Not sure why the running Gods conspire for rain whenever 1000's are on the menu- but they do! Tonight I made it out to the App. St. track with standing water on the inside of lane 1 and me garbed in pants and jacket for the first time this season. Kind of exciting though I am not all that eager for the covering of skin to be a neccessity... today it was more of a luxury for the way home.
After an extended warm up, my little locks frosted with the microscopic droplet of mist, I arrived at the track to find not a soul on the ring of fire. I'd have the fog-enshrouded oval to myself and I would run 5 loops of 1000m at 3:25; 5k pace with a 400m recovery.
A few strides and I was underway, checking the splits at 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m and finally coming in stressed out at 3:30 for the first 1000m. I was trying to stay undercontrol- surely accomplished that, but I seem to be working against myself. Not running free- which is the point of any running, but especially when on the track. Free and fast!
I decided and committed to not checking my watch except at the end of each 1000m, to feel the moment of the turn, the straights. Onto number two. The rain was getting heavier and I focused on the arm swing and drive.
'Run FAST' I told myself. With this in mind I could feel my body's momentum pick up so slightly and feeling this speed I was able to hone in, not on effort but on the rate of speed in space. I came through in 3:22 and felt much better as well. More relaxed, more open, more at ease.
Now I was calibrated. The rains continued to pour down on me. Cleansing the thoughts and allowing the moment to be all there is. Ripping through the ether, driving so smoothly out of, then entering each renewed step. Water splashed from the track surface, drops coating my face, and with each exhalation a fine spray blew outward from my mouth. Number 3 3:25. Right on the mark.
As the recovery came to a close I was feeling water logged and threw the "dry-fit" off to the side. Getting down to business for number 4. Allowing myself to extend a little further and open the stride with more freedom at this point.
'This is the hard one,' I always think. 'The second to last. Make it count.'
As my thoughts tried to wander to the next 300m, to the turn ahead I reigned the mind in and brought upon a concert of the elements. The rain had eased and in its place was a silent, soft breeze. The air was weightless and my breathing was deep, rhythmic. This place is rarely visited, this place where the body is tuned into the intense work at hand, moving along with the exact effort required. Nothing wasted, no thoughts but for the job at hand. Number 4- 3:23.
As the grey sky became tinted and lightened with an ambiguous sun I reached the beginning of the final circuit of 1000 meters. This one I could go for and see what was left. I did not want to strain the body in the colder conditions, but feeling loose enough I did want to strain the spirit- allowing it to grow in this brothe of fatigue. The elements were there today to find a special ingredient. Now, I would drink of it.
"600m to go, now ratchet down, a little further, a bit faster, right here. Nice."
Holding the speed for 300m, emmersed in this feeling of the world spinning around. The whirl about your head as your mind is held to one singular thought- while the body works in concert with what is asked. After initial feelings of resistance the bodies is able to realize the goodness of this movement and now with mind and body together they each ask for more. They plead.
300m to go and now it is all there, almost. The surface is being glided over, are the feet even touching the ground? Running tall, striding out, arms driving ahead it is pointless to distinguish between running and flying.
A final turn now. It is time to go all out. These few seconds of complete speed are what will be remembered! The relaxed mind, while determined for success has a compliant body to rely upon. The spirit is soaring above these earthly elements giving rise to these fleeting feelings which fade like so many steps behind us.
Euphoria is the lingering impression we carry with us. Another physical deposit to the fitness bank, a progression of toughness in the mind, and the ever important cultivation of the soul's soil. All completed, experienced one moment at a time. Don't get ahead, nor behind- but simply be.