I had an early start to my work day today. If I wanted to run before work, it would have meant getting up at 4am. (Um, no.) That is why I went to graduate school in the first place; so that I could STOP getting up at 4am. Call me arrogant if you want, but for at least another month I’d like to live the illusion.
With that douchy sentiment in mind, I decided that I would leave work at 3:30pm, and run at the nature preserve near my office. I forgot how early the sun sets now, I want daylight savings back!
I got to the trail at about 4 and skipped stretching or warming up whatsoever, so that I could get in 7 miles before it was dangerously dark. Trying to finish a run before the sun is all the way down is a great motivator to stay focused! I am a huge fan of self-monitoring and strive to integrate self-management/monitoring skills into nearly every behavior plan I design for work. For myself, I use a countdown timer really often. If it weren’t for that timer, I NEVER would have finished my thesis!
Fading daylight is a far superior performance-management tool than a countdown timer, as I can’t pause the setting sun!
By the 3 mile mark my shadow was running on stilts, by 4.5 it was alarmingly absent. At mile 5, the horizon was ablaze with a radiating burnt orange, mile 5.5, it was smoldering pink, mile 6, ashen yellow. Miles 3,4,5, and 7 had some longer inclines and the finish is a quarter-mile Hill (with a capital “H”), I had fun trying (and moderately succeeding) not to slow down at those sections.
My intent for today’s run was not to do tempo, or race pace, but out of necessity I did, the sun was setting at warp speed. I don’t get to run outside of the city very often, so when I do I like to go slower and really enjoy the smell of dirt! Seriously, cool fall air combined with the smell of dirt and dry leaves reminds me of home.
In the end, tonight’s run was a nice confidence builder, and a reminder that going comfortably fast is seriously joyful:
It always surprises me, after a run like this, that my legs feel refreshed at the end, as opposed to tired or heavy. I focused on my form and tried to remain neutral (I noted 17 mistakes/corrections) throughout the run, but I think for me the difference between running in the 8 and 9 min/mile range and the mid – 7 min/mile range is that in the 7’s I run a lot more relaxed. Weird, that.