I complain a lot about running in the Back of the Pack but there is one definite advantage: As I was running the chute to the finish line of the Portugal Run, I saw a little girl sticking her hand over the barrier. For some reason, if you are a little kid, getting a high five from someone who is participating in a sporting event is a big deal even if the guy is finishing 5,014 out of 5,065. So I run closer to the side, slap hands with her and say, “Thank you.” The person emceeing the event notices this and calls over the microphone, “I want one of those, too” while extending her hand onto the course. I slap hands with her and she says over the microphone “Jeremy Farrington. Happy Father’s Day!” People cheer, I run through the finish line and make the person there put the medal around my neck.
I’d first like to say how beautiful running in Central Park was on Sunday. The weather was perfect, sunny but not too hot. My kids were on their first visit to NYC and waiting near the Finish Line for me and I got a shout out. Although sometimes running sucks, it can be fun too.
I had set a goal for an average of 14 to 15 minutes per mile. My per mile average was 15:09 so I didn’t hit my goal although I was 57 seconds faster than my last race. I don’t want to go too easy on myself not reaching my goal but I’m clearly improving. The problem is that the races that I am running this year are not going to wait for me to improve. I need to speed my process.
I think I’m walking too much and need to push myself harder. Further along that line, I also need to improve my mental toughness. I’ve noticed that when I track my running on a per mile basis, I start out with a fast mile, slow down and then go into a tailspin before righting the ship and finishing well. So what I’ve found is that I like to start running and like to finish running. The farther I am from my car and/or start line, the worse I run. I’m looking for ways to improve that. This is actually been something that’s plagued me in life in non-running areas.
I’ve done some research about focus during running and I’ve found that most people say that you need to pay very close attention to your form. Think about what your feet are doing or where your elbows are. This is 100% the opposite of everything that I know about athletics. In football, I would practice every move over and over and over until my body would act without having to think about it. In football, when it comes to mechanics, thinking is death.
For instance, in the huddle, the play is called: 4. We run to the line and I look to see if there is a man lined up across from me. Let’s say No. I Iook to my right and see the Tight End. Great. I know I’m working with him to zone block the man across from him and the outside linebacker. At this point, my brain goes off. I’m listening for the quarterback’s call to move. I take a drop step to make sure that I can block my opponent from the front. I sink my hips slightly to get more power to drive block. My elbows go back and my hands “go to the holsters.” I keep my head up but back and keep my chin tucked into my collar. I remember to bend at the knees, not at the waist. Keep my back arched, shoulders back. I take a step with my right foot towards the tight end and bring my hands forward, deliver a punch and try to lock out my elbows and with the tight end establish inside control on the defensive end. I need to move my feet in a manner to push the d-end off the line of scrimmage. I want to work off the insides of my feet because it puts more of my foot in contact with the ground than working off my toes. I need to look under the d-end’s armpit to see if the linebacker is coming over the top. If he is, I need to come off the d-end and start with the drop step all over again but to the other side. All of this happens in about 3 seconds. If I thought about how to do any of that stuff, I’d still be coming out of my stance as the guy I’m supposed to be blocking is making the tackle.
In football, thinking causes people to freeze. You practice until your muscle memory takes over and your body moves by itself. So I need to change my way of thinking to focus on what I’m actually doing but it feels incredibly unnatural. I am working on being focused and working on being in the moment and being aware of my body at that time is a part of it. With practice, perhaps it will become second nature. I do need to figure out a way to not let my mind and body go on lunch break during my runs though. I think in running that’s called a process goal. I’ll get there.