Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Off the Cuff

We were silent at that particular moment.  Rare for us.  Usually when we run there is a stream of conversation that accompanies the steady cadence of our feet.  Maybe we were quiet because we were climbing, or maybe it was because we were enjoying the breathtaking views.  Riverside drive, just south of the James River, is one of the more beautiful and hilly runs you will find in RVA.  Tree limbs stretch over the road in a green canopy as it twists and curves and climbs and rolls like the river it parallels.

I guess we both realized we were listening to the runners ahead of us at the same time, because we both chuckled at something that was said, and I turned to T and said, "We've had that exact conversation."  She agreed.  The runners were stressing about pre-run fueling and recovery fueling and listening to them I'd have to say the one girl is probably starving herself unnecessarily.

What made me chuckle wasn't that she was starving herself, but instead it was that the topic these girls were obsessing over was a topic I have obsessed on, chewed on, rolled around, and rehashed.  I worried over it the way a child pulls the thread dangling from the hem of a sweater, picking and playing until the cuff is opened.  In this case, I finally concluded that running requires calories to prevent injury.  High protein calories are better than cake, but regardless, in my opinion if you run a pile of miles, you better be eating something.

photo credit - TMB
And we were running a pile of miles on Saturday.  T & I had overlapped our twenty miles this past week with Sportsbackers Marathon Training Team's Novice 10 miler.  It wasn't entirely planned, actually.  We just ran a few miles before MTT, and then followed "a route" until we met back up on the MTT route.  And when we got back to the stadium, we refilled our water bottles at the car, and kept running a completely on the fly route.  In fact, the entire run was constructed off the cuff, because we knew about how far certain roads would take us.

We finished 20 miles exactly where we started, without any intentional planning at all.  Certainly our on the run routing system included "There's water along here at X point if we need it", so we weren't running without attention to detail.  We were just enjoying a stress free - route free run.  I would guess that the less seasoned "me" would have never done that.  I would have planned until I was blue in the face, needlessly fretting around trivial details.

This week we were worry free.  The twenty miles vanished under our feet.  We ran negative splits, even with the hills of Bryant Park tossed in for the last miles.

Today I reflected that I am so glad that I am a more seasoned runner, and I know when, and when not, to stress about a training run.  The 20 we finished this weekend was completely relaxed, and color me not surprised, faster than I was anticipating running.  It goes to show that when you listen to your body instead of your worries, amazing things can happen.

~savor the run~

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