(Thanks to Runners’ World Daily Kick in the Butt email for this quote from Kevin Nelson, from The Runner’s Book of Daily Inspiration). I get these emails every day from Runners’ World, and I find them incredibly inspiring and motivating. Every once in a while, I read a quote like this one that just gives me an “a-ha!” moment… that then compels me to ruminate. 🙂
You know I’ve extolled running’s virtues of being so simple and so pure — that it’s not a sport or activity that its participants must absolutely “muck up” (IMHO) with tons of gear and gadgets in order to enjoy — and this quote captures this sentiment nicely. Before some people begin running, they are filled with fear. What if I can’t keep up? What if I can’t run more than three steps? What if I fail miserably and embarrass myself? They over-think the sport and let their head dictate (read: impede) their progress. We’ve all been there before. I can’t run today because X. I wanted to run today, but Y got in the way. If I run now, I won’t be able to do Z. Why complicate a thing where, quite literally, all you must do is place one foot in front of the other to move forward (and thus, progress)?
Maybe this is especially resonating with me this morning after doing my first set of Yasso 800s in several months at last night’s FF speedwork session. I’ve already remarked that the FF group is a speedy bunch, and that I’m often in the caboose group, so I had a little trepidation going into this workout — much like the same questions I listed above. I learned last night that the bulk of the group is shooting for 3:10/3:20 marathon. A few want a 3:30, and the rest of us “slow” folks aspire to do a 3:40 again.
The plan was to run from the store to St. Joe’s (around the 4.0 mile marker), do a Yasso 800 to the 3.5 mile marker, active recovery for 2 minutes, do another Yasso 800 from the 3.5 mile marker to the second Recreation Dr. sign, active recovery for 2 minutes, and then repeat back to the 4.0 mile marker. All told, we were to do a warm-up, 4 Yassos with 2 minutes active recovery between, and a cool-down.
I was nervous about running with the 3:40 ladies but thought that now is as good a time as any to get back into the ‘speed’ of things. (Mind you, we also were running in some slight snow flurries and a little bit of wind!). I tried not to think about the activity at hand — thus, freeing my mind — and let my feet and my body and my perceived effort guide me along. It was fun to run in a pack and to use each other’s bodies, our collective sounds, the scenery, everything around us as the backdrop to our efforts. There really seems to be something to be said about running in a group like we did last night (a next experience for me). And the end result, you ask? All our 800s were remarkably sub-3:40. In fact, we hit something along the lines of 3:34, 3:33, 3:30, 3:35/6 — not quite sure (in that order! — yes, our penultimate one was fastest! very cool!). My intermittent recoveries weren’t quite as long as they were supposed to be, resembling times closer to 1:45/50s, but it was ok. I was going with it. 🙂 And I’m mighty glad I did.
The takeaway — next time you feel a bit of fear, or hesitation, or whatever, when you’re about to embark on a new adventure (running-related or not), free your mind. The rest — your feet, your confidence, whatever it is that needs to come — will. Guaranteed.