Pace as perception

On yesterday's little romp in my new running slippers, I had three surprises. First: that I thought of it as a "little romp."

Second: Do you remember that bit of Violent I described as a "dropoff?" It looks a lot different when your field of vision isn't narrowly straining to guard your footstep. It's a slope I wouldn't want to tumble down, but not a dropoff. Not so much "Death's Door" as "Inconvenience's Throw Rug."

Wow, the effort I've been putting into securing my footing! The extra work required of the rest of my body to bolster that effort! Again: maybe the shoes really make a difference in my form; maybe it's the Tinkerbell effect. Whatever the reason, when I ran with more confidence in my feet and with an easier posture, my peripheral vision opened up and picked up more detail.

Which might become a nice additional cue to whether I'm running with the posture that best serves. Not able to comprehend anything outside the singletrack? Then maybe I'm fighting my body.

Third: A hypothesis for why I have so little sense of pace on trails.

On the road, I've gotten used to looking a quarter mile ahead. Over time, I've gotten some body sense of the relationship between effort, speed, and known distance.

It's not difficult to extrapolate the pace sense of a mile from a quarter mile, three miles from a mile. Especially if they're the same three neighborhood miles you run all the time. The body remembers and the mind calibrates.

But on the trail, I'm looking what, three, eight, twelve feet in front of me. With my mind calibrating against twelve-foot distances, is it any wonder I go faster than is sustainable? Also, I don't know any trail well enough yet to have a secure sense of its length correlated with difficulty and effort.

Although I'm not sure that sustainable effort is the primary point.

I'm not interested in running conservatively or with incremental effort as a means merely to say, "I ran at X miles at Y pace today, let me put that on my chart." I'm interested in getting everything out of the run. In finding out what "everything" is. I like it when my heart beats hard. I want to know how to get that for a long time.

I don't know how long is long. I don't know how fast is fast or how slow is slow. I'm going to do a piece of running tomorrow and consider these questions. I also have some knots in my heart that need working out, immediately. You know a better way? Rip, shred, destroy... so I can be back in the state of the other earthshaking verb. The cap is off; I'm running.