Let’s just pretend that whole timed mile thing a few weeks ago never actually happened. Or, better yet, let’s do what all of the coaches/positive thinking gurus tell us to do: The timed mile was an experience that was worth having even if the result wasn't what I wanted.
(Short version: because I’ve been feeling zippy lately, I ran a timed mile a couple of weeks ago. Given that I ran it after a solid six-weeks of non-stop travel and tend to freak out about running fast, it was a lot less zippy than I knew I could do. Which made me sad and frustrated and a bunch of other frown-y face emoji.)
For the record, getting faster is not a golden glitter unicorn that I’ve been chasing. I’ve embraced my back-of-the-pack-ness. I’m generally happy to just be out for a run no matter the pace simply because I enjoy it. (Mostly. (Especially after that first mile. (Even more when the scenery is interesting. (And when I get a medal at the end.))))
Still, I do like to set a goal, simply to keep things interesting. Usually, that goal is distance-related — but I’ve run out of distances to strive for. That may change if I give into the 1% of me that wants to run another marathon. Right now, the other 99% of me has done a pretty good job of slapping some tape over that 1%’s mouth and shoving it into a steamer trunk in a dark attic.
…. I’m realizing that my sub-conscious might be full of thugs. Huh.
Because I’m out of distances, I’m ready to see if I can run the standard ones a little faster than I have in the past. My fast is not your fast, of course. But it matters to me.
Which is why I’m gunning for a 10K PR on August 4 at Beach-to-Beacon in the OG Portland. Normally, I wouldn’t even consider trying to run fast in any Northeastern race in August — it gets wicked humid here and I am a delicate flower — but the mostly flat course skirts Maine’s coastline and there should be some nice breezes that early in the day.
Worst that happens is that I go for a nice scamper on a summer morning; then go to the Holy Donut. If I can stay uninjured and relatively well rested, I believe I can beat my current 10K PR of 1:08, which I set in Newport, Rhode Island, about 18 months ago. And then go to the Holy Donut.
What fuels this faith is a tempo run last week. Coach Christine and I were waffling about setting ideal tempo paces based on what was likely an inaccurate timed mile. Rather than go with a number, I went with keeping my effort at 80%. Which is exactly what I did until I was three-quarters through the first tempo mile and saw a number I’d never before seen on my watch. By the time Herr Garmin tweedled out the mile’s end, I’d run a 9:53.
I KNOW. I wasn’t really even a huge push, frankly — and 45 seconds faster than my time trial.
The second tempo mile wasn't quite as energetic, mind. I think my brain was still getting over the shock of not seeing a double-digit at the start of a time.
So I have reason to hope as well as a concrete goal to focus my energy on. Who knows if that motivation will survive the next six weeks of summer heat, travel, and my teenagers? My emoji are cautiously optimistic, though.
Question of the week: do you always have a running goal? Or do you just kind of run for running’s sake?