Monday, July 13, 2015

It's not Rocket Surgery

Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.-- Henry Ford

I went for an easy ten mile run today. The point was to actually stay under control and maintain the same pace throughout the run. I wanted to focus on my stride and use a little energy as possible. That was a good plan except for I couldn't resist the urge to go off of the planned route. Typically when I change the route, I tend to surge or decelerate because of the uncertainty. The tangent part of the run was incredible.

I set out to do a five mile out and back on the Atlanta Beltline. The Beltline is pretty flat and i wouldn't have to worry about getting lost. As I ran happily on the Beltline I ran to the end of it. At least it was the end of part of the Beltline. Directly in front of me was Piedmont park and what they call a PATH lane alongside the park. Before I began to run that lane, I could see the steep incline of the coming hill. So much for the easy 10 miler. I start to run up the hill on a long straight path and then I see an entrance to the park. I ignore it... that's not the plan I tell myself. Then I see another one. Crap, it looks so cool in there. I ignore it anyway... that's not part of the plan. Finally, I just can't do it Captain, I don't have the power; to ignore an entrance into the premier park in the city of Atlanta.

On top of going into unchartered territory, kind of like Columbus, the park had significantly more shade. It was 90 degrees when I ran and probably 90 percent humidity. I'm looping around and carefully picking my turns. Then I see a Trail Rules sign. The first thought into my mind, why not? The first step is to admit that you have a problem. I do have a problem. I am from the rough and tumble neighborhood of Brownsville, Brooklyn, New York and we didn't get green space like that. On top of that, running is a cool individual sport. It becomes even cooler and more liberating on a trail. One can just lose themselves by focusing on the ground beneath. 

The unfortunate thing is that I went out with the goal in mind to take it easy and potentially find a go to 10 mile route. Runners, I believe, have many go to routes. For instance, one might have a 3 mile route, a 5 mile route or a loop that they can get to consistently and show off to their friends. I really wanted to focus on my aerobic running. I read recently that aerobic running is the running that burns oxygen and not sugar. Therefore, because oxygen is easier to produce than anything else, the body should be more efficient. Granted right now I am absolutely bothering scientific facts but it made me think. I kept my pace steady and I forced myself to not work too hard. That is until I begin to bounce around the rocks on the trail like  fifth grader, at recess, on  a sugar high. 

I couldn't wait to see the next turn or next adventure. By the time I came out of the forest like Daniel Day Lewis in "The Last of the Mohicans" I had spent more energy than I had liked and my pace was all over the place. Despite the less than successful outcome in my experiment today, I find myself wanting to better understand how the body actually works. I don't want to think on the run but I do what to coach and train myself to perform at a higher level. Running, more than many people think, is a game of strategy and process. The longer one goes, the more they need to think about every move.

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