As I am still quite tired from intense kitten duties, I was not looking forward AT ALL to today's 11-mile run. In the back of my mind (actually, it was very much to the front of my mind), I wondered if I should put off the run until tomorrow when I might feel more sprightly. However, when I looked out the window around 11.30, there was snow! Only a few flakes, but the sky was the kind of grey that promises snow and I LOVE running in the snow, so I geared up and headed out the door.
Pah. I must have imagined the snow. There was a brief spit of freezing rain and then nothing except a cold and chilling wind which, for a change, was in my face on the route out. Kind of nice having it at my back for the more tiring return journey, though. My legs were tired, my achilles tendon niggled for the first half-mile, and my hamstring cramped up during miles 4 and 5. Aside from that, it was an uneventful run and I managed to stay fairly close to my target pace.
Normally on my long runs, I listen to Radio 4 but the reception is appalling on the Cromarty road. Rather than irritate myself by trying to listen to The Archers through static, I thought that I would try something different for this run. I downloaded an audiobook for free, The Woman in White, onto my iPod. This is one of my favourite books - I read it for the first time during a solo camping trip down the west coast of America and have fond memories of lying in my tent at night in the Oregon sand dunes or a California redwood grove, reading about Marian and Laura and Walter by torchlight - and has the added advantage of being lengthy enough to take me through at least a couple of long runs.
I just want to say, what a brilliant thing to have done! Can't imagine why I didn't give this a go sooner. Because it's words, I don't feel compelled to run faster (as I do when I listen to music) so my pace stays sustainable. And it's engrossing enough that my attentionally-challenged brain doesn't get bored and go winging off into the stratosphere so that I end up running on automatic pilot with increasingly poor posture and increasingly unhelpful speed. Focusing on the story actually helped me to focus on my running.
It's not exactly a Chi approach, but it works for me.