I took Tuesday off, but today ran 14 miles on the lovely trails of Penasquitos Canyon, avg. HR 150. That's my Aet HR, my target, so whether it's coincidence or not, I'm pleased to have maintained that HR considering the trail and heat and distance, no water, etc. Spending about 2 hrs. on my feet gave me a chance to really feel the run, checking HR often and pace. I climbed over 1500 ft., so keeping HR in check seems pretty obvious. During the last 7 miles or so, however, I used some PE to help me find a rhythm and avoid staring at the HRM. One does a lot of thinking out there. I thought about how steady the run became (well, of course, I'm searching my steady state). I wouldn't stress or press at all, but just run as comfortably as I could. As the trail climbed, I'd slow down, to stay comfortable, and this contributed to the steady state. When the trail fell away, so did I, letting gravity control my pace. My point: this natural ebb and flow of my gait/exertion corresponding to the trail kept me comfortable and my HR very steady in the 146 range for long stretches. The climbs, despite my deceleration, pushed my HR up. This natural rhythm made for a very mellow run. Although my knees and feet started to feel the work, my breath and appetite remained pretty sedated/dormant. I had no water or nutrition for the duration and felt fine. As for the knees and feet, this is another example of the suffering of aerobic training. One is the patience one needs (j/k), but another kind is the general pounding one seems to endure. For example, I remember my step-dad telling me how after he finished Ironman Canada, Lori Bowden walked by and he naturally said congratulations since she podiumed or won . . . She said something to the extent of no no congratulations to you for finishing such a long day. She finished in 9+ hrs; he finished in 16+ hrs. Although she should be celebrated for her efforts, he's the one who suffered brutally and finished. Going slow can encourage and extend the suffering. The body certainly knows of what I speak.
Lastly, one aspect of my "feel good" run concerned my breathing, which I noted was easy, almost effortless. Alas, I was breathing through my nose.