So, a pretty quick post. I just wanted to share a huge running break through that I had last night!
Although my goal of running a 33:00 5K this month is still possible, I wanted to see how fast I could run just one mile. So, last night while my son was at football practice, I went over to the high school track/football field adjacent to where his practice was, and gave it a shot.
I warmed up with a pretty slow mile – I walked the first lap then ran the next 3 at about a 12:00/mi pace. I did this because I have noticed that my speed increases after my first mile typically. This seems to be counter-intuitive to what I had always believed – I thought that I would be “freshest” and fastest at the beginning. But as my time as a runner has gone on, I realize that I do get faster later on in my runs, somewhere after mile 2, typically. Due to time constraints I decided a one mile warm-up was sufficient.
Starting out, I told myself I was going to push for a 10:00/mi. I haven’t really been able to do this lately, even on the treadmill at the gym. But I’ve had some miles that were pretty close so I thought it was at least a goal to work towards. I also planned to start out at a quick pace – but not look at my Garmin for a while – and then peek to see how fast I was going. Well, around .20 miles, that was about 9:00/mi. which is crazy fast for me. I knew I would not be able to sustain that so I slowed down a bit and aimed to keep my pace right around 10:00. I was glad to have had that faster pace to average in since I knew I would most likely slow down even more.
But, looking at my pace chart, the slowest I ever went was around 10:09/mi for a brief period of time. Overall, I kept it faster than that. At the 1/2 mile point, I was getting concerned and started to play mental games with myself…I was wearing out quickly and couldn’t imagine continuing for another 2 laps. But, before I knew it, I was finishing my 3rd lap and getting around one more time seemed doable.
On the back stretch of the final lap, I was feeling good – struggling but fairly confident I was going break the 10:00/mi … and possibly by a decent margin. When I had first arrived at the track, the high school football team was finishing up their practice. I noticed that several of the players and the head coach were gathered on the sideline with a reporter and camera crew. Our high school has a big rival football game against the school just to the north of us. We are ranked #7 and they are #5 – but the game will be played in our football stadium. It should be a great game. When I first started the run, most of the players had left the field for the locker room but the interview was continuing. By this last lap, it was just the head coach, the news crew, and me in the whole stadium. I started to get worried that I was going to get asked to quit running behind the camera (not that I wanted to be on camera) but since my mile was going so well, I didn’t want to stop, talk to, or change my progress at all. Fortunately, they completely ignored me. As the Garmin beeped at the mile split and showed my 9:43 mile time, I was SO happy! Immediately after I hit that mile split, I started walking and felt a bit nauseous. However, I recovered quickly after I caught my breath and continued walking another mile or so to cool down.
So, that was a long-ish post about one mile. BUT, it was a BIG mental breakthrough for me. I was starting to believe I would not be able to run a mile under 10 minutes…ever. I hope to continue to work up to the point where that speed isn’t such a challenge for me, but I learned, yet again, that running is such a mental game and that maybe I need to try to push a bit harder more regularly to see the results I’m hoping for.