I am a dreamer.
Today I have a down day, a day to recover my sore legs, a day to slow down with my busy family, and a day to dream about the days and weeks ahead for my hobby (running) and my work and family.
As I think back to last night I notice a marked change in my running. Not in my running style. No, not that…..my left foot is not landing straight, my right foot is telling me I need more cushioning and my right glute is saying, “You stupid girl, you ran too fast on Sunday.”
None of that mattered last night. I heard it all and I listened. But I kept forging ahead, cautiously, but with conviction.
As I ran the 2km repeats with Andrew, Kenny, and Matt, I thought only of each step. I carefully tucked in behind them as we battled the wind. I broke away on the tangent in the bend in the road to gain an advantage. We all raced down the mid-line of the road and prayed the cars would not try to come through the lights. I could see the group ahead, initially only a few seconds ahead, but gradually the gap grew.
On a workout like that I would usually count the repeats, counting them down as I might count down the pounds on a scale. But not this time. This time I stayed in the moment, steadily driving each step to stay on pace. The recovery sometimes ended a bit too soon, but I never complained. Not a singe groan escaped my lips.
I was in for the whole ride. And a ride it was.
I held tight to the group I had. The four of us battled on, using the strength of each other to keep the pace. Initially, we chatted and gave strategies for keeping the pace. I joked about my tights falling down. We joked about Matt running in shorts in this frigid weather. We glanced at our watches as we rounded the 1km marker. But gradually our words would be traded for silence as our breath quickened and our legs begged for oxygen.
We high-fived each other at the end. No one was better than the other. We were a team. As we met with the rest of the Pace and Mind group those high fives were repeated with everyone else. We didn’t ask the pace times of everyone else. We only asked how it went. Times didn’t matter, but effort did. Sure, it’s hard. Yes, we struggle. But we struggle together. We are a team that works hard together but we make our work feel like play.
Yesterday I registered for the Chilly Half Marathon. For days I couldn’t decide between this race and the Peterborough half. In Peterborough I could race for a position, likely achieving a top 3 overall female. It is a hard course with a lung-busting hill in the middle. I know the course and I am strong. I could fight for a spot on the podium and enjoy all the glory that comes with a win.
But I would be alone.
Instead, I have chosen the Chilly half marathon race. I will be well back in the middle of the pack. There will be no glory. But there will be a team. As I cross the finish line I will see my teammates in red and white ahead of me, waiting for me. And when I cross, I too will turn around and shake the hands of the Pace & Mind runners as we all make our way across the finish line. We will be a sea of red and white working together to become better runners.
As I step into my running shoes each day, I dream about the days and months ahead. I will run a marathon in a few months. There is a number I say in my head that I would love to see on the finish clock. But I say it quietly. That number doesn’t matter as much as it once did. What matters is that yesterday I ran a little bit faster than I did a month ago. And next month I will run a little bit faster again.
I will enjoy each step. Red and white will be all around me and we will work together to become a little bit better than we were yesterday.
About Pace & Mind
Pace & Mind is an advanced coaching service for runners. We offer advanced and highly customized 5k, 10k, half-marathon and marathon coaching for runners to improve their performance both on and off the road. Our coaching is based on the principles founded by Head Coach and Co-founder Rejean Chiasson, a Canadian marathon champion, 4x half-marathon medalist and Brooks Elite Ambassador. He is supported by our Online Run Coach, Kate Van Buskirk, an internationally accomplished track and field athlete, bronze medalist at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and Brooks Elite Ambassador. Unlike traditional ‘cookie-cutter spreadsheet’ or ‘clinic’ approaches to coaching, our Coaches first assesses, then customizes each runner’s training program based on:
INDIVIDUALITY * PROGRESSION * RECOVERY * MOTIVATION * COMMITMENT * COMMUNITY
Coaching programs are powered by TrainingPeaks software to ensure data accuracy. No runner’s program is the same and constantly changes season by season, cycle by cycle. Our Coaches review your plans in detail each week, then adjusts based on your progression and listens to you in terms of changes in nutrition, mental state and cross training efforts. Each runner also receives a cross-training plan and a racing singlet as part of the program.
You have one life to live. Run for your life.