One of the great things about running is that on occasion you surprise yourself. When I began running this happened on a fairly regular basis. I would go out and run 3 miles in 30 minutes, then a few days later I would run the same route and do it in 29 minutes, and feel like a champion! It seemed like every few weeks I was running a new personal record (PR). I was either going a longer distance than I had ever gone before, or I was doing a shorter distance in a shorter period of time, and it felt great!
Personal records show that you are improving, and that is all any runner really hopes to achieve. 2010 was a fantastic year, with many new PR’s achieved, and I hope to do a blog posting next week summarizing the year’s high points. I have been thinking about which items to include in that posting for several weeks now, never dreaming that I still had one more to add to the list.
I’ve been on vacation this week, and while I imagined getting in quite a few miles during my time off, I’ve been even busier than expected, and haven’t done anything other than shovel snow since Sunday. That’s three days rest! That’s a lot for me! I finally got to the UND Wellness Center this morning, feeling rested, and ready for a good workout. I hope to do an outdoor Christmas Eve distance run tomorrow, so I planned on doing a 4 or 5 mile tempo run today followed by some weights for the upper body and core. A tempo run is a shorter distance at a faster pace, for all you non runners out there!
My tempo times have been gradually improving this winter, although I’m not quite sure why. Maybe the sprinting I’ve been doing while playing basketball the past 5 weeks has had some effect. Maybe simply running indoors on a track makes for the best times. Whatever the case, my tempo runs used to be around 8 minute miles, but I’ve been getting quite a few closer to 7:45 this fall and winter. My fastest complete mile on record was 7:20, the first mile of the Fall Frolic 6.2 mile race back in August. I ended up averaging 8 minute miles for that entire race, so I followed up my best mile by several more at a much slower pace.
Today, I felt fantastic, so I started off at a fairly fast pace. Usually after one or two laps, I know I have to slow down, but feeling rested, I continued on. John Cougar started singing “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A” and I fell into time with the song feeling wonderful. The laps flew by, and I knew I could set a personal record for fastest mile. I crossed the mile line at 7:16 (a new PR), but continued running.
I held the pace, and started to wonder if I could reach the elusive 7 minute mile pace. I haven’t run that fast since college, and I had wondered if I could ever run that fast again. Golden Earring started playing “Radar Love,” and I knew I was going to try, so I picked up my speed. I passed the half mile point at 3:26, and knew I was on pace. About that time Billy Idol started singing “Rebel Yell,” and I got goose bumps because I knew I wasn’t out of gas yet! I ran even faster! I was smooth and strong, and felt great! I crossed the mile line for the second time, completing this one in 6:46 (another PR), but continued running.
I had come to the Wellness Center to run at least 4 miles, and I wasn’t about to stop at only two, even if they were my best two consecutive miles in my life. I did have to slow down however: I certainly couldn’t complete another mile in less than 7 minutes. My third one took me 7:29, but I continued running.
I decided to do just one more lap to make it over the 5 kilometer mark for the total distance covered. I knew I would have to slow WAY down to finish my fourth mile, and wanted to finish strong instead, so I picked up the pace again, and did the last lap in 53 seconds. That translates into a 7 minute mile pace, and then I walked!
I completed my weights like I planned, but I was walking on air. I was elated! I went to the Wellness Center to get in a little workout in before they closed for the Friday and Saturday holiday, and instead something got into me and I ran like my hair was on fire! My previous fastest mile was 7:20, and I broke the mark, not once but twice! I shattered it on my second mile by 34 seconds! What got into me!
I ended up running a total of 3.125 miles in 22 minutes and 25 seconds. Like I said earlier, I’m not often surprised by my running anymore. Today, however, I was shocked!