Saturday, 15 February 2014

A post about running?

I wasn't looking forward to this morning's run because I had set myself a target of running a full 10k which I normally don't do. It's not that I'm not physically capable of running this distance, but my mind rebels at repetition and at around the 5k mark my brain often decides to dig it's little heels in and convince me to take the shortcut home.

When I started off running this morning I struggled to get my legs to move in a rhythmic fashion, my breaths were shallow and within a couple of minutes I was gasping for breath, willing myself to control my breathing pattern and breathe THROUGH MY FRICKING NOSE!! However after only about five minutes my legs started to respond to what I was asking them to do, moving in a somewhat regular motion and my breathing became much easier. At this point I realised that I was no longer thinking about my breathing so much but was instead focusing my energy on controlling the movement of my legs instead of trying to regulate something that happens regardless of my own efforts.

The route I had chosen today was a combination of a few of my regular runs and so there were three points at which I could have taken a different turn and ended up home a few kilometres earlier. About 6km into the run I came to one of these forks in the road and I paused to have a look at both options. I glanced at the road which would lead me to my door in about 1km. As far as I could see it was flat and straight and I knew that quickly the road led to a gentle downhill slope. I glanced in the other direction. The road ahead of me this way was hilly and it twisted sharply around the corner so that the rest of the road was hidden from my view from where I was standing. In a split second decision I made my way up the second road.

Image via Pinterest

The run up this hill was steep and after only a few steps I regretted my decision, thinking that I should probably just turn back and make my way along the first road. It wouldn't cut too much off of my distance, probably only about 3k and I could come out tomorrow and do the full distance because today just didn't feel like my day. The hill really was steep and my legs were starting to feel heavy with the effort. I stopped and turned as if to go back the opposite direction. But then I had an idea. What if I just slowed down a little going up the hill? I would still get to where I was going, and surely slowly was better than not at all. I didn't stand still for too long which was good because if I did I'm sure that I  would have ended up going back the way I came. After catching my breath I set off again. Slowly.

Strangely, once I'd made it to the top of the hill my legs felt stronger after their climb and I powered my way along the flat road, faster than I felt like I'd been running before. It wasn't long before I realised that I was running downhill, my legs picking up speed on their own and at this point I felt light and the running felt effortless. A sense of childish joy came through me as I flew down the hill. In this moment I conceded that perhaps the arduous climb up the hill had been worthwhile after all.

As I got to the final kilometre I saw two men leaning against the wall at a bus stop. I had my eyes set on the finish line by this point, and as is often the case when the end is looming in sight, I had picked up my pace. I was powering along quite quickly and as I ran past the men, one of them stuck out his foot as if to trip me up. I bounced quickly to the side in an effort to avoid his outstretched foot and shot him a sharp glance. I considered breaking out of my run, which at this point was powering along quite nicely, to have a go at him but I thought better of it and simply kept running, picking my pace back up again quickly and shaking off the meanness of this stranger.

I kept a steady pace for the final kilometre and was soon back at my flat where I'd started. I checked my iPod running app and realised that because I hadn't mapped out my run before I left, I was in fact still 1km short of my 10km goal.

Oh well, there's always tomorrow...

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