this is what a little old lady said to me this morning while she was standing on the curb with her dog watching me finish my first mile repeat. -- i was surprised to hear someone speak to me - usually, there is no one to see me do these intervals ... i do them in the pre-dawn darkness & have grown to like it that way. there is something zen about it. like its not really happening. its in a dream. --- but my husband is out of town this week & i wasn't comfortable leaving the house while the kids were still sleeping. my youngest has a tendency to come up to our bed around 4:30 some mornings. how awful for her if the bed was empty. the intervals were going to have to be done in the daylight. -- it was already hot at 8 am when i started out.
running down my street, everything hurt.
i thought, it's going to be ugly today.
i get to the start & i'm off. i just go. i'm on the one mile at a time program. this has got to be my hardest interval. ever. it is just so hard. it's hard to breathe. and i think its because the sun has come up and its already hot. or i still have some lingering stomach bug. and i swear, coming down the homestretch, i feel a wave of fever encompass my head.
i hit the red button.
this is the fastest mile i have ever run in my life.
4 minutes later i start the next repeat. my mind is blank. i am still on the one mile at a time program. this one feels harder. but i know that the first was too fast. way out of target zone - on the other side. i think its' harder cause its the second one. i give myself permission to take it down a notch. and coming down the homestretch, i feel like a parachute has opened up behind me, the slow-down is that palpable.
i hit the red button.
and now this is the fastest mile i have ever run in my life.
i am completley perplexed by how this happens. i know this sounds absurd. i was just hoping, praying to stay within target range. those numbers were not my goal. i didn't mean to run this fast. and in fact, i may be in the doghouse for doing so. i'm not sure. i know the target range is there for a reason. but it just happened. if someone had asked me when i finished to guess what my split was, i would have guessed at least 20 seconds slower - because that's what it felt like to me. but now i see why it was so hard. so bloody hard. i always wondered what would happen if you really pushed yourself. i mean really, really pushed. do you fall apart into tiny bits? do things start to snap? i wasn't trying to attain those numbers. i was just trying to make it to that yellow line without falling over before i got there. why does it feel like you are running through mud when in fact you are running the fastest you ever have? why does it feel so damn slow when you are in the moment?
i always look back on my workouts & races, and think i could have pushed it a little bit more. sucked it up more. done a little better. am i the only one who thinks this? in the actual moment, though - it doesn't always feel that way. you think this is it, this is my all. i can't give any more. but is it? i wonder. i'm afraid of what would happen on that edge ... that edge of really & truly giving it everything you have. how do you balance on that edge & still make it to the finish line? in one piece? and feel and know that you had absolutley nothing else to give?
there were two more intervals still to go. the 3rd was significantly - relatively speaking now - slower. but dead on my target pace & a pace that had me crying tears of joy last week. unbelieveably, there were no tears of joy this morning. just complete & utter surprise -- along with the thoughts that i should get my watch checked. i didn't think it was possible - especially when that wasn't the star i was shooting for. and in an unprecedented move, i skipped the last one. i felt totally spent & slightly dizzy. i thought the first two were so fast they were an invitation to injury. and there was that fear - that fear of what would happen if i went just one more. would things fall off? would i blow my marathon? it is ridiculously hard for me to make a call like this. and i debated over & over if i should do the 4th. of course now - hours later ... i think i should have sucked it up & done it. but in the moment - i felt it was almost impossible. i burned it all up in the first two. but still. i wonder what the 4th would have been.
i look at that time up there. my fastest mile ever. i never thought that those numbers were attainable. i always thought i was giving it my all. i wonder if i set the bar higher, and stopped being afraid of what would happen along the way, what am i capable of?