The rain finally stopped yesterday afternoon, but not after dumping almost 3 inches of rain on us. The culverts in our front yard were almost 3/4 full and I even postponed my trip to the Social Security Office, which is over an hour away, because there was so much water on the roads. When the sky finally cleared I decided to head out for a run. I didn’t make it very far, I ended up chatting with my neighbors for a little while before starting my run.
When I was finally out of the neighborhood I set out at a pretty good clip. I planned to run at least 3 miles, which is exactly what it came out to, but I didn’t have any specific goals for the run other than that. By the time I reached the turn around point I was feeling really good. I was able to pick up the pace even more as I headed back to my house. When I got back to the last road before the neighborhood I was suddenly possessed to run a few tempos. I decided to do 30-20-10′s because I had recently read an article about them and since I didn’t have a watch I knew that I could probably count them off in my head.
I was amazed at how far doing the tempos took me. I was only able to fit 3 in a half mile. I slowly jogged the last 1/4 mile through the neighborhood and called it a day.
This morning I decided to do a long run. Or at least longER. Since I have to at least get 14 miles in before Sunday I knew that I needed a few runs longer than 3 miles. I decided to run past Tia’s barn to the end of the road and back which is between 5-6 miles. I haven’t mapped it out yet but I know that running just past the barn and back is 4, so running out at least another .5 miles would put me at 5 and I know that it’s a little further than that.
I started out pretty slow today. I didn’t want to over exert myself and turn around before I reached what I believed would be a 5 mile out and back. Even with the slow pace I stopped after .5 mile and stretched before continuing. When I started out afterwards I was feeling a little stronger. I continued the nice easy pace and made it to my turn around, on the way back I started picking up the pace a little bit again.
I was nearly striding out the last mile of the run. I felt strong and as I made my way back into the neighborhood, I was even jogging easily for my cool down. I felt that I could have continued running much farther. As I cooled down I was remembering 3 specific races in which I finished strong and picked up the pace naturally as I was able to give a greater and greater effort.
#1 Runner-Up State X-C Championships – my freshman year I was seeded somewhere in the top 25% of the pack, but I had no real goals for the race. I knew the competition was tough and I just tried to run my best. Somewhere after the first mile I realized that I was picking off the competition one by one, slowly picking up the pace. By the time I reached the last mile a parent or coach on my team yelled that I was in the top of the pack. I picked the pace up even more, it wasn’t until I was within a quarter mile of the finish line that I knew I was doing very very well. I finished second! I was incredibly happy and knew that I had just had an amazing run
#2 4th in the 2 Mile High School Invitational – also during my freshman year, I was being pushed into the 2 mile during track meets. I wasn’t particularly happy with this as I was already running the 800, mile and 4 x 800 relay. Adding the 2 mile into the day meant that I was racing 4 miles. This, to me at least, seemed like a lot. Mostly I was only added to the 2 mile at the end of the day if the meet was close and I could either push my team mates in the event a little faster or score a few extra points for the team. At this invitational I was pushing team mates to qualify in the event. I was having a good time, smiling and waving at my friends as I maintained a steady pace for my team mates. With less than a mile to go I left my teammates and went after a few points for the team. I honestly didn’t even know that I was running really well until I passed under the finish line and was told that I was 3 seconds away from breaking the high school 2 mile record which had stood for over 20 years. After that I actually started racing the 2 mile a few times but never came as close to the record as I did that day.
#3 4th State Outdoor Track Championships 800 Meter – Freshman year of high school. I had just blown the mile by starting off way to fast. I was running a 5 minute mile pace which was quick for me. I sputtered out at the end and I was upset at my race. Then came the 800, I was seeded in the middle of the pack and had nothing to lose in this race. We had a false start which was lucky for me because I didn’t get off the line fast enough. My second start wasn’t much better but I pushed right to the front of the pack, jumping over and in front of a runner to make up for the time I had just lost. I stayed right with the top runners through the first lap, when I heard the gun I was off like a shot. This had always been the way I raced the mile, somehow the gun always got me going, I would get an intense adrenaline rush and sprint the last lap. I was hard to stay with and usually I won or was top 3. When the gun went off signaling the last lap in the 800 I sprinted, I literally can’t remember any other time when I have laid it all out on the track. I hit the wall as I came down to the wire, I was in the second place and in the last few meters 2 girls came up behind me and passed just before the wire. It was exhilarating and I was thrilled. The 800 had always been tough for me, I wasn’t usually seeded well in the races but I was quick and usually finished a few places up from my seed. This was the most spectacular race I had run to that point, and still today. Putting it all out there, risking showing everyone your best performance, that takes guts, because at least for me, I was scared that I would never get any better than that.
In the 800 that was fine, but to this day I know that I never ran the mile with every ounce of effort that I possessed. I ran races fast and well, but I never truly gave any other race 100% of my effort. In part because I was never so angry at myself until just before I ran that 800. I ran that race for myself and I am most proud of that performance. Winning meant a lot to me in high school, but I was always trying to prove something to myself and it wasn’t until that race that I knew what I was truly capable of.