I wouldn't say that I am a very religious person. I don't prescribe to a given faith, but sometimes I can't help but feel a connection to something greater than myself while running. Today's run is a perfect example!
My morning run was tough! My psoas and ITB are sore/inflamed from running the AR50, so I decided to do a nice and easy medium distance run. I started from the McAbee entrance of Quicksilver and ran the Senador Mine Trail to the Randall Trail. I choose to run the Randall trail because it is pretty smooth and flat (it is about a 500ft climb to get to) which is what I needed for my sore hip. The run was pretty uneventfull, except it is beautifull at Quicksilver this time of year. The grasses are a bright green and full of yellow and purple flowers! Anyways, back to the tough part. The last 2 miles my feet, and hip hurt, and I couldn't think of anything more than being done with the run, getting some food and taking a nap! Arrgghh... all this beauty around me, and all I can think of is how uncomfortable I am! My thoughts jumped around like a wild monkey, and I just didn't feel into the run. When I finally got home, I crashed for 1/2hr and then dragged my tired butt to work... 16 tough miles, I was definitely not feeling it today, or was I?
My second run was during my lunch break at work. This was more of the spiritual run that I opened this blog post with. It was my goal to just take it easy, stretch the legs out and focus on mechanics; stride, posture, and breathing. I started the run with a few strides, high knees, and butt kickers. I ran along the side roads by my work until I got on the railroad grade, and then continued along the trails next to the railroad.
The weather was dark, gray and rainy, the type of weather that makes one want to curl up inside with a warm bevarage. The last thing that I really wanted to do during my lunch was run, especially considering how I felt earlier. Nonetheless I forced myself, and the run started to become more enjoyable.
As I continued along the path I focused on my breath, breathing in deep and long, and then pushing everything out. As I became deeper and deeper in my breath, all thoughts ceased, and my paced continued to get faster. It felt like I was being guided by an invisible energy as I continued to float along the trail. Slowly breathing in and out, with my gaze looking to the space in between, the effort of running was no more. I returned to work an hour later, cleansed and renewed.
It seems the difference between a good run and a so-so run is mental. With the morning run, my mind was running faster than my legs and this extra though brought me down. With the evening run, I started with focusing on my body and stride and then brought my attention to my breath. This allowed me to feel out my body, and when my body felt good I went deep into my breath and got into the running zone. If I can regularly get in the zone like I did with the second run, this is sure to help my focus when running those long 100 mile races this summer!