Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Chasing and Being Chased

Just a thought I had while running yesterday.

I have my group runs on Tuesdays. Usually it is just an easy day, and I have no plans to do speed work. But darned if every dang time I end up going faster than planned. I blame the others.

I think it is just human nature. Or maybe my long ago track training and competitiveness kicking in. I usually start out slow and have a little conversation, but then I will see someone up ahead, and I just automatically want to go catch them. Having a rabbit out there in front of the greyhounds just makes you want to go get it! Even when I don't really think it, there is some subconscious desire that makes me speed up a bit. So by mile 2 I am usually working harder than I should. And once you get up to speed, it is darn near impossible to slow down much.

Yesterday was a good example. Mile 1, a pedestrian 9:14. taking it easy, running with a friend. But I was picking up the pace, and left her behind near the end of mile 1. And there was another buddy up ahead...I figure I might as well catch him and run with him. But he is accelerating too...I thought I was controlled, but the pace kept getting faster and faster. Mile 2 came in at 7:58!

By then I had caught him, and we were maintaining 8 minute pace together. I tried to relax and slow down, but...mile 3 was 8:06. I turned back for home at 2.7 and was alone again. No one in sight to chase. I was able to relax. Mile 4 was 8:25. Much better.

But then I heard some foot steps behind me. I looked back and saw a guy about 10 yards back. He was going at about my pace. Whatever, I kept going. But instincts are funny. Hearing those footsteps made me feel like the rabbit being chased. Fight or flight kicks in (Well, flight anyway) And I gradually watched my pace drop. To 8:10, 8:05, 8:00, 7:55. He seemed to very slowly be catching me, but basically staying behind me. And I felt (subtly) the need to stay in front of him. This lasted about 3/4 mile before I guess he had enough and went by me with a surge and I let him go. Mile 5, 7:50

Then I could relax a bit. Jogged up the steep hill toward the end and cruised it in. 8:54 pace for the last 1/2 mile. A nice little run where I felt my innate humanity. Running is fun.

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