At mile 11 of my long run today I stopped and walked onto the beach since it was low tide. I looked north across Tampa Bay to see the Sunshine Skyway bridge. It was so calm, peaceful, still, and cloudy with a light rain. I just looked around at all the beauty and felt at ease. Robinson Preserve is one of my favorite places to run because of how calm and peaceful it is. I love taking in all the sights and sounds of the wind, birds chirping, fish jumping out of the water, pelicans diving in, and unknown little critters scurrying in the bushes.
I started my run slower today and decided not to focus on pace since I raced yesterday. I ran easy and really enjoyed letting my thoughts wander. My marathon training plan calls for very specific paces on all three of my key runs each week. But since I did race yesterday and ran a total of 8 miles I gave myself a day off from pace so I could enjoy a true Long Slow Distance run with no pressure.
At the end of this 18 mile run I actually ran faster. My last two miles were the fastest of the day at 7:59 and 7:47 respectively. I just ran how I felt. I guess I was feeling negative splits! My long run goal pace was supposed to be 8:40 for this run…if I hadn’t raced the day before. I ended up at 8:47 pace without checking the Garmin during the run, starting out slower, and just running how I felt. I was totally amazed. I was able to just run, let my mind wander, enjoy the experience, and still be pretty close to my scheduled pace.
Runs like today remind me why I run. I think it’s important to find meaning in running. “Running one might say is basically an absurd pastime upon which to be exhausting ourselves. But if you can find meaning in the kind of running you have to do to stay on this team, chances are you’ll be able to find meaning in another absurd pastime: life.” – Bill Bowerman
Today reminded me of one reason I run. Why do you run? To inspire others? To win awards? To set Personal Records? For personal satisfaction? To slow down the aging process? We all seek peer recognition from time to time but ultimately, is what others think of us our reason to run? Why do you lace up those shoes and head out the door each day, week, month, year?