I had already planned on doing five miles outside, but after reading about a great Tempo Run I decided this would be a great workout for me. As I stretched out my legs I wondered what my times would be like. I at least had a basis to go off of, I knew what my 800 repeat time had been and I needed to be slower than that to carry on for two miles. So I figured I'd warm up, and then speed up, and then see how I did. No real goal, no real reason to need one. I hadn't even decided on a race pace for the UNITE half marathon and it is in two weeks!
All stretched out and ready to go, I was off. I picked a pace that felt good but not too slow and as I went I began to calculate my split times for a warm up mile. Probably one of my favorite things to do to pass time, is calculate split times. But for the warm up I don't even look at my watch on the first quarter, I decide to check at the half, see where I am and then stay consistent. Half time was 4:58 just on pace for a 10mm, not bad for a warm up but a little fast for me this time of the year. But as always, I am afraid to slow down on the second half of anything so I just keep running until I reach my first mile.
At 9:44. Unreal. And very unexpected. Still I speed up the pace for my first tempo mile and aim for a 9mm on both. The pace I pick feels comfortable and sustainable, but I expect to finish the first mile around 9:15. Much to my surprise I cross the half at about 4:30, right on track. But when I hit three quarters and see that my watch reads 6:46 I am a bit disappointed, only because I did not do the math right in my head. The last quarter mile is spent re-adding the numbers and pushing a little extra which pays off because I finish the first mile in 8:54.
Not expected at all, but I am proud of myself. I promise myself I can hold on to that pace, and If I can just run the second mile in under 9:00 I will have a successful workout and can go home happy. The only downside is my halfway point for the second mile is a turn around point, always a trap for slowing down. But I am determined. I never let myself slow down for anything. Not even in the last half mile when I can feel ever muscle from my chest to my hips tighten up and I feel like I can barely breath. But up ahead I can see the finish, I can see that mark on the side walk that says "you can rest now". I get my hand on my watch ready to hit the split button as I cross the line and with one final kick I am done. I look down
8:35. I am in shock. I slow to a jog and try to wrap my head around what I just did. To some people those times might be nauseatingly slow. But to me, and for it only being April 1st, those times are incredible. Those times are something I don't usually see until well into August after lots of ass kicking workouts. But I guess that is what I have been doing to myself. I have been pushing all winter, when I didn't want to, and when I didn't believe in myself and now I am back close to when I was at my best with the possibility of going even further.
I have two miles left and for a minute I think, maybe I can recover for a half and then tempo another mile. But when I reach that half I know my body isn't ready for it and I would rather end the night on a high note. So I aim to just hit a normal pace by my last mile. I hit four miles with an 11:02 and for a recovery/cool down mile, I think it's pretty good. By the end I can even resume a normal pace and for the last mile I just think of what a good place I am in my running right now. I am not overloading myself with 45 mile weeks, I have time to have a healthy amazing relationship, and I am in the best shape I can remember being in for almost a year and a half. For that last mile I just take in every amazing moment of the night. The sun setting over the river, the families out walking, and the true runners out running. I hit the end of the run with a total time of 47:46:90
As soon as my breathing goes back to normal, I stretch out and get back in my car, the first thing I do is pick up my phone and text Boyfriend to say "Best. Run. Of my life"
Total Workout recap:
Mile 1: 9:44
Mile 2: 8:54
Mile 3; 8:35
Mile 4: 11:02
Mile 5: 9:29