I put this 6 miler off ALL DAY. Big shout out to my Missouri friend Allie for her encouragement to get my butt moving. "C" is gone to college orientation with her youngest daughter and so I was alone. I had been looking forward (as much as I ever look forward to running solo) to running today because all week the forecast was for like 68 degrees - YES PLEASE! With Allie's encouragement, I changed into the brightest clothes I had (lime green shirt, black capris, neon orange compression sleeves, and my hot pink & yellow Nike shoes). I opted for a familiar route and emailed my husband the details (since I was going it alone - I thought if he knew my turn by turn directions and estimated completion time, I had a chance he might be able to find me before having to call America's Most Wanted. I put on ALL my gear - I wasn't going to have a failure like my last solo 5 miler (HERE). I had my ipod, my blackberry that has 2 audiobooks on it, my yurbuds, my interval timer, my watch, my compression sleeves, 2 water bottles, and chomps. I forgot gum, but no worries, I always keep some in my hydration belt (woot for having a stash). I started off with a walk along a very busy county highway. My right ankle was feeling wonky and I kept thinking "I sure hope that'll stop hurting shortly". Then after 7 minutes, I started with my 2:40 & 2 intervals and WOW did I feel like a baby elephant trying to take it's first awkward running steps. I felt as if I had no rhythm. I mean, I am a white girl and so that's to be expected (ha) but seriously - left right left right get into a groove already. Nope. It was hard and horrible and ohhhhh so humid. Not even a single fart of air moving - nothing. Wow - I have to admit I thought of all of you - I thought "what is that rule of thumb all the bloggers use? Is it do it for 15 minutes and if sucks then quit or was it 30 minutes then quit? " I then began doing math problems - oh yeah, I need to write a thank you letter to my elementary school math teachers and thank them for the endless hours of story problems because that's exactly what occupied at least a good 30 minutes of my run while I couldn't get into a rhythm.
Here's an example:
If Wells L is doing 6 miles then it will take about 1:30 (hopefully less). If she is using intervals that are almost 5 minutes, then how many intervals will she do during her 6 mile run. (By the way I figured it would be 18 intervals and guess how many it actually ended up being . . . YES, 18 intervals - how 'bout them math skills!).
Anyway you get the math problem idea and just know I seriously did them for 30 minutes. Then the negotiating came in. I'm not very good at thinking about this mile and not focusing on the distance ahead, but as I was out on the country road and still feeling like a baby elephant who couldn't put 2 steps together without tripping, I started negotiating with myself.
Here's some examples of my internal negotiating:
1. I'll eat chews at the park sign - no, I'll wait until the barn.
2. I'll walk through an interval when I eat my chews.
3. I'll wait to put my music in until I get to the 3 mile mark.
4. I just need to get the that curve, then to Missi's house, then to the park sign, then to the gate, then to the curve in the path - BUT WAIT . . . .
It was just past the curve in the path (approximately 3.25 miles left out of what became a 6.55 mile run) when EVERYTHING changed. What was that ahead on the path? It's a guy - hmmm, in business clothes - hmmm, he's just standing there - am I going to be mugged? I get a bit closer . . . it's my husband!!!! He had seen me on the other road and then parked his car and walked backwards up the path I was running so that he would run into me. What a HUGELY HUGE surprise!!!! Seriously, this was my 126th run in the last 2 years and NEVER has he ever surprised me along the route. At first I thought something might be wrong, but nope, he just wanted to cheer me on. We walked together for about a half of mile (maybe a little more) and then he got back in his car. I went back to my 2:40 & 2 intervals, but this time I did 180 bpm for my running intervals - I was flying. Then . . . ahead, what do I see in the shadows of a covered bridge - is it a creeper? Nope, it's my husband again - horray. He high fived me and went back to his car. He drove up to the next parking lot and met me one more time. This time I was only about .6 miles from my car so I asked if he wanted to walk the rest with me and I'd bring him back to his car. He agreed and the final 1/2 mile was a nice walk (he walks fast!).
Daily Mile said that I went 6.55 miles in 1:30:31 which is a sub 14 m/m pace - not too bad given I walked about 1.5 miles in total. I think those 180 bpm intervals really helped.
Side note and big realization - the reason that I couldn't find "my pace and rhythm" was because I'm no longer a consistent 14 minute miler. I have been running 14-14:30 min miles for 2 years. I can pace anyone at that speed. I don't even need a watch - my body just knows. No longer - now I'm a 13-13:30 min/mile runner and that's not yet a natural feel for me. I'm a girl without an internal rhythm - I hope to get it again soon. It is an incredibly satisfying feeling to finally be getting faster. Woot Woot!
Look out Runners on Parade (7/9) - a 5K PR is almost certainly coming my way!