It turns out that “FUN” is not exactly the best adjective for this kind of thing. But still — I am really happy that we did it. And I think the honey badgers are, too.
I know that I talk all the time about how much I **love** the track. And I do mean that honestly. I love that what I do out there makes me a better overall runner. I love that the workouts make me tough and that they teach me to NOT GIVE UP. I love that they make me a stronger person, inside and out. And yes, I love that they make me faster. But I don’t necessarily always love the way that I feel while I’m doing them. Track workouts make me squirm, they make me burn, they make me FIGHT. There is nothing easy about them.
In designing our workout for the timed mile yesterday, I wanted to make sure that we warmed up enough – but not too much. I contacted a coach who I think very highly of and he gave me some excellent advice. He explained that since we are high mileage marathoners we would need to be careful of how much fast running we did before our mile – because we wouldn’t want our legs to have too much lactic acid built up in them before we asked them to move as FAST as we could for 4 laps around the track.
Based on his advice, we ran 2 very easy miles to warm up and then did some dynamic stretching before running 4 laps with accelerations followed by jogs (we jogged 100m easy, accelerated for 150m, jogged 100m easy, accelerated 150m).
Right before I started my timed mile, as in mere seconds before, I all of a sudden got a huge rush of race-day nervousness and felt butterflies swooshing through my tummy and I was a jittery mess! It hit me like a ton of bricks and I didn’t expect that at all. Up until that point I was calm cool and collected. I wasn’t scared of the timed mile. Last year I did it in 6:39 and I knew without question that I would beat my time from a year ago. It could only serve to boost my confidence and remind me that all my hard work has been paying off, right!? So why in the world was I such a mess all of a sudden? I didn’t have time to think about it. It was time to go. So I went.
It was still dark out and I decided not to wear my head lamp which was a little freaky at times. It was humid yet I opted to keep my tank on and during the first two laps I was a mental case wishing I had taken it off. It was bugging me. I couldn’t get into a rhythm with my footsteps and felt like my form was off. I was having a hard time checking in with myself. Chris was running in lane 1 just ahead of me and I was very indecisive with where I wanted to be – in lane 1 just behind him, or in lane 2? I kept switching from 1 to 2 and back again. Finally for the last two laps I found a groove. My lungs were burning and I wanted it to end. But I was determined. I stayed in my lane, locked it in and pushed as hard as I could.
And when I was done — I am telling you — I. WAS. DONE.
1.06 miles in 6:06.
My mile was 5:46. The other .06 was run at a 5:21 pace.
I didn’t really know I could do that. Until it was done.
Running is teaching me so much about myself. About my limits and how to expand them. About how far passion and dreaming can take you – if only you dare to face your fears and put yourself out there. And about how important these things are in my life and in making me the person that I am.
Marine Corps Marathon is in a little more than 4 weeks. No matter what the outcome is on race day, when I cross that finish line I assure you my heart will be soaring. I love this sport called running. I love how it fills me up. How it teaches me to keep dreaming and to fight for what I believe in.