Tag Archives: focus

Clear Your Mind

Running is many things to many people. For me I use it as a drug to cure whatever my ails may be on that particular morning.

Today is going to be an important day in my job hunting as I have a lot going on; meeting a resume and career advisor, webinar on negotiation, a call for the charity I work for, a phone screen for a job, and then an actual interview in Philly. It is going to be crazy.

And so, today, my run was for my mind. To give it a chance to think about putting one foot in front of the other. To allow it to count my breaths; in-2-3-out-2-in-2-3-out-2. To allow the stresses that have built up in anticipation to evaporate and leave space in my head for the important things I need for the interviews.

Yes, today’s run was much needed and I had perfect autumnal conditions. 48F, dry and with a smattering of leaves on the ground. I started out thinking I’d just do three miles but even before the half mile mark I knew I needed more, so I headed off up the hill on another road and made it a 4.7 miler. My pace wasn’t great at 7:56 but I did choose a hilly route. My first few half mile intervals were significantly slower than the others.

Not to worry though as I achieved what I had wanted to: some space inside my little head.

Have a good weekend everyone. When you are out doing what you do, take some time to let your mind wander too.

DSCN0193.JPGMy mind wasn’t quite as clear as theirs, however. Works from the Corning Glass Museum.


All-Consuming Thoughts

This feels a little like a confessional as it has been over a week since my last run and I commited many (cross-training) sins, but thankfully a blog page is a very forgiving cleric!

There were a couple of struggles today; the first being getting up and out the door. Having had a week vacation and then switching to mainly cycling I had shifted my morning wake time to close to 6 am. This doesn’t lend itself to a spontaneous 5 am run. However, fortunately for me, my six month old son decided that 4:15 am would be a good time for a top up of his stomach and then refused to go back to sleep without cuddles. When I got back to my room it was five am. I laid down for 18 minutes hitting snooze twice and then relinquished and went downstairs.

Once up I had to find all my bits and pieces as a week off and filing stuff after vacation meant that everything was not in the usual place. Note to self: put stuff away in the right place immediately after vacation!

My legs felt like they were going to be fast and indeed my first few half mile paces were under 7:30. Hurrah for that at least.

And then… I don’t think there’s any delicate way to put it… My body decided it needed to have a poo. Not something I’d normally mention but the thought/feeling became so all consuming it was hard to focus on the mechanics of running. So, from mile two through three all I could think about was getting home quickly. Every step was reinforcing that thought.

I decided I need to distract myself and started thinking about an article Dave McGillivray wrote for Runner’s World Facebook page the other day with respect to marathon race distances and the variables therein. I thought it was odd that they still measure the race distances with a wheel when there is such good high-resolution GPS available.

All of a sudden I was at the last part of my run where I normally accelerate home but I realised I had been so wrapped up on other thoughts that my pace had slowed. Vroooooom…

In the end I managed the four miles in a comfortable 7:22 race and went straight to the bathroom.

It is surprisingly easy to get out of the early morning run habit…

Staying in the Moment

With the quiet patter of the metronome tickling the darkness you set foot on another day, gradually winding your legs up to pace and rounding the first corner. Look at that. The orange moon is sitting in the sky between the trees that line the boulevard and you strike out towards it; a small step for man…

Then the voice on your arm cuts in with “Wake up, kiddo. You are running at 7:45 pace…”.

Gaa. Distracted again. Goodnight moon.

Think about all the things that you need to do. Foot strike is correctly mid foot. Arms are swinging straight and held correctly. Breathing is all over the shop. Push back with your feet and pull up with your thighs. Bring on the power. Check your steps are in time with the metronome. It all seems pretty good. Recheck again.

When next the voice chirrups my average pace is back in the zone @7:17. Turn around and charge back up the little hill to the main street and think about the day ahead.

Snap. “Your pace is 7:17…”. Another segment passes at a constant pace. But where was I focusing? It is like a scene from Momento; what is my reality?

Now to focus for the last section. Recheck all movements and they are good and smooth. Breathing is still a mess. Lets wrap this up. Count the beeps and done.

Looking at my segment times you can clearly see when I was in the game and when I was off with the fairies. But those segments were fast and that makes me want to do it again. Tomorrow. But first today….