Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hips don't lie, but treadmills sure do

All winter I ran my miles on the treaded treadmill. And they sucked, but I kept on going, and I kept on writing about it, as if one mile was different from the rest. Hard workouts were still hard but the time on the red display in front of me didn't mean as much as the numbers on my watch meant to me today.

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

xx Sara


Chloe said...

your posts are soo what I need right now. thank you, and great job!

Rachel said...

awesome tempo run!! and thanks for the shout out : ) isn't it amazing how one great run can completely restore your love of running and boost your confidence?

love your blog by the way, you are a fantastic writer!