Someone on a marathoner message board asked that question--that got me thinking.
I always had a vision of myself as an experienced runner. I would be gliding effortlessly along the path/trail/road. My legs and arms moving gracefully, my breath even.
(Sound of record screeching) Nope that's sure not me--at least not all the time. I find that as I progress, I still work hard--not because I am working to run at the same pace, but because I want to continue to improve my running.
Saturday I had one of those endorphin runs. I got to the end of my run and discovered I had more in my tank than I thought and was able to maintain a faster than usual pace and still run hard at the end of the run. It was one of those runs that makes you believe you have made a break through--at least until tonight.
Tonight's run was hard. It was actually for 10 less minutes than the Saturday run. I ran out on a trail I hadn't run yet this year. My mile splits were not what I wanted them to be and I started making all kinds of excuses--"It's hot" , "I didn't wait long enough after dinner", "I'm just having a bad run", "This part of the trail is rocky (it actually was) and I need to be careful here". I had a whole list and I started to drop into my misery.
I turned around at 25 minutes and headed back. I started to think about my run and told myself that I knew every run wouldn't be an endorphin moment--they couldn't all be. Every great, fantastic run is built on the blocks of the not so great feeling runs around them. I decided to get all that I could out of my run. I told myself I need to work on my form--knees up, arms down, shoulders back and relaxed, head up. I fell into the rhythm of my run. When I wanted to slow I told myself to go on, to be faithful, to be strong.
I negative split the run by 1:30--that's a pretty huge margin for me! Maybe it wasn't a horrible run after all, or maybe it just stopped being one when I changed my attitude.