Today was supposed to be "Tempo Thursday." As I began my warm up around my neighborhood, I thought of whether or not I had actually done any tempo runs back when I first started training with my group. Answer: Not really. At least not in the traditional sense. See, my running is a little anti-establishment. I don't particularly like following concrete schedules, workouts, or even proper hydration, resting, or fueling rules. I understand the science behind it all, but running is one of the only things in my life that can be as unstructured as I want. I don't really care that eating a certain ratio of carbs to protein after a run will help me recover better, or that running at x pace for x amount of time will help me nail x finishing time. Sure, it's fun to win awards and go fast, but those aren't the only important factors. Fun, food, and a post-race alcoholic beverage are just as essential to a healthy runner (I can't be the only person that actually fantasizes about beer during the last few miles of a half marathon..).
So, with this in mind, I decided to ditch the tempo run and do some short hill repeats in the middle of my run because I like hills, I wanted to go fast for a bit, and I figured that *sort of* counted as a tempo-ish workout. For the rest of the 5 miles, I turned off my music and just listened to the cicadas buzzing and the frogs croaking and tried to soak in as much of the perfect night as I could. I am definitely going to try and run more without music; I feel the the run goes by faster, and you soak in more of the enjoyment. I remember during one 16-miler in the fall of my senior year, I ran the whole thing without music. It's amazing where the mind wanders during the silence of a long run.
On my runs, I have composed essays, poems, songs, and experienced some of my most lucid decision making. I'm an incredibly high energy person (read: I'm taking 17 credits, have an internship at a local hospital, am the sports editor of our college's newspaper, am training for an ultra in November, and am teaching myself French), so running is an excellent way to get myself to calm down, shut up, and take some time to think that I would otherwise fill with a countless amount of activities.
And just in case any of you were wondering, I did still wear a ridiculous outfit. Neon green shorts and a purple sports bra. I didn't stop traffic, but I fancied myself a pretty fine looking sweatball.
Stay tuned for Saturday's long run recap, when I'll run 11ish miles, eat cinnamon bear candy, chug at least my body weight in water, and try not to get hit by any cyclists.