As The Boy and I reach the halfway point in our training for the relay, I’ve been working on pushing myself harder and harder. This has been challenging, especially since we’ve been doing a lot of runs on the treadmill over the past few weeks. The weather last year at this time enabled me to run outside most days, but the past couple weeks have been full of very unspringlike temperatures and weather, including more snow than we’ve had all season (or in the past two years).
On Thursday, however, we had the opportunity to run outside for the first time since the weekend and our step-back run. So we took it, both running in shorts(!!) and long-sleeved tops. We started at a conversational pace, but before we reached the halfway point of our three-miler The Boy was starting to pace ahead of me – something that most days I don’t mind. Thursday, however, it bothered me. So I decided to do something about it.
As soon as I decided to do something about it I realized that he was about 50 yards ahead of me and gaining distance, quickly. When he gets into the zone he goes fast. When I get into the zone, I have a tendency to slow down. Getting faster means staying out of the zone and actively pushing myself. I started to work on speeding up, slowly, and as we reached our turn-around point, The Boy paused to get a drink of water, allowing me to catch up with him: a blessing.
For the rest of the run I made an effort to match his pace, which was challenging, and I could tell by my hard breathing. It wasn’t challenging to the point of discomfort, but I could definitely tell that I was pushing myself to my limits. Neither one of us wore the Garmin (the battery was mysteriously dead when I went to fire it up), but based on the distance we planned to cover and when we left the house, we were averaging at best a 9:50-10:00 mile. A pace I almost never maintain.
As we neared the end of our run (or so I thought), The Boy asked if I wanted to tack on another half-mile to the end. I shook my head but said I would try, and off we went. Five minutes later we were done. I was breathing hard, but I wasn’t out of breath. I felt great, though my legs were starting to feel a bit like overcooked pasta. We checked the time and mapped our route when we got home, to find that we had covered nearly 3.6 miles in 35 minutes.
It was my fastest run to date. I am proud that I pushed myself to succeed. Our next run is a long one, and I’m hoping to get it done at a 10:20 pace at most. We’ll see what I can do. In the meantime, I’m going to continue to be proud at pushing myself and not giving up, and hope I can keep improving.