Be Relentless. Just Relax. Run a 6:50.
I was bouncing around the house yesterday in between hammering out portions of a guidebook that I am ghost-writing for a client. I would go into super-fixated, song-on-repeat, headphone writing mode, finish a section, log the time on my invoice, and then pop out into the living area, nearly bursting at the seams.
“What’s up with you?” Sal asked.
I held up my hands, palms out, so he could read them.
On the left hand I’d written “RELENTLESS. RELAX.” in Sharpee. On the right, “6:50″.
“You are such a freak.” he replied.
I was preparing myself for the opening timed mile of boot camp. I was getting myself up. The mile would be run on a track this time around and I knew I could go under 7:00 without issue. I set a conservative and easily attainable goal: 6:50.
I wanted to be relatively comfortable while I did it.
My biggest roadblock is my crazy, cracked-out head. I psyche myself out. I was psyched out descending the rest of the trail after I endo-ed on Sunday and I routinely psyche myself out when I hit in softball games. I associate running fast with high stress due to a high school career in a fairly high pressure cross-country and track environment.
I am good at it, but running makes me nervous.
I’m trying to work on that. Hence, the “relax” part of my internal message. I am naturally intense – I am intense in almost everything I do in life – getting up for things isn’t a problem. It’s trying not to get so far up that I’m a complete basketcase by the time I hit the line.
So all night last night I opened my hands periodically to review the gameplan. Relentless: push, be stubborn. Relax: Give yourself space, don’t get in your own way. 6:50: Get the goal.
I laid in bed last night and visualized my execution. My plan was to run a 90 second opening quarter and then try to hold pace from there. I knew I would bleed a few seconds on every consecutive lap but I would have to bleed a TON of time not to hit my goal. I calculated all the splits that would give me 7:00min so that I knew to be well under them. I envisioned the opening 90 second quarter over and over and over again.
This morning I didn’t feel all that great. My quads ached from workouts previous in the week, my stomach was a little upset. I popped a few blueberries, drove to camp, and ran a 6:46 despite missing my opening quarter time by two seconds.
After the opening lap, the rest was cake.
I was overtaken going into lap 4 by a girl who looked like she was jogging. I mean, she was dropping me like a dead weight, but she was so smooth and graceful and poised that she was making it look effortless. I noted later that she ran “like a princess” and I mean this in the best possible way. Homegirl cut a beautiful line around the track.
I might have gone with her but I was feeling so comfortable, relaxed and happy with my well-executed psychology that I decided to just run my own race, finish on pace, and wait for three weeks.
She ran a 6:30, which is my next official goal. My next unofficial goal is to hang with her until the finish (which would probably get me better than a 6:30, assuming she’s going to improve her time).
I have a rabbit.