|Turning the corner to the finish line at Bend Marathon 10/1/11. Photo credit: Kathy Lein|
|Crossing the finish at Bizz Johnson 10/9/11|
The last several weeks, under my coach Scott’s guidance, I’ve continued to practice my 50 mile pace. I am no longer concerned about how fast I’m not going like I was in the spring. My mind has completely flip-flopped. Now I listen to my body and ask myself if I am going slow enough: “Can I do this pace all day?” I’ve really gotten into it, and it’s really taken the pressure off. As a side-benefit, my body no longer screams “What the FUCK are you doing to me?” for several miles into a run until I’m feeling warmed up. Nice and easy does it. I’m also no longer constantly looking at my watch to see if it’s close to my every-30-minutes “gel walk break” time. I don’t feel the need to walk while taking energy gels any more. I’m tending to appreciate my surroundings more and have a more positive outlook because I’m not feeling so damned worked.
|One reason I’m running Autumn Leaves 50: My first belt buckle award!|
It’s a whole different mid-set to be patient, focused, and wait for the reward. To not speed up to try and stay with someone as they pass you early on. “Let them go,” I tell myself. “They’ll see me later.” To not worry about if you’re in last place after 3 miles. Who cares, you’ve got 47 more to go! With patient pacing, you’ll be much fresher and steadier the final miles than many others who will fade.
For the last year, I’ve felt like something big is coming. I don’t know what it is yet or when it will be here, but when it gets here I’m going to be ready. For this big thing, I won’t necessarily need to be fast, but I will need patience and focus. I won’t be the person who excitedly starts out too fast and blows his wad early. I’m going to keep the patient pace and succeed. Nothing will be able to take my focus off the goal.
I don’t need to beat myself up for my pace being about two minutes slower per mile than it was a year ago. I want to blame some of it on having gained a bunch of weight in the last year (a whole ’nother story), but I haven’t done a focused speed or track workout for over a year either. By focusing on slow distance this year, I have developed patience and endurance. I may not be “fast” at the moment, but I can go and go and go and am so much stronger than I was at this time last year. If and when I want to focus on speed again, it will come back, and so will the PRs.
While we can be in a hurry to get somewhere else and always be better, faster, stronger, also take the time to appreciate the place/space in life you’re at right now and savor the moment.