IT WAS A REALLY GOOD RUN and one I hadn’t unexpected to have when I laced up my running shoes.

Hmmm. What if I didn’t put on the expectations? What if I just set an intention to have a good run and listen to my body respectfully? That’s some new thinking. I have been really focused on setting intentions lately – to a successful end when I do it – but I hadn’t taken the time to examine how I had tied expectation and intention together…

So, fast forward to yesterday, and I hadn’t run since that last one. D’OH!! I had workouts scheduled, but everything got thrown out the window after Wednesday’s bootcamp when we got offered some EXCELLENT Reds tickets for Thursday and Friday night. In our house – you don’t turn down these kind of seats to baseball. Hot dogs and cheap beer cost me my Thursday night & Saturday morning runs, as well as Friday’s bootcamp. Life and choices. Oh well, I had a good time at the games and I can’t ever be sad about a date with my husband. That’s worth a missed run or two.

Monday’s boot camp was all about shaking off the long slugfest and bad food choices of the weekend. Which took me into Tuesday’s group run having not run for a week and being a bit behind on the fitness routine. The group was doing the first pass of the route for the Hyde Park Blast, which is 3 weeks away. It was 80+ degrees and sunny, and this is a route that challenges me on a few levels. Once again, less than ideal conditions for me. And I started to talk to myself about it on the way there, telling myself again that it would probably be a hard run with the heat and the sun, that I should interval it so I didn’t crash in the heat, that I didn’t make it all the way up Erie hill the last time I did that part of the route, that that hill really sucks…and then I thought, well – I had a really good run last Tuesday, it’s kind of tragic that I let go of that momentum when I could’ve used it for a good run tonight…

And then I stopped again. Could’ve used it? So I can’t use it because I haven’t run since? WHY AM I THINKING THAT?

I haven’t run since, but the last run I had was good. And I didn’t expect it to be. So, why not just soak that up? Soak up a little of that unexpected goodness. What if I don’t put on the expectation that this is hard and instead I just go do it? And I start at the back, and I just let myself be happy with it however it comes to pass? What if I don’t have to expect a damn thing from this run other than that I do it?

Can I set the intention to just do it and not expect anything from it? Kinda label it “lessons to be learned later”? And damned if it didn’t happen again!

After a whole week of not running, I had a pretty damn good run last night! Not particularly fast (though I really don’t know since I had the Garmin on backwards again and haven’t looked at the data from either run) – smart decisions on water stops – talked myself up the ginormous hill that is a trouble spot on that route – couple of fartleks at the end when I didn’t want to get passed – and I felt good about the entire run. It was sooo nice! I ran continuously except for one little spot after a water stop where I gave myself time to burp before I started running again – sometimes you need to let the burp happen, meh.

Interesting. Not the burp. The run thinking is interesting. The burp, most certainly uninteresting.

I still haven’t had that nuclear run yet. The one where the doldrums are finally over and it feels like someone shoved a rocket up your bum. But I am enjoying what’s happening with setting the expectations aside. I need to think on that for a bit and I wonder, do other runners feel that push and pull – of intention v. expectation? Do they run better when they set one over the other? Which is more important? Curious things to consider.



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