Forward Progress

In the past few days I have: 1. Made a list of the sources of my stress as it relates to running 2. Identified the things that I did before great runs that perhaps I haven't been doing recently 3. Journaled the 4 running days I've had since last Wednesday.

And as much as I have a love/hate relationship with the Garmin, I have to admit that it is a great journal in and of itself and I spent the past days flipping through the almost 700 logged runs recorded in my Garmin Connect since I first began using one in 2007. Interestingly enough I found that I've remembered almost all of the bad runs, and not many of the good ones. And there were a lot of good ones.

I wish I had kept more notes, or even blogged about each run with more detail, but I could still remember at least some aspect of almost every single one. Reading through these old logs gave me a perspective of how far I've progressed over a very few short years.

Yesterday I also received the first of what I imagine will be a slew of emails from the Ogden Marathon, and I actually felt excited about it. I would be lying if I said what happened at CIM wasn't weighing on my mind. As this next marathon draws near I get more and more nervous. There, I said it. Among the list of 6 things that I identified on my list of stress sources, this is the one that glares out at me the most. So this is me acknowledging it and attempting to move on.

It's no secret that I am a huge SF Giants fan. And of course the 49ers too while we're at it. I relate to and draw inspiration from different situations that the players and team go through more than I relate other runners. Tim Lincecum is my second favorite current Giant (I would say he's my favorite, but Timmy only pitches every 5th day, Buster plays every day). Timmy started off the season 0-2 sending the Bay Area, myself included, into a frenzy, with everyone trying to figure out "What's wrong with Timmy?!" Yesterday he earned his first win of the season and when asked after the game what was different about his approach he said he told himself:

"Think simple, stupid. Just throw."

I told myself this over and over this afternoon while getting ready for tonight's run. Of course changing the "throw" to "run."

One of the things that have been bothering me is that I have evolved into taking walk breaks. A lot of them. Even during the Kaiser race, I took a ton of them and still ended up with an almost 12-min PR. I have been trying to fight taking them, so much so that I kept overwhelming myself over and over again. So tonight I changed my approach and went into the run with managed expectations. I told myself I would take the walk breaks, but no more than 20-30 seconds at a time, and only in the warm-up and cool down. Granted, the workout itself was intervals, so there were recovery periods factored into the workout, but still I vowed that I wasn't going to stop my Garmin till the workout was over (stoplights and all) and see how it went.

The outcome wasn't so bad. In fact, it was pretty good. I didn't fight myself. I didn't worry about injuries. I was focused. The periods of running felt natural, easy and at paces that I normally freak out about thinking, "I'm not that fast." And 3 hours later I am not sore, tired or achy. Eventually of course I would like to build back up to not having to take walk breaks at all, at least not for shorter runs, but for now, this is what works to make running feel good again. It's a positive step in the right direction.