This week, in many different ways, I’m finding motivation by letting go and chilling out.
This started last Thursday, when my usual 8-minute-mile pace group with Pacers Silver Spring headed out for a relaxed, chatty run, saying we’d do 8:30 to 9-minute miles. I failed to start my watch, and at first, I was annoyed by my lack of pace-finding mechanisms. But then, I just sort of went with it. We cut about a block off of the end of the run and walked it in for a cool-down, and immediately tried to figure out our pace. We ran about 5.5 miles, and finished our run in about 44 minutes. Which equates to … 8-minute miles? Really? What we just did? Go figure …
Taking a lax approach to a low-key Candy Cane City 5K on Saturday had the same effect. We decided we’d be doing the race on Friday, and all I did to prep for it was take Friday off. We ate enchiladas (thanks for the recipe, Heather!) and chilled out at home on Friday night. That morning, I dug some running clothes out of the dryer, ate a Luna bar and headed to the starting line with absolutely no pace or time expectations. I just ran how I felt, and ended up with a 23:32 — 7:34-minute miles. That’s a good time for me – not a PR, but well within my “good race” range. The race itself was low-key and laid-back — no chip timing, only a couple hundred local runners racing — and that proved to be exactly what I needed after the hoopla of the Marine Corps Marathon.
Other motivations this week:
A few new songs. I am in love with “This Year” by the Mountain Goats. It was the first song on my 5K playlist, and I now have a lovely race-day memory attached to it. Also, the Yankees’ win last week has me newly in love with “Empire State” by Jay-Z and Alicia Keyes. I’ve even attached a personal motivational message to it: If the Yankees can rebound from several rough years with a beautiful season like this past one, certainly, I can overcome a single bad marathon.
The Bethesda-Chevy Chase Turkey Chase 10K on Thanksgiving. This looks to be the same kind of low-key, just-for-fun race as the Candy Cane City 5K. Though the Turkey Chase will undoubtedly be larger — roughly 7,000 people ran it last year — turkey trots always foster an atmosphere of fun rather than competition. Plus, the relatively short distance (compared to, say, tacking on 20 miles to the start) eases my mind about race-day prep. With a 10K, you can sort of just pick up and go.
A Quadballer on its way to my apartment. This fits right into the chill-out spirit of motivation — it’s a hard-core version of a foam-roller, and I can’t wait to treat myself to a pseudo-massage with it when it arrives!
Finally, this week, I’m motivated by all the stuff I feel like I can do now that I’m in between marathons. I hiked Old Rag in the Shenandoah with Steve and some friends on Sunday, and didn’t worry a bit about potential ankle twists/hip strains/workouts missed. At an amazing dinner at the Thornton River Grille in Sperryville, Va., I didn’t hesitate before ordering a glass of really awesome-looking local Chardonnay aged in steel barrels. And I actually had the time to mess around with my Web site to change the domain name, update my clips, etc.
What’s motivating you this week? Any fabulous new songs to help round out my in-progress turkey-trot playlist? Let me know by posting a comment!