Four miles outside yesterday. Four painful, heavy, slow miles.
In reality, they weren't even that slow. That's the weird part. They were about 11:15 min/mile average, which is great for me. I turned off my 'auto pause' on the Garmin, so I know some of that time was spent waiting at stop lights. It's amazing how different a run can feel than what it actually is.
But scheez, it felt like it lasted for four hours. I think the big thing that this run showed me is that I'm not as comfortable being alone with my thoughts as I was when I was really training. I was impatient nearly the entire time. In the summer, when I was training for a marathon, I was spending anywhere from 3-4 hours running alone a week and an average of 2-3 hours a week running with friends. I think more than my physical strength (which isn't great right now since I'm still hanging on to this cough), I need to build up my mental endurance again.
Yesterday on the run, my biggest problem was boredom. I started out listening to music on Pandora. I should know better. It's way too likely I'll get annoyed by a song that's not a good tempo. Then I spend a bunch of time trying to skip a song when my phone is strapped to my arm so I can't see it. I also get way distracted every time I get a text or email. Since I was running at about 3:00 just as school was getting out, I got about five emails and every time the phone dinged I let myself wonder what it was about. Mistake.
After about two miles I switched to my audio book and then things started to get comfortable. I stopped worrying about my pace (I started out trying to keep about a 9:30-10:00 pace, which was just too fast for me to handle right now--what was I thinking, anyway?--and I was in pain) and tried to just think of the run like a nice chance to be alone with nature and my book. Suddenly it wasn't so bad, and the second half of the run was relaxing and fun.
Other thoughts, now that I'm back after a sizable break:
-My pacing is really wonky. I have no sense of how fast I am running or how hard my heart is beating. I need to start wearing my heart rate monitor again for a while until I can regain a sense of the appropriate "zone" for running.
-I need to bring my Chapstick with me. I should know better about that too.
-I remembered that I hate loopy courses. If I'm too close to home, all I want to do is quit and go back home. Out and back is always the way for me--I know exactly what to expect and I can't quit until I get back home. Next time I'll take a direct route rather than the grand tour.
-I know I'm paying for a gym, but running outside is a hell of a lot more enjoyable. I need to go back to thinking of the gym as my backup and outside as my place to run, rather than vice-versa.
I need to get to a place again where I stop watching the clock. I need to just think about heading out and enjoying where I am so I don't count down the hours. I had a good run yesterday, though. I think I'm on my way.