I love to run. The thing I like the most about running is that I can do whatever the heck I want. I can run fast or slow. I can run short or long. I can run all prim and proper, like the pros do, orrrrrr . . . I can run like Phoebe. (Those of you slacking on your 90’s trivia can check out the Phoebe run here. Slackers.)
I generally opt for the slow, long, prim and proper run. I have been known to dance (as much as one can whilst running) during road marathons. Sometimes I imitate my 2 year old. Sometimes I demonstrate strength training moves. But mostly, I run like a normal human being, though usually longer.
I have started doing more shorter races, though. This really isn’t because I like them. I honestly don’t. But my husband decided it would be fun to run a race in each of the 50 states. Since he’s not much of a runner, and since he decided that we needed to include our son in each of those races (in a stroller right now), we are sticking with races at or under 10K (6.2 miles). This means I’m doing several short road races each year.
We decided to check off P-A (yes, Pennsylvanians actually refer to our state by it’s abbreviation, and we actually say the letters, not “pa”) by doing a local 5K we had done just after we were married. We decided that he would push the stroller and I would try to PR (personal record). I didn’t think it was likely, but I figured I would see what happen.
I just set my PR last September in our first run on our journey, in Indiana. I dropped it from 26:44 to 25:22. At the time I was absolutely and completely shocked. I was just past the peak of my 100 miler training, and hadn’t done anything resembling speed work in about 4 years. The course had rolling hills, which means it wasn’t flat, but didn’t have any large hill climbs. It just had several small hills – just enough to piss off a runner trying to PR.
I decided to race the 5K “half-assedly”, as I termed it. I wanted to run hard, but not too hard. The race was last night (Wednesday) and I have an ultra on Saturday, so I didn’t want to end up overly sore or injured. I kissed the boys and headed up to the start. The start signal was given and I took off. Literally. I blasted past people like it was my job. I didn’t know what I was doing. I went about a half mile and then looked at my watch. I was shocked to see that I was running a 7:30 minute/mile pace. I have never done that. I figured that time would get slower pretty quickly. It did, but not like I thought it would.
I crossed the finish line in 24:21, though the official results show me at 24:29. I guess I have to go by theirs, since my eyeballs don’t count as “official” race results. Boo-hiss. BUT, I had only hoped to beat 25:22, so this was huge. My big goal was 24:59, but I didn’t think that was possible. I had only ever run below 8:00 for a single mile a few times during speed work on the track. I had never maintained it for more than that. I didn’t think I could.
But I did.
And it was awesome . . . except where I thought I might puke at the end. Eh, that happens.
Imagine if I gave it my all? Hmmmmm . . . it’s just too bad I have this ultra in 2 days, another in August, and one more in October. Decisions, decisions.
How about you? Have you ever totally and absolutely surprised yourself by accomplishing something you truly thought you couldn’t?