Last spring was a revelation for me as I learned the art of slowing down to speed up. I dutifully strapped on my heart rate monitor every morning and forced myself to keep to a slow-motion shuffle around and around the bridle path. I made new friends with good-natured, mid-pack runners who taught me to relax and take it easy on long, fun, sociable runs around the park. I started to really ramp up my mileage, bewildered, but certainly happy that all that running didn't seem to be taking nearly the wear and tear on my body that it had in the past. I snuck in some intervals and mile repeats here and there and even the occasional quarter mile workout, but mostly it was all about not pushing myself and astonishingly, at least to me, the discipline of it all actually made me faster. It felt as if I'd finally figured out some ancient training secret that had somehow eluded me for my entire two-decade running career up to that point.
And then I managed to completely forget all of it.
With all my griping about being so slow and sore yesterday, I totally forgot about the pace I was running at this point in my training cycle last time around. And how good it felt and well it worked for me! So this morning I hit the road running exactly the same pace as I did yesterday, but this time deliberately. I logged my seven miles for the day and barely broke a sweat, though I did have to repeatedly remind myself to slooow dooowwnn. The run took quite a few minutes more than the hour I had allotted in the schedule, but it felt good. The twinges of pain from my fragile feeling legs faded to the background and for once I felt refreshed rather than exhausted when it was over. I did end up being half an hour late for work, but disgruntled employee that I am, it seemed an acceptable trade-off.