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Day 689- Effortless

For my five miles every day I have different goals.  If I’m feeling good, I’ll put on some music and go for time.  If I’m feeling down, I’ll put on a Podcast and walk.  Some days I might stroll and meditate. This morning, the sun is shining, it’s in the mid 40s.  It feels like a good day to go for time. I’ve only gone for time once this week.  So, I crank on my playlist based on Craig David and hit the road.  The pace feels pretty good, almost effortless.  I think about a meditation I did yesterday. In meditation, the tendency is to beat ourselves up. We either try to banish all thoughts (impossible) or just focus on happy thoughts.  That can make meditation a chore.  This guided meditation instructed me to welcome all thoughts. I loved that. No trying to push away the anger and the sadness, even the worry. They were all welcome as part of me as I sat on my cushion.  All parts of me. All parts of this experience of being human. I didn’t feel the need to push any of them away and that was so relaxing. As the meditation comes to mind I decide that today instead of trying to push my body or even hold it back, I’m just going to let my body set the pace. I’m going to run effortlessly and just see what happens.

As I hit the first half mile split, I’m on a really good pace.  The song that’s playing is Mariah Carey’s version of “I’ll Be There” by the Jackson 5. The lyrics remind me of Shayna (I can twist just about any song into reminding me of Shayna). I play with her being there for me now that she’s watching over me and me being there for her the way I was when she was in the flesh. I’m starting to tear up a little and I say something to Shayna.  Right at that moment, something weird happens when the first split time is being announced.  The music pauses. The split time is announced and I go to resume, the music, but it won’t start playing again.  The music app is still showing the last song I was playing yesterday as the current song. The first song on the playlist is “All The Way” by Craig David.  I go to the playlist and I can’t even find “I’ll Be There”  I resume the playlist at the next song and continue my run.

I’ll reach out my hand to you
I’ll have faith in all you do
Just call my name and I’ll be there (I’ll be there)I’ll be there to comfort you
Build my world of dreams around you
I’m so glad that I found youI’ll be there with a love that’s strong
I’ll be your strength
I’ll keep holdin’ on (holdin’ on)
Yes I will, yes I willLet me fill your heart with joy and laughter
Togetherness, girl, is all I’m after
Whenever you need me, I’ll be there (I’ll be there)I’ll be there to protect you (yeah baby)
With unselfish love that respects you
Just call my name, I’ll be there (I’ll be there)

This fast first split is not unusual. The split that really tells what kind of a run it’s going to be is the mile split.  I hit it in just over 10 minutes. That’s really good for me.  My legs are starting to tingle, but I ignore that and push through it.

Then, I see a woman who I see running all the time. She’s probably 20 years younger than I am and much faster.  She’s coming up behind me. I feel myself starting to press as my ego says “Let’s see how long we can stay in front of her.”  Staying effortless becomes an effort as I want to push the pace.  Finally, she passes me, pulls away and makes the turn going the opposite direction so I’m no longer tempted to try to chase her down.  I’m coming up to the toughest part of my run, a long, gradual climb that is always my slowest split and I rarely make it up that hill without slowing to a walk. I climb the hill and make the turn for home. This is around the 4 mile mark.  My pace is still really good. Now, I’m tempted to press. I want to set that record.  But, my experience in the first couple of miles reminds me to make today effortless. So, I repeat that “effortless” mantra to myself as I’m coming up on the last split time I’ll get, 4.5 miles. I take notice my body. Being relaxed and even feeling like I’m going slower is actually putting me on a faster pace.  My breathing is much better than it usually is. I hit the 4.5 mile mark in a time that’s going to put me well under my best time ever.  Now, I’m really tempted to press. I have one more hill to climb.  I really want this record.  I do allow myself to  press a bit as I switch my mantra to “finish”.  At 5.0 miles, when I shut down the app, I’m two minutes better than my best time ever and about 7 minutes better than my average when I’m running for time.

When I get home, I check the playlist. “I’ll Be There” is on the playlist, but it’s way down the list. I would not have gotten to it on my run today.  MapMyWalk keeps track of the playlists for the run.  Weirdly, it doesn’t show that I even played All The Way, even though that song played in its entirety. It shows “I’ll Be There” as the first song and then the other songs on the playlist, in order.

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