30 November 2009

The best dumb thing I've done in a while

After basically taking the holiday weekend off from running, I decided today was a must run day.  I took off this morning thinking I'd run my typical 3 to 4 miles.  My usual route is to just head north out of town on a gravel road until I get to the first intersection, then turn around and come back.  That first intersection north of town is almost exactly 2 miles from my house, so it's a nice easy way to tell how far I've run.  When I got to that intersection this morning, I was feeling good and thought, "It sure would be a waste to turn around now.  Let's see how much farther I can go."  So I kept running past my usual turn around spot...something I'd never done before. 

Figuring that, like in most flat, rural areas, these must be "section roads" laid out to form a grid of 1 square mile blocks, I thought maybe I'd just try to run to the next intersection.  As I kept running, though, the next intersection still wasn't on the horizon.  I just kept running, thinking there's no use in turning around when I'm sure it's just up ahead.  Finally, I found another intersection and turned around.  When I started running back, I realized I had gone a lot farther than I had meant to and my legs started screaming at me.  It wasn't until I got home and looked at a map that I realized that on that particular section, the grid is in 2 square mile blocks, so I ended up running an additional 4 miles!  I didn't set out to run 8 miles when I left this morning, but that's what I did!  Needless to say, I was beat when I got home, but it felt good to know that I can push myself farther than I thought possible.  It made me think that maybe I shouldn't get so hung up on how far I'm going to run, and just run the distance that feels right for that day. 

I learned a couple other things about my running, too.  When my legs were getting really tired, I could slow my pace and recover while still running.  I only walked for less than 5 minutes out of the whole run.  Toward the end, I also realized that I could keep going if I kept setting managable goals.  "Just run to the next sign."  "Just run to that house."  "Run to the railroad tracks." and so on until I made it home.  Somewhere along the way I'd learned that breaking a big task down into managable goals is a key to success, and maybe that's something I'm finally taking to heart through running, too.


Ben's Random Rhetoric said...

You didn't just blackout all of a sudden? I say that because that's usually the reason for me ending up four miles away from my house without realizing it.