Friday, January 7, 2011

Today’s words: pacing, and allowing.

I was busy yesterday all day with Reiki and a voice lesson – more on that in a second – and consequently didn’t do my normal Thursday run until this morning. For no particular reason (meaning, “because I’m competitive, and I can’t believe my high school classmate Blyth is running seven minute miles”), I’ve been egging myself to go faster. A few weeks ago, my default setting was probably between a 9:42 and 10:00 pace. No great shakes. I can keep it up for miles, and if I had someone to run with, I’d be able to chat.

Figuring out what level of effort I can sustain has only been possible with my shiny new Garmin 205. A few weeks ago, I learned I can knock off an 8:28 pace for at least one interval (I run 7 minutes and walk 1 minute; it’s a Galloway thing I got into when training for last summer’s half-marathon). But I crashed soon thereafter with ~9:40 intervals. So clearly, consistent 8:30 minute miles are still a bit beyond me.

On today’s run, I found a sweet spot of about 8:45 or 8:50. It was definitely work – a chat would not have been possible – but I was able to keep it up for most of the run.

The funny part is, that after the first interval, I felt kinda beat, and knowing I was only 25% of the way through my run, I decided to slow down a bit. Imagine my surprise when my second interval was only a few seconds slower than my first. And my third interval was faster than either. I finally managed to dial it down on my last interval – down to a 9:22 pace, still much faster than my default setting of just a few weeks ago. I’m psyched! Blyth would still completely leave me in the dust, but I expect she’s just got natural speed mojo, and that’s how God wants it. (Plus I expect that she busts her butt to pull that off.)

What I found interesting about all this was how tricky it is to find a pace that challenges me, but that does not wipe me out. Because one thing I’ve learned about myself is that I tend to put myself in situations where I am pushing myself pretty hard (while, incidentally, chastising myself silently for being lazy), and then suddenly, I’m cooked. I’m toast. And the rebound from those situations – whether it’s needing to take a break from running for a week because of one foolish long day, or needing to, um, take a 16-month-and-counting break from paid employment, can be quite…alarmingly prolonged.

Whoa, too many words. Let’s take a quick break:


If Maggie were any closer to the woodstove, she’d be IN the woodstove.

On to the other theme of the day. Allowing.

I’ve been bartering Reiki for voice lessons, and yesterday I had my second lesson. It blew my mind. Now, I can definitely sing; as a kid, I’d sing harmony with my friends whenever I got the chance; I got a voice solo in the 9th grade musical and the lead in the 12th grade musical, I was in both chorus and the smaller madrigal group, blah blah blah. I’m not saying this to boast. I’m just saying, and please to note the quotation marks here – I know how to sing.


Turns out that, like most grown-ups, I’ve developed all kinds of hang-ups, and I try too hard. Turns out that the best sound comes from just…allowing. Apparently, the trick to singing is to pretty much relax – not in a slumpy way; there’s definitely some careful attention to posture and so on – but pretty much relax and just…allow the sound to come out.

Wait: you mean the very best of me, will just kind of…emerge…without my having to micro-manage, control, try, worry, and stress myself out? Really? Huh. Who knew?

Now let’s take that…and apply it to the rest of my life.

And that’s where my head exploded, you know, from the dazzling simplicity of it. Naturally, I want to illustrate just how mind-blowing this was, and this is what the google provided. No, it’s not revelant, but it did make me laugh.



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