The Ins and Outs of an Ordinary Life

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Running -- The Mind Game

On Friday, DH and I were all set to ride with the Cycling Club, but we bagged it because of severe T-storm warnings. The weather has been fairly violent over the past 2 weeks, and we decided to stay home. So I went over to the HS track to see what running a few miles would feel like. When I got there, it was just me and the track in the early evening, with ominous skies. After the first half mile, I settled into a nice easy (slow) pace (Mind: wow, this feels pretty good, no pain in toe or knee, I can just keep going! No one else around, I can even sing). At 1.0 miles, it started to rain, but lightly (Mind: this isn't too bad, I can run in this....can I get electrocuted wearing a heart rate monitor and an iPod in the rain? Maybe I should stop). At 1.50 miles, the wind picks up (Mind: this is getting harder, is that my knee I feel getting stiff? 1.5 miles is respectable for a 50 year old lady with a bad toe and a cranky knee.... but I did want to run at least 2). At 1.75 miles, the rain picks up (Mind: I am Xena the Warrior Princess, outrunning the evil storm) At 2.0 miles, the 17-19 year old soccer boys show up, totally ignoring the rain (Mind: ooooooh, I like the change in scenery. Well, if they can play in the rain, I can certainly run in the rain. I don't want them to think the mother of sons #1 and #2 is a total wimp). So I ran 2.5 miles, most of the time thinking positive thoughts. My HR monitor and iPod continued to function and I did not get electrocuted. My knee stiffened up a bit, but it seemed to ease up the next day when I took out my bike. I only ran 2.5 miles, but it was enlightening to think about what I was thinking about! For some reason, I became much more cognizant of the impact of state of mind on performance, and how quickly that state of mind can change. Now what I need to figure out is how much control I have over that "attitude." I want to keep Xena around and banish the fear of electrons. And of course this has other applications to other athletic endeavors and life in general! Yesterday there was a cycling club event which included rides for all level riders followed by a picnic. I had to choose between the D ride (25 miles) and the C ride (40 miles). I was leaning toward the C ride until I was told that the terrain was hillier than usual, so I took the D ride. I know I could have ridden another 15 miles, but I probably would have been on the edge, especially if I was pushing to keep up. Should I have brought forth Xena or is a slight fear of electrons a good thing? The D ride was challenging, and yes we took it slow, but it was still 25 miles! The bottom line, I guess, is that I went for a great bike ride, and had a lovely time at the picnic afterwards. I continue to be impressed by the friendliness and healthy attitude of almost every club member that I have met.

As an aside, DH faced a similar decision, either the C ride (40 miles) or the B ride (58 miles). He chose the B ride and totally rocked it. He came back so revved up and pleased with himself. Although he still needs to lose some weight, he is in very good shape. He attributes much of his success to having spent the "off-season" doing some serious swimming. The decision to hit the pool resulted from the need to rest and rehab his achilles tendon, which was chronically inflamed. Biking (and therefore spinning) and running were totally off-limits. He became a disciple of the Total Immersion approach to swimming and totally retaught himself the "proper" way to swim. When the outdoor cycling season started, I don't think he ever thought he would be able to ride 58 miles in July and ride strong! Although he is still cautious, so far his achilles has not been a problem. I don't know if his achilles will stand up to running, but I'm waiting to hear him say "triathlon." Wondering how long it will take for him to say it out loud.


Stillwater Heron said...

Isn't it wonderful to be around friendly and healthy folks?
Sounds like you had a fun ride and I'm looking forward to getting a bike in the next few weeks.
Good run!
Watch out for lightening!

Moose said...

Wow. Non-lazy people astonish me. Good for you. You have just inspired me. To take a leisurely stroll around the block. :)

SLEM said...

I soo agree with you on the mind seems like the first mile of running is the hardest...I have Moanin' Mona crying..I could use Xena to get her to shut up..LOL.
You are doing sooo good.