Yep, you read it correctly. I'm finally at the point where I feel comfortable going it alone. I became so attached that I didn't realize that I was holding back as a result. It's been a great three years, but it's time I do my own thing for a bit. This isn't a permanent separation, but I just will be going it alone more often than before.....
....I'm speaking of my Ipod, which has been my wingman for every single training run and race since I began my running adventures back in 2008 (with the exception of the CLE 1/2 Marathon, Ipods weren't allowed back in the day!).
I plan on continuing to use it here and there for my longer distance training runs and easy runs. But for my speed workouts and short-distance races, I'm going to be leaving it at home! Why am I hanging up on the Ipod for these occassions? I've found that my Ipod tends to be more of a distraction when I'm trying to go fast, and I feel that I may be able to focus better without it. The cord is dangling from my ears, the Ipod holder is strapped on to my arm and gets sweaty, I can't listen to my breathing, I usually miss out on the experience of people cheering me on and encouraging me, and as I said yesterday, my indicator for being "off" in a race is when I'm paying attention to my music. Although listening to my favorite songs gets my heart rate going and gets me pumped up, I've evolved into an incredibly conscientious and serious runner over the years. I'm not sure I need that motivation now like I used to...just getting out on the road is enough for me!!! I truly love running. :-)
I did a test-run today, and went solo for the first time on the track. I was scheduled 4X800, and had an AWESOME workout despite the extreme heat/humidity which is nearly inescapable this week. I learned from this workout that over the past 3 years of running, I've NEVER paid attention to my breathing. How the heck I've gotten this far is beyond me. LOL. I did my first 800 repeat around the track and my breathing was horrendous. I was breathing so heavy and erratic, but nailed it at a 5:30min/mi pace. I took a brief 400 meter jog, and then nailed the second, but much slower around 6:00min/mi pace. My breathing was much more controlled this time around, since I was actually paying attention! It was very HOT so I had some water with me that I got down before my third repeat, which was around a 6:10min/mi. My fourth repeat, that I swear I was in a daze or something because it went by super fast, was about a 6:20min/mi. Did I need the Ipod for the success? NOPE! I was good to go. I have a 30 minute tempo scheduled for tomorrow, and I'll attempt this one Ipodless as well!!
The real test will come with the 5K Saturday. I've come to realize that I haven't been focusing on my own breathing, but fear that it will be VERY annoying listening to other people breathing as well. But, it's something I need to get used to. If I ever want to win money at a big marathon (just sayin'...:-) ), I have to do it Ipodless. You cannot be considered for prize money if you are wearing an Ipod. USATF sets these rules to ensure runners aren't coached throughout the race.
Looking forward to this heat wave ending!!! I hate to wish time away, but I can't wait for the fall. It's been my favorite time of year since I was a little girl...and now with running I love it even more!!! :-)
Stay cool. Stay hydrated. But not too hydrated! :-)