Two important things happened last week. I broke my 2 mile limit barrier and registered for the Thanksgiving 5 mile race. I guess it was after I easily transitioned from 2 miles straight to 3 miles that I gained the necessary confidence to just do it. I registered for the race and that instantly gave me the motivation to see if I could indeed run 3 miles again. Maybe it was a fluke. Maybe I just got lucky. Nope. I was able to do it 3 more times, quite easily. My biggest challenge was not being able to breathe (or swallow) due to a sinus infection, but hopefully that will be cleared up soon.
During my last two runs I realized a couple more important things about my new running style. I am always on the look out for soft spots to run on. Fortunately I live out in the middle of the woods where the roads are lined by pine trees. At this time of year there is a carpet of soft pine needles lining the very edges of the roads in many spots. I compare myself looking forward to the next patch of pine needles to seeking out the next spot of shade on a hot sunny road bike ride. In my head I'm always thinking, "It won't be long to the next blissful patch of pine needles."
Why is it that I love running on pine needles so much? Do they really provide that much cushion? Or is it that I run just a little bit different on them? I noticed that I do, indeed, run a little different on the needles. I pick my feet up a little bit more and place them back down even flatter. Imagine running across these needles and not wanting to disturb them. That is how I pick up my feet. As if I'm running through wet grass and don't want to get my sneakers too wet. It's just a slight adjustment, but it makes the running seem effortless. When I realized this I started to keep this form whether I was on the pine needles or not. It made a difference.
The second revelation was in the music I was listening too. Normally I have a playlist of fast upbeat tunes to keep me rocking. But given the fact that I never loaded or set up my new Droid properly I just have to take whatever music comes up. I never seem to have the time to set up new playlists. And during my last two runs rather slow music played. The tunes had sort of an R&B smooth jazzy feel. Made me imagine sipping wine and slow dancing. Not exactly the picture you want in your head while running, but strangely, it worked. Let's face it, I'm not sprinting during my run. I'm jogging at a nice even pace and the slow smooth music totally relaxed me and put me into an easy effortless rhythm. My breathing seemed to slow and I felt more calm and relaxed than my normal gangster hip hop music. I was amazed at the effect it had on my run. From now on I'm sticking to slow sultry tunes.