"Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired.”

- George S. Patton, U.S. Army General, 1912 Olympian

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hello, Monday

I wouldn't normally blog about a mundane Monday run, but yesterday was not a mundane Monday run. Let me start by saying I came across a book yesterday called Running Within: a guide to mastering the body-mind-spirit connection for ultimate training and racing. I read the intro and first few pages on Google books before the page feed ended, but immediately went to my local library's website to reserve it (it will be here tomorrow--can't wait to get into it).

From the few pages I did read, I gathered that the author's premise is we all have our physical limits--but most of us perform far below those limits, only at a level we think we are capable of. If we only knew where our actual limits were we would be shocked. The purpose of their writing is to help individual break through those limits on a mental, physical and spiritual level and get closer to achieving what we are actually capable of.

One particular example shared in Chapter One was to choose a time or pace about 7% faster than what you know you can run right now. If it sounds completely unrealistic, then move it back to 6%, or 5%, or whatever level is required before you think to yourself, "maybe." There's a few other exercises the authors take you through to determine a realistic, attainable goal, but the basic idea was to figure out where you want to go.

That's where the Google books link ended, but while I wait for my copy of the book to arrive, I figured what 7% off of my current pace would be. I took 7:45/min as an average pace that I can run at any distance up to about 8 miles right now (my Saturday 8-miler was pretty easy, and done at 7:51). 7% off of a 7:45 pace puts me at 7:12. That immediately caught my eye, because 7:17 is my Boston Marathon Qualifier pace for my age and gender (and works out to be 6% off of my current pace). 6%. Just 6%. That seems within reach, doesn't it?

With that in mind I went out and ran 4.25 miles at a 7:31 pace. It felt good. Up hill, down hill it didn't matter. And the sun was setting. And it was the perfect temperature (just a tad into chilly). And there wasn't a breath of wind. It's not lost on me that 4.25 miles isn't 26.2 miles. Nor is a 7:31 pace a 7:12 or 7:17 pace. But it's a starting point. And as I've seen in my progressively longer Saturday runs, I'm able to maintain a fairly consistent pace regardless of distance.

I'm excited to get my hands on the book and work through the exercises. Maybe improving my pace by 6% is nothing more than breaking through my perceived physical limitations. Why not?
Diet update: I ate nothing but fruit yesterday. I didn't plan on doing this, I just didn't ever get around to eating anything else. My day consisted of a morning an evening smoothie (each consisting of 4 oranges, 4 frozen bananas, 2 regular bananas and two servings of strawberries), 6 bananas throughout the day, and multiple bottles of water. This morning I've finished off another smoothie (same as yesterday plus a green apple) a few more bananas and some water.

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