Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Progress Can Only Be Achieved Through Discomfort

The superior man thinks always of virtue; the common man thinks of comfort.-- Confucius

Yesterday I did an early morning 8 mile run. It is the first of its kind. By that I mean it is the first under a different set of circumstances. My staple run is the 6 miler out and back. I've been running it as my key run for years. I remember, maybe 7 years ago, I sent my brother-in-law a text saying, the 60 minute workout is the key to fitness success. At the time, 6 miles took about an hour. I realized that my body reacted to that level of exercise. So I stuck with it. Even after it became less than 60 minutes, I enjoyed the distance and the work required in the 10k.

Years later, it is still my go to run but now its time to seek out that "aha" fitness moment with a new distance. Training on 6 miles have taken me through countless races from 5k to Marathon. I usually race and train based on those times. But in order to get to the next level I had to move to something different method of training. My ultimate goal as I said before is to run 10 miles in the morning, every day, like I run 6 now. Running 8 gets me a little bit closer to that goal. I didn't just want to wake up and do 8 miles, I wanted to start a new journey. Usually my new journeys begin with... you guessed it, a new play list.

I decided to run to Jazz. I ran according to my program so I had to keep pace. Since my last Marathon in April, I haven't thought about how fast or slow I'm going. I just run for the love and I run according to feel. I used to listen to Jazz when I studied so as I embark on a different type of run with a different purpose, I wanted to get lost in the music while I remain focused on my body and my pace. It started off with Dizzy Gillespie, "A Night in Tunisia". That song is long enough to be about a mile worth of music, depending on pace. It also has a introductory feel, like you are starting a show or something but it is still interesting and complicated enough to not be forgotten like most introductions.

My playlist then transitioned into John Coltrane, ""A Love Supreme, Part III: Pursuance". This song starts beautifully. As you move to begin work on your second mile you are usually warmed up and ready to move at normal pace. It takes 90 seconds for the song to really begin, much like the run. After that, it's like 9 minutes of "get up and go", multi-directional, beautiful sound that will pull you into mile 3.

At this point you are into your run and not really surging anymore, nor are you dropping speed dramatically. Miles Davis', "All Blue", is a very consistent and smooth piece of music that will keep the pace without boring you. There are a few points that the rhythm of the song will change just enough to reming you that Miles Davis was a genius and that you still have 4 miles to go.

After mile 4 or so I panicked in the dark as I could not see the ground so I lost track of the order of the songs. I do remember things that stood out that were simply an enjoyable addition to the run. "St. Thomas", by Sonny Rollins was great at the back end of a run because it's upbeat without causing mayhem. Dave Brubeck's, "Take Five" took the edge off of a difficult stretch of the course. "Koko", by Charlie Parker was the mayhem causing piece of music that under different circumstances would have been great. It just arrived at the wrong time.

Except for a stretch of about 1.5 miles I truly loved everything about the run. The course, the pace and the playlist were terrific.

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