The Journey – 447.5 Miles:
Today’s section of the A2B Route entered Arizona’s Mount Wilson Wilderness Area.  The terrain is extremely rugged.  There are no formal trails among the area’s forbidding and stark landscape, although sometimes burro and sheep trails can be located and followed.

The Run:
I skipped the morning run to join the running club for an evening run.  I made sure to eat lunch early and hydrate throughout the day.

I was excited to run with this group again!  It has been several weeks since I ran this hill-heavy course.

As we began, I was feeling good and strong.  I decided to run extra hard.  I upped my pace and focused on maximizing my stride.  I increased my speed when running up hills and coasted at pace on the down hills. I was very excited about how I was running!

After a short but steep hill at the end of mile 3, I suddenly got the dry heaves.  I tried to keep running, but quickly had to come to a full stop until the heaving subsided. As soon as possible, I started walking. Then jogging. Within a minute or so I got a second wind and resumed my earlier pace and pushed hard to the finish line.

Even for fit runners, it is not completely unusual to experience dry heaves while transitioning from a base pace to a faster, harder workout.  In my case, running as hard as I can is not something to which my body is accustomed.  It needs time to get used to the idea. Until then, it might protest a bit.

It may seem odd, but I really enjoyed this run in spite of the mid-run heave attack.  Even with the short down time, I ran my second best time ever on this course!

The Mind:
To keep me focused and running hard, I leveraged a couple of mind management tools.

The first is music. I have mentioned in other blog entries that I have my music grouped into playlists to match any desired pace.  Technically, there were 246 songs that matched my chosen pace.  However, I am much more energized and driven when listening to certain songs. For example, whenever I hear “Don’t Forget” by Demi Lovato or “Kalandero” from Cirque du Soleil’s Alegria, my stride just naturally lengthens.  Without thinking, I immediately fall in sync with the tempo.  I love the way that shift feels.  It is like my body is suddenly awake and alive.

Next, while running, I envisioned what it will look and feel like to achieve my highest running goal.  I watched myself in my mind.  I noticed the muscles in my arms and legs pumping as they carried me around the track.  I saw the smoothness and strength of my stride.   I observed my concentration and focus.

I saw myself smiling and jumping and shouting with pure thrill and joy as I crossed the finish line.

I saw people that I love there with me. My children, family, and others. The perfect celebration!

Creating this clear vision in my mind further fueled the drive to keep pushing forward.

Between the endorphins, adrenaline, excellent music, and amazing vision, I ended my run very happy!


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