I went into my training program assuming that I’d never progress past the runwalking that I’d always done. Eight weeks ago, we did a one mile benchmark run to test our speed, and I struggled to run for the full mile. On Tuesday, we repeated the timed mile and… well, you’ll have to scroll down to see what happened.
The Plan (An easy week before we increase our distance again):
- Monday, 7/17: Mandatory rest
- Tuesday, 7/18: Group training with repeats of timed benchmarks (plus kickboxing)
- Wednesday, 7/19:
- Thursday, 7/20: Kickboxing
- Friday, 7/21: Mandatory rest
- Saturday, 7/22: 4-5 mile run (oops, overslept and missed the run, but went to Pilates)
- Sunday, 7/23: 5.x mile run
Eight weeks ago, I was just getting to know the team, mentors and coaches. While there are a couple of runwalkers on the team, they’re considerably older than I am. I didn’t want to be the only one of the <50 group that couldn’t run the full mile, so I pushed myself until my legs burned, trying to keep up with that person beside me. I finished with a 9:40 mile, and I thought that I was going to die.
On Tuesday night, we repeated the same procedure as before. This time, I had to consciously pace myself on the first half-mile lap so that I’d have the energy to finish strong. I passed two people on the home stretch and ended up finishing with a time of 8:38. Even more impressive: I wasn’t completely dead. That’s an 11% pace improvement in two months. Wow. I still can’t believe that so much has changed so quickly. But what’s interesting to me is that I can run much faster with the group than I can alone. Clearly, there’s something to be said for the shared energy and adrenaline that comes with running with the pack!
This weekend, I’d planned to do my usual routine of early Saturday run followed by Pilates. I set my alarm for 5:55. I remember hearing the alarm, but not doing anything about it. Next thing I knew it was 7:07 and I had to move quickly to even make it to Pilates on time. I postponed the run until Sunday morning and in spite of completely misjudging the number and angle of hills, nearly made it to the lovely Starbucks beside the vineyard (6.3 miles away) before the boys caught up with me by car. I rode the remaining 0.75 miles to breakfast, then got a nice leg massage as I relaxed outside and compulsively checked Twitter and Facebook to see how my friends had done in the SF Marathon and half marathon. (Turns out that I have many friends who are formidable competition. Who knew?)