This morning I was running alone.
Not in some fatalistic, angsty, “Man/Woman alone in the universe” kind of way. That’s not really much ‘me’ from a belief/faith perspective anyway. I digress.
No this morning I was literally running without the company of another living, breathing, also-running human being. My husband is rehabilitating a knee that started twinging a bit but devolved into full-blown pain last week so running is off the table for him right now. He did drive along behind me to help keep time, and because our subdivision has zero streetlights and it is dark at 5 am and I’m funny about seeing where I’m going. (When he runs with me he carries a small flashlight along with manning the stopwatch.) So without another set of footfalls to gauge by I was on my own pacewise.
On Monday nights when I’m running with the thirty or so trainers and couple hundred other Beginning Runners it is actually fairly easy to set and maintain my own pace. I am completely comfortable in the “middle of the pack”. There are women who are going to pass me every single week. They are younger, and many of them clearly not beginners like I am A Beginner. (Remember: Until July the last time I ran Jimmy and Rosalyn were still inhabiting 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue!) By the same token, there are women I am pretty much assured of passing every week. Of course I’d be lying if I said “Oh no, I don’t get a rush of enjoyment when I pass slower runners!” HA! Of course I do. It’s less of an “I’m better than she is!” thing than it is a “I’m doing better than I did last week!” thing.
When Rich and I run together I intentionally pace myself to be just a little slower than he is simply because he has run more recently than the aforementioned Carter Administration; and when we were running side-by-side on treadmills on a regular basis I got a pretty good idea how much faster his running pace is.
Monday I brought my iPod to listen to while I was running. Our coaches signal time to switch from running to walking by blowing a whistle and simultaneously raising both arms above their heads, which signals all the runners to raise our arms above our heads and make the switch from run to walk, or walk to run whichever it’s time to do. (And every single time we do this I have to giggle a little because being here on The Buckle of The Bible Belt I just have to believe that somebody driving down the major thoroughfare our running path runs parallel to is thinking “Oh look Marge! It’s some kind of tent-less tent revival!” Okay, it’s funny in my oxygen deprived brain at the time… I’m digressing again… ) Anyway, without having to rely on an audible play call, I decided to see if having some sort of aural distraction might help keep me from literally counting my steps as I ran, thereby making the whole thing feel somehow forced and torturous.
I knew good and well that listening to music was not going to work for me. Finding The Perfect Songs with The Perfect Rhythm to maintain a good running pace just wasn’t going to happen. I’d either pick something way too fast and end up prostrate on the ground, or I’d pick something too slow and end up aggravated. So. I opted to listen to Jillian Michaels podcasts. Think what you will about the woman’s approach as a trainer/coach, she is chock full of fantastic information. Personally, I like her style and would love nothing more on this earth than to get to spend a day with her! But that’s just me.
And. It. Worked!
Having Jillian in my ears served two purposes: 1) My running pace just fell into a perfect rhythm; and B) It is virtually impossible to lose motivation with that woman’s voice in your head!
And I’m learning along the way too.
So twice this week I’ve run ten complete circuits of run 3 minutes / walk 1 minute.
And twice this week I was upright and coherent at the end of the run.
By Jove! I think I’m getting this!