Wednesday, February 22, 2006


I haven't ran much the last couple of weeks both because I've been burnt out physically and there's just too much work to do for school. I did get in a 10 miler (in the rain) this weekend, which I completed in 1:41 even though I had to slow down and check on runners who were experiencing weird aches and pains. The turn out was sort of pathetic this weekend. Partly the weather was to blame but also we've had some injuries the last few weeks. In any event, my run went well even if it took me a while to get warmed up.

Last night was supposed to be a speed workout, but when I got to the track I was feeling lazy and didn't feel like doing it. I did a two-mile warm up then stood around and talked to fellow teammates. By the time I decided to start running the others were already finishing up, so rather than do my Yassos, Jimmy persuaded me to run a fast mile with him. We did another mile warm-up since we had been standing around for too long. I was only planning to do a couple of easy 8 minute miles, but Jimmy asked me if I wanted to run one mile at a 5K pace, which would have been about 7:22 for me. Instead I said I wanted to try to beat my 5K pace. I was thinking more along the lines of 7 minutes, but instead Jimmy suggested I try to do a 6 minute mile with him. I've never tried to run as fast as I could. A few weeks ago I ran a mile with Coach Katie while she was doing repeats at a 6:52 pace. That's my fastest timed mile. 6 minutes just sounded preposterous. I imagined myself collapsing at the end, having to be carried out on a stretcher, IV's all over the place. Still, the challenge was there, so I accepted.

Right from the start, I knew I wouldn't be able to do 6 minutes. Jimmy was supposed to set the pace, but he was way off. By the first half lap we were off by five seconds. We tried to make it up along the way and actually maintained a six minute pace for the second lap. The first two laps were tolerable, and I actually surprised myself that I could hang with Jimmy.

By the start of the third lap, I could feel my breathing starting to labor. Halfway through the third lap I considered slowing down and letting Jimmy go on without me, but there was still some fight left in me. I dug in even though I felt like I was going to piss my pants. My legs were still moving really well and my form was holding up, but my footfalls were getting louder. I was stomping more than usual. I think the third lap was slower than the second. The fourth lap was just all desperation to finish. I told myself over and over again that it was just one more lap. I knew I had slowed down, but I didn't want to slow down even more. At the last turn, Jimmy announced, "Only 150 yards left!" I could have killed him. I hate hearing that in races no matter how close I am to the finish because regardless of how close it is, when you're feeling like someone has sucked the breath out of you, the distance seems insurmountable. 150 yards is a football field and a half! To be honest, I had enough energy in me to run faster but it was the mental block again of wanting to be comfortable. I was being worked and my body hated the feeling. I run to relax not to feel miserable. Running is supposed to be fun, right? So, more than anything, I had to overcome that mental block and force myself to put with the misery for another thirty seconds or so. I tried to speed up with fifty yards left, but I don't think I sped up all that much. When I crossed the trash cans (our finish line) Jimmy announced the time: 6:16! I seriously thought I had slowed down to a 6:30, so I was delighted with the time after I caught my breath. Jimmy, ever so positive, said that I only have to trim 4 seconds per lap to run a 6 minute mile. Some day, maybe, but for the night I was done.

So, that's another one for my record books. My fastest mile!


Ben, aka BadBen said...

Awesome! Way to burn a mile, man.

Darrell said...

Way to hang in there and congrats on your fastest mile ever!

Nic said...

Dude, that's AMAZING! Almost 6 minutes!!!!!

I think my fastest mile is 7:30 ish. But I think I ran it back in junior high... So funny. I remember when we'd have to run THE MILE in gym class. It used to be such a big event! You'd (I'd...) be tired for the entire rest of the day! My how we've grown up since then!

Congrats and thanks for the inspiration!

Jay said...

Awesome dude! Soon you'll be running sub-6!