Although I am following a training programme for the half-marathon, I haven't faithfully stuck to it. I've either been too busy with work and/or cats, unwell with migraines and now a cold, uninterested in venturing out in the wind and rain, or giving yet another niggle an extra day's rest. Missing out a day here and there could be seen as progress for me, as I usually follow training programmes without deviation regardless of what my body is telling me to do, which possibly goes some way to explaining all of the injuries.
Anyway, today's run - according to the schedule - was supposed to be 4 miles. However, given that I've missed out a run in each of the last two weeks, doing a 4 mile run today and the planned 11 miles on the weekend would be a big jump in total weekly miles. I've been trying to stick to the 10% rule (where mileage only goes up by 10% each week so as not to stress your body too much), but the ease of Tuesday's run briefly tempted me to do the 4 miles anyway.
My sensible side prevailed - I'm so close to the race now that I don't want to do anything that means that I might not make it to the start line. But my 'go on, do it anyway!' side needed to be appeased, so I compromised by running only 2 miles but running them at a faster pace than normal. I wasn't about to run flat out, but thought that a pace that put my breathing into a 3:2 pattern would be a sufficient challenge. I had no idea what that pace might be because I'm paranoid about pushing myself during my normal runs. Bopping along at an 11:00 to 11:30 minute mile pace doesn't stress out my breathing but it also doesn't stress my ankles and achilles tendon. Much.
But I was up for a challenge today. My 2 mile route naturally divides itself into four half-mile sections: flat, downhill (good practice for the AHM!), flat, and uphill. By the time I got to the downhill section, I was running at 10:00 mile pace. By the end of the downhill section I was at 8:30, the second flat bit was at 9:00ish, and I managed to maintain a 9:15 pace on the uphill for all except the very last bit. I finished in 19:00. Nothing hurt. And I could have kept going.
I was thrilled, but I don't understand what I'm doing differently. ChiRunning is about the 'aha!' moments, where everything clicks and you say, 'I got it!' My moments are more like, 'WTF???' Everything clicks, but I don't get it at all.
I'll just enjoy being clueless. Even if I don't know what I'm doing, my body obviously does.