Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Run 'til the road is closed..strategy

Since we PCS'd here last year I've been wanting to find a new place to run. Last year I only ran a couple times a week but never-the-less the same paved trail gets boring. The old path is off-road & surrounded by tight woods but very limited in milage & you still usually run into people every few minutes.

To avoid sounding anti-social I'll note that I used to run in a running group regularly. Even after becoming a veteran runner & could make my own training decisions, I kept showing up for the o'dark thirty runs to see my friends. I loved the bonding and friendliness of runners. I loved meeting for coffee & breakfast after a run. BUT, I was also slow... and usually wound up running alone while everyone else jabbered and gosspiped and laughed miles ahead. I felt like I was missing out. A little mental blow threatening my willpower. However, running paired up I noticed a pattern of eventually wanting to concentrate in a zoned out way. A point where I'd plug into my ipod and harness energy within.

At some point in true long runs, it comes down to the solo anyway. Although your body is churning the output, the battle usually ends up in your head. In addition, I felt pressured to run at my partners' pace. Even when people offered to run "with" me, naturally being faster, they usually ended up always pushing the miles per minute. It can be good to do this when training to PR, but mostly I knew where I needed to be min per mile and my body wanted to be there. I could care less about time improvement and more consumed by time/energy management. Maybe somehow training alone was training me to be alone. When you run alone, you might also be training mentally to push past signals of tiredness, to endure some boredome, & to rely on self motivation. Maybe its a way to whittle down superficial reasonings for running and find out why you're truely there. If you're running for any reason other than what's personal, how many miles over how much time does it take to work that to the surface & become a reason to quit?

Driving me is the extra-ordinary, going beyond a self image that I can't because I'm slow or injury-prone or inheriantly lazy. Whittling down to my center puts me in touch with my center. Who I am and how I'm responding to my environment & hightening all my senses to where I know exactly how I feel physically. It's so easy to get caught up in life, ignoring how much our bodies speak to us.

I regress however...

Finally, using the Runners World Run Finder, someone had posted the idea of running off a road (no path) that rarely sees cars. YES, please! I got in my car the next day to check it out, driving the route first. Basically it starts behind the golf course on base and ends at "Road Closed to Unauthorized Personnel." Sweet. Military secrecy. I spent part of the run dreaming up what could be going on down that dirty road - until I ran into another sign: "Hand grenade qualifying." - Really glad I ignored the anti-authority teenager still residing in me & didn't take the path less (or never, unless authorized) traveled.

The road was pretty short but perfect for where I'm at milage-wise. It's 3 miles with 4 rolling hills. While I only had one car pass me, a sky highway happened to be right overhead and Apache helicopters ROARED past. They were loud and vertically close because the heliport was just over the trees and down another closed road.

I'll be able to almost double the milage using another 2.5 mile road that intersects with this run. My strategy is to do both for my "long" run towards the end of the week.

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