Today was the day, it finally arrived. Rob met me at the track to do a timed mile to see what I was made of. Not that HE wanted to see what I was made of, contraire....it was ME that wanted to see what I was made of. And I had asked him a few months ago to go with me.
One thing lead to another and another and well, the mile never materialized back in May when I wanted to start this little experiment. Not exactly. Or not exactly the way I envisioned it would. I went to the track then with Rob supposedly in tow but in the end, it never panned out where he could make it so I ended up running it solo. Sort of. It was hot, it was windy and it was windy and and it was hot. And I was in a foul mood. And my sinuses were killng me. I ran it, but with only half my heart and my spirit in it. I ran a 6:53ish (probably much worse than that - I think I stopped my watch a little short of the mile mark). And I was bummed. I instantly decided that mile didn't count due to the barriers restricting my attempt. Dennis told me to go ahead and use it; my time could only go down from there later.
And down it went.
I was to meet Rob at 5:30. That's a.m. I got there at 5:00. Again, a.m. Well, probably more like 5:05. I extensively stretched my glutes and hamstrings, which are tight as heck, and then I ran 3/4 of a mile slowly. Stretched a little more. Drank lots of water (to the point I had to pee really bad at the start of my mile so had to make a quick porta-potty stop); ate half of my peanut butter toast.
Rob got there a little after the set time. We talked a bit but I just wanted to go and get it done. I woke up at the bewitching hour of 4:00 (yes, a.m.) and laid there wide awake, surprised at how nervous I was; adrenaline was filing every fiber. I knew I'd run today better than that failed 6:53 attempt but I had no idea how well. And I had no time prediction other than to run faster that last time. I ran the mile back in my youth and I had speed and I had strategy then; something my 46 year old body lacks both of these days. So I just took off and ran.
First quarter was too fast: 1:31. There's nothing like your trainer there along the sidelines with two stopwatches in hand to pump up the blood flow and leg turnover. I knew I had to slightly slow it down so I did. My legs felt good, despite a heavy running week, and I tried to focus on controlled breathing and a composed stride. I also had a good song blaring on my iPod (I had no idea Rob was yelling for me). The 3rd quarter is always the toughest because you are tired and yet only barely half done; the end is not in sight yet so it seems like you still have a lot left to run. It was my slowest split. I tried to pick up the pace on my last quarter but time confirms that I didn't even though my legs thought I did. I felt like I pushed my hardest, but not in a I'm-going-to-puke way.
Finished time: 6:31.
I can't tell you the exact emotion I felt when I was done. Relief for sure - it wasn't easy. Disappointed? A tad, but not really. Jubilant? A tad, but not really. A good combination of both, I guess. I am thrilled that I ran better and more importantly, felt better than last time. But though I can honestly say I had no specific time goal in mind when I took off, I think I can run a bit faster. Especially if I go back to my strategy-ridden mile days and learn to slow that first quarter down so I have more for the 3rd (endorphins will generally carry you through the last quarter. Generally. But not if you take off too fast. Like I am notorious for). But the goal here is to improve so if there's an emotion I feel it is that I feel encouraged that my once melancholy disposition about my progress is beginning to lift and I am happy that the work I am doing is paying off. I physically see changes in my body and suddenly, I'm seeing changes in my mood. I can't say I'm 100% "there" for Portland, but today's mile certainly helped turn the dial up. And for that, I am emotionally "elated."
I count today's mile as my official first timed mile and the goal is to only improve so a hefty road ahead of me to get faster. Rob asked me if I wanted to repeat this beast in two weeks. Um, no. Maybe once a month but definitely not two weeks. And not so much because it's painful, but because I don't think you can mark progress every two weeks. I am highly motivated. At least for my training (the actual Portland race is another story).
Thanks, Rob, for being there.
August's mile goal: 6:26. I think I can do it!
Ran 4 miles very, very slow after my quickie mile so added up mileage today was 6 miles total.