Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I feel the need for Speed!

In October of 2009, when I was early into my first marathon training cycle, I decided to do a short race to get some experience with race day jitters.  I chose the Susan G. Komen 5k - a rather large race here in Houston that happened to start within walking distance of my office at the time, meaning I had an easy base from which to get changed, drop off stuff, etc.

It was my first race since high school - 15 years, give or take - and it's the race I started the three goal system (one crazy, one reasonable, one non-time).  My goals were completely unreasonable, but I didn't know it at the time because I'd never really done that exact distance as a training run.

I ended up having one of those days that only comes along once or twice a year and ran it in a 21:40.  It was a superhuman effort.  I didn't know it that day, but that time would become something unattainable over the next year.  I tried several times over the next year to break that time, but I never even managed to get under 22:00 and eventually gave up.  I focused on distance and ran two more marathons, leaving the shorter races to others.

This morning I didn't feel a whole lot like running, but that's pretty much how I feel every morning.  Still, something felt a bit off today and I ended up sleeping in.  Thankfully, today was only scheduled to be a simple 4 miler, so I still had the time to fit it in before heading to the office.  In a somewhat groggy state I stumbled out on to the lawn and let my Garmin try to find satellites.  It was a beautiful morning - blue clear skies, cool but not cold, breezy but not windy, refreshingly moist but definitely not humid.  A perfect morning, even.  So I decided to see what all of my training and extra miles and interval workouts and general effort has done for me over the last few months - I decided to try once more to break the 5k record.

I started out perfect - smooth stride, pace slightly slower than I wanted to run at first, consistent speed.  And I felt good.  I had on my loudest and angriest metal playlist and that fueled me right along.  Mile 1 and Mile 2 both came and went.  I got really tired and my legs started feeling heavy halfway through the third mile, but by that time I was sure I was going to beat my own record so I pushed through.

Ended up running it in 20:50.  That's not just beating a PR, that's obliterating it.

The biggest thing, though, is that I feel that this run is repeatable.  The October 2009 race was superhuman.  This race was just human - I can do this again.  I'm not saying I will be able to do it again on any given day - some days you feel better than others and I felt great this morning - but I do think I would be able to go sub 21 minutes on 7 out of 10 tries.

This also means that I have set a PR in all four of my major distances within the last four months.  That tells me my training is having a major effect.

1 comment:

  1. Great time. I was never a good distance runner. The fastest 5K I ever ran was 28:20. We have a Susan G. Koman race here too. Why don't you come and run it?