A Running Experiment

Today called for a long aerobic run but I didn’t know how far or how fast I planned to run…so I decided to have a little fun with myself.  About 3 years ago, I did a run where I just put on heart rate monitor and ran.  I didn’t look at anything other than heart rate, in fact, I put tape over the timer on my state-of-the-art-Polar.  I just ran until I felt like being done running; I ended up with 8 miles at about an 8:18/mile pace.

I did the same today.  Strapped on my Garmin and took off the displays except for heart rate.  No time, no distance, no mile-notifications displayed out the the hundredth of a second, no average pace.  My goal was to keep my HR below 160 (which is top of zone 1) and just run…for however long or not long I chose.   Moreover, today’s goal was to find my love for running again and remind myself to appreciate that I can just go out and run xyz miles on a whim.

I brought along one eGel just in case I was feeling good and decided to run long-ish, and I’m glad I did.  A while in to my run (no clue what time or distance it was) I decided to take my eGel and keep running; it was feeling effortless today.  I ran a different route than any other I usually run, all over the beautiful streets of Charlotte, enjoying the slightly cooler and less-pollen filled air today due to the storms we’ve been having.

It was honestly one of the best, most stress free, enjoyable runs I’ve ever had.  When I got home, I kind of wished I had kept running.  I just felt good today.  When I downloaded and checked my Garmin stats, I ended up with 11.28 miles in 1:27 or an average pace of ~7:55/mile.  What I found interesting was every mile ranged from 7:53-8:02, which is a pretty small window given the ups and downs I was running.  My average HR was 155 on the nose with max of 166 (as I ran up East Blvd).

What I found more interesting is that I stopped at ~11.25 miles.  I specifically remember looking at my watch at Quintiles last weekend and seeing 11.26 or something thereabouts and thinking, “I’m ready to be done with this.”  I thought that was a funny coincidence, if nothing else.  Too bad there are no 68.45 mile races, instead of 70.3’s.

I hope everyone had a good weekend also.  I’m sitting at my computer for what feels like the first time I’ve sat down all day!  I’ll rest when I’m dead.

Though I realize every run can’t be lolligagging around Charlotte in HR zone 1 if I want to keep getting faster, but I sure did enjoy today!  I needed the reminder than I AM getting faster.  No, I’m not yet setting any world records, nor will I ever set any world records, but I’m improving year after year and that’s all I can hope for.

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