In the “It’s about damn time” category, after starting running again in the summer of 2006, running a marathon in October of 2007, breaking my pelvis and not running from November 2007 to July 2008 and then slowly and painfully working my way back to fitness through triathlon training… I come to today.
I cleared a mental hurdle today. I ran 6.1 miles at an average pace of 7:57. Why is that a “mental” hurdle? Because I didn’t “think” I could run that fast for more than a couple of miles. Granted, I have run 7:10 pace for 3 miles in a race recently, but I didn’t think my fitness went much past that. I had myself convinced that I slowed down past 3 miles and couldn’t maintain anything under 8:00 for more than about 4 miles.
But today, the opposite happened. From the start I felt like a racehorse being held back by the pack. I wanted to run faster. The course has one big hill in it and I felt really strong going up it. When I got to the top I kept waiting for the fatigue to set in, but it never did. It felt like I got a little faster instead. The course ends on a big downhill and I can usually feel myself speeding up on it, but today when I hit that last downhill I was already going fast so it didn’t feel like I sped up at all. My finish was strong and I didn’t feel winded.
I know for you 6:30 runners out there, this would be an easy day. In fact I doubt many of you could run this slow (and no, that’s not a challenge, it’s a fact. It’s hard for fast runners to slow down). But for me this is very significant. If I can run this fast for this long, my next milestone is to run sub sevens for shorter distances.
I may challenge that milestone this weekend at the duathlon. It’s a 1.5/7.5/1.5 race and I may just try to get at least that first 1.5 in under 7 minute average. I like how I feel right now and I have gone from “I think” I can run faster to “I know” I can run faster. This is a huge change in my confidence level. It’s funny that it came so soon after a crappy weekend…