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Jedi Mind Tricks

October 16, 2011

You always hear those sayings that long-distance running is 10% physical and 90% mental, or is it 20% physical and 80% mental? Either way, you get the idea, long-distance running is about your mindset and mental fitness more than physical ability. I think once you can run 8-10 miles, you are physically able to go much longer, it is just a matter of setting your mind to it.

I find that I have two attitudes when it comes to running; the “let’s do it and get it done” attitude and the “enjoy the moment zen” attitude. When I am running strictly for the exercise or to get it done, it can be a chore. I find myself rushing through the run, anticipating miles to go past, and generally feeling rushed and antsy. While this isn’t the most healthy attitude, sometimes it is how I am feeling, and it does get the job done in the end.

Luckily, today I was feeling zen, enjoying every moment of my run. I had no idea what was on my agenda for the rest of the day, so my long-run was and is really the highlight of my day. I was looking forward to this challenge, and may have even lost some sleep from the anticipation. I woke up and felt excited, but generally calm and not worried about the miles ahead of me. I ate some toast with banana and peanut butter, drank some coffee, geared up, and headed out.

With additional miles ahead, I carved out a new leg to my long-run and added it to the beginning. Running in a new place does wonders for your energy and motivation. The first 8 miles flew by as I was taking in the scenery and enjoying the views. Before I knew it I was halfway through the run and feeling great.

I really tried to focus on keeping my pace at 9:00 min/mile, but sometimes I looked down at my Garmin and saw I was going 8:30 min/mile or faster. I knew that I would not have the energy I needed at the end if I kept that up, so I was diligent in slowing myself down. My average pace came out to 8:58, so I was pleased with my efforts to keep my running slow and controlled.

I brought along 2 gels and some raisins, packed in my new fuel belt, which I love. I ate the first gel at mile 8 and the second at 13.5. I never felt like I needed the raisins, but they were a good energy backup, should I have hit a a wall. I also had a handful of hydration opportunities at water fountains around town. I’ve found a water fountain on the University of Hawaii campus that is cold, like ice cold, it is so amazing. I make sure I always stop at that water fountain on my run, and splash the water on my head, it is so refreshing!

I saw so much this morning while covering 17 miles- I saw the sun rise, ran around two valleys, saw beautiful mountains, ran along beaches, and checked out the ocean. It was a gorgeous morning, and I appreciated every part of it, not to mention the strength of my legs to carry me through all of it.

The post-run smoothie was epic, as always. Papaya, strawberries, bananas, blueberries, chia seeds, yogurt, soy milk, maca, and cinnamon. Lots of good stuff for a tired body.

By the way, if you ever need proof of the mood-lifting powers of exercise, please refer back to this post. I don’t think I ever sound this positive and optimistic about life đŸ™‚ Gotta love it.

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