Timing is everything. And in the end, it’s nothing. In this case, timing was perfect when yesterday, a friend read my last blog post on my ambivalence (the absolute Blacks and Whites, and the nebulous Greys) with my upcoming races, and he suggested I choose the ones that resonate with me. He also shared that he no longer times his runs. Then I read a post on Facebook from a trainer: “Use your technique as a guide for when to pull back on the pace. Technique Trumps Tempo every time.”
I let all that sit in my head for a bit. And I prepared for my run this morning. I took ibuprofin, because I’ve come to realize my headaches come back with a vengeance when I run, and that just slows me down, shortens my runs, and makes me both miserable and vomit. I meditated a bit, put on my Garmin, and I ran. It was supposed to be a short run, 3 miles. But for the first time in a really long time, I felt great, so I kept going. I decided I would keep going until it no longer resonated with me. On the third mile, random thoughts started flowing freely again, like they used to. And what my friend and the trainer said started bouncing around in my head. I didn’t look at my watch. At all.
And I kept repeating in my head what I thought the trainer said. In typical Me fashion, I thought he said “Form dictates pace.” Cut me some slack, that’s essentially what he said. So I paid mindful attention to my form, and adjusted my pace the entire run as such. I never looked at my watch to check my pace at any point. And being mindful of my form really allowed me to be present in the moment throughout the entire run. This (and the ibuprofin), made all the difference. I felt great physically and mentally. It was such a peaceful, relaxing, energizing run. I had obsessed too much with worrying about my time–I feared potentially being yanked into the short bus by race organizers as the course closed around me. Ironically, I ended up with a perfectly respectable time (for me at this point with my health issues) by not keeping tabs on my pace and letting form dictate my pace. This was also the first time my back hasn’t ached after a long run.
The perk of being so slow is that I have hours to think while running. I realized “Form dictates pace” should apply to everything in life too. Good form in life–you can think posture, body language, etc. But also, paying mindful attention, patience, grace, kindness, compassion. If you have good form in this way, and allow those techniques to dictate pace, life is a bit slower and not as hurried. And the results are also more peaceful and relaxing. Think about when we rush our kids out the door so we’re not late–when we focus on the pace: “Hurry, we’re late!” we screech. They balk. And it all goes to hell. But when we’re mindful and kind and patient, everyone eventually gets out the door, and you do end up where you need to be.
From a larger life perspective, form dictates pace as well. It does take time and energy and mindfulness to be gracious and patient and kind. That changes the pace of your everyday living, your energy, your life, and the lives around you. It slows you down, and this can lead to priorities shifting. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Having such a successful run today had me thinking I could do all the races. And I realized by trying to decide which Grey to pick, I had turned each of those into a Black or White. When I just want to run all three races, and see which shade of Grey I end up with. I might not finish any, I might finish some, I might finish all. But I want to try. Because in the end, timing means nothing. Because running in itself resonates with me. Screw the pace and sag wagon. I need to focus on my running form and my patience and mindfulness form. And the Greys will shake out as they will.