A virtuous cycle

I’m on a roll. I am happy with work and family, and, more importantly in the scope of my training blog, I am finally able to run over 30km a week, and I enjoy running more and more. My long runs are often 20km. But I can’t really explain why I’m this happy about it. My head has changed this spring.

I have always had the feeling that stuff just happens, and I don’t know why. In fifth grade I sucked at maths and sports, and after a summer of sitting in the back of my mothers car and listening to techno music on my walkman, I would come back to school, and suddenly be one of the best students, especially at maths and physical education. And much taller. How weird is that? And how unpredictable?

Mother nature evened out all that over the next few years, but I think it taught me that you can work hard at something and not succeed, and then, when some external factor changes, suddenly it’s almost too easy. In other words, since then I haven’t been trying so hard. Don’t get me wrong; I like working hard, but I have still just been floating along. You could call it being mentally lazy or easygoing, depending on your point of view.

The first time I took an active step to change something I thought was an external, unchangeable factor, was a few years ago when I decided to lose weight. I think I reached a point where I didn’t feel well, and I started to get afraid of diabetes. So I googled “weight loss”, and read a lot of far out shit (pardon my French, but dieting is one sick business), and then I settled on just eating vegetables and meat for half a year, no bread. Lots and lots of vegetables. And the fat just disappeared before my eyes like magic! I was shocked! I looked completely different, and felt different too. I remember going for a run, and I felt like I was flying.

A couple of years later I was still more or less the same weight, and I started running regularly. That lead to some more googling to avoid hurting my weak knees, and again I found a lot of far out stuff, (like how you can run by letting gravity pull you forward, LOL), and it eventually led to me buying some so-called barefoot shoes, and instantly being able to run 10km in under an hour without breaking a sweat. At that point I hadn’t run farther than 4km since ninth grade! That was the easy part that just happened. Since then I have been running a lot less than I wanted to, usually held back by nagging pain in different weird places in my lower legs. Since 2011 I’ve averaged at just over 10km a week, and not of my own will. This blog started a means to keep me focused on running while my legs rested.

But lately I seem to have entered a good rhythm, and I think it’s the combined effect of eating more healthily (again) and the exercise. It shouldn’t be a shocker, but I am still amazed at how much my state of mind has changed! Right now I feel like it’s the most natural thing in the world to exercise five hours a week and eat a full grain, low fat diet. Like it’s always been this way.

So however lost I may be, seems I’ve been doing something right. And suddenly, all by itself, I am starting to get a bit more competitive with my running. Not like winning prizes competitive, but I just want to be better than someone who also makes an effort. Until now I’ve been running my own race, which is great, but now I want to add an element of competition to it as well. I went running with the shoe shop harriers today, and since some of the faster guys weren’t there, I was suddenly one of the fastest runners, and that really charged my batteries: I ran my 1km laps at about 4:30 and some of the 400m laps at 3:12min/km pace, which is a speed unheard of for me. And it felt so easy. I’ve felt for a long time that there is some “gear” there that I very rarely enter, but which is relatively economical, e.g. feels easy. Now if I could just work up the shape to actually stay in that zone a bit longer…

To start it off, I’m going to beat my 5k record of 23:22. This Thursday. No more playing around. I’m never getting under 20 minutes if I don’t apply myself. And my 10km time of about 51 minutes? I set it while trying to keep my heart rate low. Maybe I am a bit lazy after all?


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