So here’s the thing: every runner has their own pacing benchmark, right? They have their established, standard pace by which they base all other paces around: Happy pace, race pace, sick pace, slow pace, sore pace, friend pace, friendly competition pace, sunny day pace, icy day pace, rain pace, gotta pee pace and so on.
And then there’s WHY pace.
Neurotic runners like me don’t like WHY pace, no sir. Even if it’s supposed to be an easy day. Even if you’re still sore from a strength training workout. Even if you had a couple great runs at happy pace in the days leading up. Doesn’t matter. No excuses. There’s no place for WHY pace.
WHY pace graced my presence last night. What was supposed to be an easy 50 minutes at RPE 2 turned out to be 50 minutes of WHY? I was hydrated, the weather was cool, I had good tunes on, but no matter how I tried, mentally, physically (without pushing too hard, because it was supposed to be “easy”) I just couldn’t get out of a slogging, stupid, WHY pace. Confused and embarrassing myself, I wanted to quit. But I didn’t have anything better to do, my husband was out of town and couldn’t pick me up, and most importantly, quitting a run based on your pace being awful does nothing to please the running gods and they’ll remember that on race day.
So I ran at WHY pace, begrudgingly almost accepting it at minute 24, with 21 minutes to slog through. Not feeling sore, not feeling sick or tired. Just, WHY.
I’m all about how certain runs can teach you lessons; I know the lesson here is that I need to be patient, that we all have bad days but that there’s no such thing as a bad run. And, so, fine… I’ll accept that. But sometimes, even if the who, what, when, where, and how can be answered, the question of WHY pace just can’t. And that’s where I’m leaving that.