Maybe I should consult a thesaurus for the title of this post. Here lately I’ve been doing a little bit of running to build my stamina to be able to effectively run a 5k. Still, I’m not sure it should be dubbed as speedwork. Is speedwork one word or two? I like it as a compound word better. Okay, I’ll stop.
So, I’ve been doing most if not all of my running at the track. I go out there with no set plan but always end up putting in work. Last week I decided to do a mile test. I have not been able to run a mile without stopping in over five months. In May I ran a little over 3/4 of a mile but then had to stop. The only goal for the mile test was to not stop. Oh, and not to look at my watch. I like to run around the track because it means I don’t have to constantly look at my Garmin to check distance. I just run four laps and see what happens. I ran the first lap and was feeling good but backed off just a tiny bit for the next two to see how my body was reacting to increased distance. After the third lap I really didn’t think that I had one more in me. The urge to look at Garmin was stronger than ever but I kept my eyes forward and kept running. Finally I crossed the point where I started, heard my watch beep, and hit the stop button. 9:06.
What the?!? Where did that come from? Not only did I accomplish my goal of actually running an entire mile without stopping but I ran it in under 10 minutes. That left me feeling so stinking good and excited to see what else I was capable of. When I was on the UT Rowing team we had a mile test about two months into training and even then I was only able to run a 9:34. This is real good progress.
Since I had a race on Saturday I tried to do another mile test on Friday just to see where I was at. Again I was hoping to simply run my four laps without stopping and maybe possibly shave a second off of the 9:06. Ran three laps and felt awesome so I kicked it in for the fourth lap and finished in 8:58. Breaking 9 minutes was like breaking this huge barrier that stood before me blocking me from exercise confidence. Sure, most people can run a sub 9 mile in their sleep and can run 20 miles at the same pace but to be able to run this just one month “back on the wagon” AND while making it only my second time running a mile without stopping in five months is pretty dang fantastic in my book. These miles gave me running confidence that I’ve been looking for.
Yesterday morning I hit the track for some 400 repeats. I knew I wanted to at least do three repeats but what I secretly wanted was to run a lap in under 2 minutes. Part of me knew that it probably wasn’t possible since that is a sub 8 pace. But I told myself that I would run my three repeats and if I hadn’t got a sub 2 then I would try until I came close. I ended up doing four and here are the splits:
It killed me that lap three wasn’t a sub 2. I ran that lap as hard as I possibly could and I was just a second shy of seeing a 1. Talk about frustrating. While I was squatting down trying to catch my breath, I noticed something funny in the grass. A four leaf clover. What are the odds. Surely it was my lucky day. I really didn’t think that I had anything left in me to push another lap harder than that one but I figured I would not know if I did not try. Took off on the fourth lap and didn’t look at my Garmin until the final turn and even then I was only looking at pace. I saw a seven and crossed my fingers that I could pull a sub 2 out. Crossed the line at 1:56 and earned that sub 2. Could I run that pace for a whole mile or even another lap? Uh, no. But I conditioned myself to run it for 1 lap and that is a start. I probably won’t do much “speedwork” the rest of this week but am very proud of myself for pushing my body to some good numbers out on the track.
What do you do for speedwork? Ever crushed a goal without even realizing it? Remember running a mile without stopping for the first time in a long time?