Friday, September 30, 2011
The Running Mind: 7 mile experience
When I start running , my mind along with my body moves out of the cushy comfort zone. The amount of unease is definitely related to the speed at which I run. So it was hilarious but kinda true when Delbert joked at the beginning of our run, "I am tired already. " That is exactly how the mind feels about the transition at the start of the run. So it is very important for me to ease into the run. The first mile of the run is crucial in terms of how the mind feels. I told myself, "No I am not tired. I am actually feeling fine even though it is a little bit hot." I looked at my strides and made sure they were not too fast or too long. I looked at Coach Mal, who was at ease with her nice rhythmic strides. She is used to running lot faster. So it was more like a slow jog for her. I tried to feel more comfortable with my pace and bring in the rhythm. We were running around IBM Boulder in fall. The trees looked beautiful in the sunlight with their colorful leaves. The mountain peaks in the horizon had streaks of snow near the top. It was a clear sunny afternoon with a light breeze. We were planning to do the loop three times and a little bit at the end. I had about 30 oz of water earlier in the day but clearly felt it was not enough for a day like this. One of my idea was to keep my mouth closed and keep the tongue moist. Our coach mentioned that on a hot day like this the body spends energy to keep it cool. I felt a few drops of water on my back and wondered if it was rain. It was actually my head starting to sweat already. I still tried to stay positive thinking half jokingly it might cool me off a bit. A few runners were coming from the opposite side and we cheered each other. It felt good. The came the slope down and up. Coach Mal asked us to control our heart rate downhill and take small fast steps on the way up. It really helped to run with her. Bambi had done some tough workout the day before and mentioned that she was feeling a little tired at this pace. I made sure my heart rate was under control and adjusted my pace accordingly. After our first lap, I tried to tell myself that I have only two more to go and that everything was fine. My mind by this time had figured out that this was an OK place to be and I just kept moving along. After the second lap, I started to feel the heat right at the turn of the lap. The sun seemed to be beating down on us. Coach Mal was cheering us. "Great job guys, If you can make it today, race day will be easy." She asked us to look up when we were tired and see "beautiful Boulder". Each little positive comment acted as fuel and kept me going. Towards the end, I figured that it felt cooler if I kept my mouth open. I imagined how dogs stick out their tongue and pant. But it made my tongue dry too. I was at the last stretch of the run when I tried to motivate myself by thinking of swimming. I imagined I was in the water and trying to get past the shallow mark. I told myself that I cannot stop till I cross the mark and the illusive mark kept staying in front of me. I could fell my hands and feet moving mechanically till I saw the actual finish point. At this time, I don't know how but I found extra energy. I pushed myself to sprint to the finish point. I was panting at the end but it felt good.