Friday, May 14, 2010

Epiphanies.

I'm not talking about teenage girls with creative mothers (yes, I've met a teenage girl named "Epiphany."  I've also met one named "Candida".  but I digress)

The first one was when I PRd at the Atomic Man a few weeks ago.  I had the sudden realization, which I shared with Sweet Baboo and Dread Pirate, that in order to get fast, you have to be uncomfortable. Baboo grinned and I could see the wheels churning in his head--all the uncomfortable runs he was planning for me.  DP said, "you didn't know that?"
Well, no.  I have always avoided being uncomforable.  It's so, well, uncomfortable.

So the thing is, that most of my runs were always flat, and I won't push too hard to go fast flat.  But running up hills, well, you have to get up those hills, and it's uncomfortable, but you gotta do it.  So without meaning to, moving out to the foothills forced me to learn to go fast.

The second one was at the Jay Benson triathlon last week, when I did my 9:30 pace - and for many people, that's their pace when they've sprained their ankle - but for me, it was blazing.  But it didn't feel blazing.  I always imagined that you'd feel fast.  Like, your hair would be blowing back and you'd be cooled by the sheer force of running against the air, and you'd feel light and swift and sleek.

"Oh hell, no," Sweet Baboo said, with another of his grins.  "It always feels hard."

My next thought was well then what the hell is the point?  But as soon as I had that thought, Sweet Baboo continued, "but when you're faster, it's over with sooner."  So okay, that's a good point.  Well worth the discomfort of hill running is the prospect of being done sooner.

And there's this: for every hill I run up, I get to run back down again.  :)

There was some hypothesizing between me and Baboo once that maybe the reason I avoided the hard effort stuff was because of my history of asthma and panic.  The high heart rate and shortness of breath was just too threatening.  But I feel like now I can face it.

So I was thinking about this as I was running along in the foothills on Thursday.  I was headed back in after a short run, and my thought was, holy cow, my legs feel heavy.   My lungs burned, and I thought my heart was about to explode.  Man, why do I feel so slow?  Why does this feel so hard?  Then I looked down at my Garmin, and the the pace readout said 9:23.

Oh Gosh!  I turned back to see where Courtney, my running partner was - she was quite a ways back.  That was the third epiphany - all those times that my friends were ditching me, they weren't ditching me.  They were just having a good run.  Or ride.  Or whatever.

Well, the 9:23 was for only about a quarter mile, but it was exciting, nonetheless.   Meanwhile, I guess I'll tolerate some discomfort.

I've done a lot in the past few years, always with the thought in my head, I wonder what I can do next?  


Now I guess my new thought is and I wonder how fast I can do it?


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5 comments:

  1. That is totally awesome! I would love to break 11 min miles let alone 10. You are such an inspiration, I think I need to try being more 'uncomfortable'.

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  2. Great post. I hear you on the discomfort factor. For years I could have cared less about being fast. I ran because it made me feel good, kept me sane, and allowed me to eat a decent day's worth of meals. I was also afraid of getting hurt—I'd rather run the rest of my life slowly than get fast, get hurt, and never run again. Now, my runs are almost entirely on hills because of where I live. I run them slowly, and the runs are uncomfortable, so each time I'm out there I tell myself to dig just a little bit deeper. Which means on occasion I can edge over into a 9-ish minute mile on the downhills with the wind at my back. Feels pretty cool, even if it only lasts a couple minutes.

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  3. You know, you were running so fast that I had to stop and watch because I've never seen you go that fast, and it was cool to see that. I got all excited even though I was moving like a snail :)

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  4. I just had the same epiphany last week about biking. Biking looks so easy that it never occured to me that it is real work to go fast! Why doesn't anybody ever tell us this stuff?

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  5. AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME!!! Breakthroughs rock!1

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