Friday, October 18, 2013

Looking for my "Happy Pace"!

Today was a long run day for me - probably my last one on a Friday until the school year ends. I am now running too far and the sun is coming up too late for it to be practical for me to run long on a school day! That's OK, though! I was only doing it on Friday to allow for a long ride on Saturday morning, and it's getting too cold to do that, either. So I'll bump everything back a day and make Friday my rest day!

Today was pretty nice, though - cool and a little humid. I went to the park and set out to do 8.5 miles with one purpose: to see if I could find the sweet spot of running again, my "Happy Pace"! I used to be able to dial it in so easily. I can remember thinking, and even saying a few times, "I could run like this FOREVER!" I haven't been able to find that place again since The Injury of 2011.

I thought today would be a good day to try to play around with it. My legs are tired because I added my lower body strength work back into my routine now that my tap class isn't so overwhelming. And tomorrow I have a 40 mile bike ride on the schedule, so I need to preserve my legs. "Low and slow" would be the motto of the day, and perhaps that would be the way to find that sweet spot.

I knew I wouldn't find it in the first 3 miles. I never have. The first 2.5 to 3 miles of a run has always been a struggle. Today wasn't much different, but it wasn't horrible either. I didn't use my watch except to make sure that I wasn't going out too fast. That has been too easy lately. I get moving too fast, and then I can't slow down effectively, and then I use up all my fuel, and then I end up feeling like crap and wondering why I'm running at all. NOT the sweet spot! Today my goal was to feel like everything was easy, and then slow down a little more! I really focused on slowing down, even when I didn't feel like I needed to!

Finally, in the 4th mile, I felt it. It was brief, but I definitely felt it! It had been SO long since I felt that feeling. I didn't get my hopes up too much since I still had more than 4 miles to go. It's easy to feel like you can keep going forever when you're not even halfway through your workout! LOL

And I did feel it again. I think the longest it lasted was about 4-5 minutes at a time, but that's OK. Now that I have felt the Sweet Spot again, it should be easier to find it again! SO very exciting! I also did my 8.5 miles which is my longest run without walk intervals! Another milestone to record! I did have some twinges in the last mile, but I expected them because of my strength training this week. I did some extra stretching and rolling and I'm feeling fine. Most importantly, when I finished - I FELT LIKE I COULD HAVE KEPT GOING!! WOOHOO!!

During my cool down walk, I snapped this picture of this beautiful early fall scenery in Georgia! It's only going to get more beautiful in the next couple of weeks, especially because we're expecting a cold snap soon!

Who wouldn't feel great when this is where you get to run?!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend - and may you find your own Sweet Spot in whatever you attempt!



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