That was today. I was excited for my five mile run since I opened my eyes in the morning. As they day dragged, or rather rushed, on I couldn't wait until 5pm. I headed down to the gym, did a quick abs and arms routine to really get my body warmed up and then headed out to Kelly Drive. I had no idea what kind of workout I wanted to do, but I wanted it to be challenging. 800's? tempo? Something inside of me wanted to find out what kind of times I could get for a mile though, so I settled on 2 x 1 mile at a comfortably hard pace. Whatever that pace was I would be happy but I was not aiming for a time.
Even as I started my warm up I felt like my chest was tight, and through that whole first mile I kept telling myself not to expect much today. Just go out and push harder than easy and I would be happy. After one mile I sped up, and it felt great. Using every muscle in my body, trying to focus on staying clam and not swinging my arms in front of my chest. After a quarter mile I felt miserable, the kind of miserable you feel when running hard, the good kind. I pushed on through the second quarter, and for a brief moment I wondered if I would even make it past 1/2 mile. Maybe I should just cut my losses, and change my workout to 1/2 mile repeats. But something inside of me snapped at that moment and I thought to myself, "no way am I changing this workout, common body pull it together, breath normally so we can finish this thing" I feel like I slowed down a smidge and managed to make it past the half, past the three quarters (Where I passed two very large ladies in lots of pink out for a walk) and after that my mind went blank. I went into auto pilot mode, I stopped feeling pain or discomfort and just moved forward in this smooth rhythmic motion right across the mile mark. I looked down at my watch, expecting to see something like 9:00 or 8:45 maybe. I know I was pushing hard but the majority of the time I felt like I was struggling. 8:00 stared back at me from the face of my pink Ironman Timex.
I'm sorry but I would like someone to come follow me out on my runs and time me from now on because sometimes I go out and I run these times that I'm not even trying for. Times that I don't even want! I'm not ready to run this fast again. I know it's only a mile, and it's a slow mile if that's all you're running. A really slow one. But I haven't run a repeat time like that since training for Hartford. My mind tried to wrap itself around what just happened as I trotted through my half mile recovery. Honestly I would like to know what people passing me must think about my recovery because it looks like the most pathetic running. I of course realize this is what it should look like. It should be slow, I should be gasping for breath because I just ran hard, and by the time it is done I should be feeling almost back to normal and ready to go again.
Right before the second mile I give myself a little pep talk. Out loud. Yes I realize this makes me look like a complete nut case but it works for me so whatever. I just tell myself, stay calm, strong, and steady, it's just one mile. One mile out of many, one mile out of 26 (thinking about the marathon) and it's no big deal I just have to do it and then be done.
So I take off once again and at first my legs are saying "yes this is wonderful we love going fast" but then my lungs pipe up and they are not enjoying the ride. "What are you doing to us girl? we can barely keep up with you will you slow down?" But I do not slow down. I pass the quarter, and then the half. The third quarter was the worst, I wasn't able to take a full breath the entire time. But once I passed into the last quarter I am determined to give it everything I have. I feel like maybe I will come in at the same time as the last mile, maybe I will be a little slower but at least I will have put in the best effort possible. And then I was done and my watch said 7:49*. I have no idea how that happened. Honestly. I thought it would be 8:15 or maybe 8:10.
Again I slowed to that ridiculous trot while I caught my breath and pondered what this would mean for Boston 13.1 coming up in a month. I was certainly in better shape than I thought. I don't know what I thought I would be slower now that I was for Rutgers. Maybe it's because I am still working my way up to 25 mile weeks (like this week!!) which is what I was running right before Rutgers. Maybe it's because I always doubt myself and how hard I am working. Or maybe it's because I am afraid that my asthma is never going to let me run at the level I was two years ago. But through all the maybes one thing is for certain. Today was a great run. Today I pushed myself and had a good hard workout.
Which means tomorrow gets to be an easy day!
*Because I am slow and never learned to delete stored workouts from my watch I timed this run with a full memory. Thus I cannot save and recall my interval, and my timing is not exact it is just what I remember from the quick glance at my watch. My time for the second mile could really be anywhere between 7:49 and 7:40 because all I remember is the 7 and the 4 but lets be honest here it's probably 7:49 so that's what I'm sticking with.