I have been working on running in the moment and focusing on the here and now and not how fast this next mile needs to be or how much that last split sucked. That's all well and good, but I still struggle. Cue mrp. He is really the best. Saturday night we discussed this over dinner.
"So what do you think I need to do to not run like a tense freak?"
"You think too much. Quit thinking and run."
"No buts. Just run. You have the physical capabilities to reach your goals. So get out there, quit thinking and run. Left foot. Right foot."
He's right. On Sunday I woke up early and headed to a towpath at the local National Park to do my big marathon paced long run all by myself. It was me against me. I warmed up: 8:03, 7:58, 7:48, 7:46 and then I started my very own half marathon at marathon pace/effort. I still don't have a real goal. I ran what felt like marathon pace: 7:10, 7:07, 7:00, 6:58, 6:57, 7:11 (chocolate gu = bad); 6:59; 6:58; 7:00; 6:57; 6:59; 6:52; 6:48 (and then .12 more for good measure). Half a marathon in 1:31:50. I then gimped along for 3.4 more miles and finished 20.5 miles averaging 7:22 pace.
Every time I started to think I pictured a bulldozer clearing my head and I replaced the space with "You're doing great. Execute the plan." I was allowed to have thoughts about things I was sensing: smells, sights, etc. and I was allowed to positively visualize the marathon, but otherwise nothing about running other than my little mantra there. It really helped a lot. It was kind of a lot of work to keep battling the thought creep, but I did it. I am more proud of that than the actual workout!