Friday, February 20, 2009

The Mile--Honesty is Humbling

If I slowed down, it would have been even worse!

One of my recent goals has been to determine my mile time. I know I ran a mile in just under 10:00 last summer but I didn't push hard intentionally. I've just wanted an initial point of data to reference in the future as I progress. I planned on running the mile today so I decided to head to the track after work, with a Plan B just in case the track was locked or in use. When I got there, the track wasn't being used but the parking lot was. I decided to not fight through the kids and I drove to the neighboring park.

What are all these green things along the entrances to the park, I wondered? Then I saw the sign--PARK TEMPORARILY CLOSED. *sigh*

So I drove to the next closest park, which was about 5 minutes away. That park was open but definitely not a good, flat place to test your mile. But it was the flattest place I had access to at that moment so I worked with it.

This is where I'll confess. I have no idea how to run the mile. I know it seems like you'd just go out there and run and be done with it but my Running gut (not a fatty gut, the soulful gut) tells me there's much more to it than that. After all, there are techniques for running other distances. Why would the mile be any different? But since I don't know "the rules," I winged it the best I could on that semi-hilly concrete loop.

I warmed up for 1 mile, amazed at how smooth and graceful I felt. I was sharing the path with two separate groups but they were respectful of my space, as I was of their's. After the warmup, and some stretching, I took off to run my mile. I'll admit, I started too quickly. I started to feel a burn in my quads and tibialis anterior (muscle in front of shin). I was actually shocked at how quickly I felt the burn. This proves that this was a FAR different workout than I'm used to. Even my speedwork doesn't feel this way--not so early in the workout, at least. I couldn't help but imagine the differences in body type between a sprinter and a distance runner. Amazing.

So anyway, I mentioned I started off too quickly. Well, I did. And I burned out but kept running. I reached the 1/2 mile in 3:59 and kept going. But I just couldn't maintain a pace worth anything. I burned out quickly and ended up having to walk a portion. Totally NOT what I thought would happen. Totally NOT the way I wanted it to go.

Geezy, my Garmin 305, beeped at the 1 mile mark. I was happy it was over but disappointed in my performance. However, I'm very glad to know the time now, even if it's not necessarily the best, or even the most accurate. It's just good to have something to work from and a way to measure my improvement.

And trust me, improvement is coming.


tjohnson1970 said...

At least you tried it. I am still yet to go out and try to put down a good mile. Me and Joe have been talking about it for about 6 months. Maybe I'm just afraid. Any way, I'm just proud of you for doing it after being turned away twice. I would have probably just put it off again.

Some guy named John said...

Ah, the mile is the magic distance! There is, as you suggest, an art to pacing it. My temptation is usually to start too fast, and that does result in an 800-pound gorilla jumping on your back in the third quarter.

And yes: Good job on the determination to get in your time trial!