Thursday, September 4, 2008

Virtual Mile + A Little Humble Pie

I really had not even remotely planned to run the virtual mile race (which happens to be sponsored by one of my fellow Zonies), until somehow some inspiration spilled over from Pat ~ and made me slap on some running shoes at 9pm last night and head out the door. It also helped that I had missed my short run on Tuesday night (due to an explosion of craziness at my house that night) so I needed to make up the run any way. I am committed to NOT missing a scheduled training run. I need to make it up some how, some way.

The mile really isn’t my favorite running distance. Especially the FIRST mile of any run ~ it is always the total WORST for me. It seems to take forever for me to find a groove ~ which if the planets align properly, sometimes happens between miles 3 and 4. So that explains why a 5K distance never works out well for me either. Maybe I am really a distance runner at heart????

Last night's run was also in celebration of my RACE-aversary, which as Wes articulated ~ really should be celebrated with a RUN. So I donned my Bridge to Breakwater shirt in honor of the occasion and headed out. It was still somewhere near 90 degrees at the time. No sun obviously, but toasty.

And to totally buck the system, I even took my least-favorite running partner out with me: Mr. Garmie. I had to dig, mind you, to find him after a long summer of 4-5 mile per week, Garmie-less runs….but we rediscovered each other after a relatively short search. I had asked hubby for assistance in locating my friend and all I got was this:

Me: I’m looking for my Garmin

Hubs: Oh, that watch-thing?

Me: (in utter disbelief, covering Garmie’s ears and walking out the door) I believe he prefers to be called a PERFORMANCE DEVICE.

Sheesh!!!! Non-Runners.

So the plan was simple: one mile out, one mile back. Shower. Bed. Sweet Dreams.

So I ran. And ran. And RAN….

I even passed a jogger up ahead of me ~ and believe me when I say that this kind of stuff NEVER happens. I am always the passEE, never the passER.

Garmie was tired, almost running on zero battery power….just like me. We made a perfect pair last night. I glanced at him 3 or 4 times during the first mile ~ and was elated to see a 10:18 or 10:20 smiling back at me. I was convinced that I was going to ROCK this Virtual Mile race with my fastest mile split ever. The fastest mile I had ever run was in June over in San Diego ~ about a 10:48 with hills ~ and I knew I was trucking along at a much faster clip last night.

It takes a lot for me to run that pace and not allow myself to stop. I thought of all the blogging buddies that might be running a Virtual Mile right along with me. I told myself that I should be able to do ANYTHING for 10 minutes.

When Garmie screeched loudly at me over my huffing and puffing, I came to a halt. I was excited to see the final verdict.

That’s when a big piece of Humble Pie came falling from the sky and landed squarely at my feet: 11:05.

I was in utter disbelief! Didn’t even break 11 minutes?? All that effort and I couldn’t even beat my June split? I believe a string of profane sayings came out of my mouth ~ or at least went through my head ~ as I took a quick breather and turned around for the jog home. I donned my usual comfort pace, turned off Garmie, and went over it all in my head again.

I tried to convince myself that maybe Garmie had a bad night. I mean, after all, he was totally on almost nothing for battery ~ so it can happen, right? I’ve read many accounts of other runners with messed up splits. Right? Or maybe it was too cloudy and the satellite didn’t pick up properly. Right? There had to be a reason. Maybe Garmie was just paying me back for the watch remark from Hubs? I wouldn’t blame him for being angry, you know.

But sadly, I am a logical person and while I believe that Garmie can mess up individual mile splits on a longer run, or even be vindictive on a whim, I happen to know that TIME is TIME and there was no way to dispute that it took me 11:05 to run the single mile. It was 11 minutes and 5 seconds after I had left home, and that could not be disputed.

It was time for me to eat the Humble Pie that had been served to me and make my way back home. I analyzed many things on that last mile ~ perhaps that maybe I should have timed my SECOND mile for the race, after having a chance to warm up…..or perhaps it was the heat…….maybe it was my new shoes not being entirely broken in…….maybe………maybe. But by the time I got home, I had a new appreciation for who I am as a runner….as well as who I am not.

I am not fast, but I AM a runner.
I am a runner that has to work hard all the time and not take things for granted.
I am a runner that has run 4 miles a week for the past couple months, yet expected to knock out a stellar mile on a whim.
I am a runner that has to do short runs in the late evening hours after all the work and family obligations are satisfied.
I am a runner that just a couple years ago would not have been able to run continuous mile at all, at any pace.
I am a runner that shouldn’t compare myself to others, but relish in my own accomplishments instead.
I am a runner that not long ago was still running 12-13 minutes splits, no matter how short the distance.
I am a runner that despite what I often believe, is making slow progress on a regular basis.
I am a runner committed to setting goals and reaching them.
I am a runner that will continue to be inspired by others.
I am a runner...

I could go on and on about all the things I learned about myself last night in 11 minutes and 5 seconds. And instead of coming home disappointed and deflated, I came home renewed and inspired. I have many, MANY things to work on in the coming months ~ last night gave me a very clear indication of that. It was both a wake-up call and a reaffirmation.

So thanks Reid, for the idea of this Virtual Mile ~ and to my buddy Pat, who without even knowing it, in an indirect way gave me the mental push I needed to go give it a try.

Today I officially registered for both the PF Chang’s RNR Half next January, and the Surf City Half in February.
The goals are officially out there again ~ now it is just time to do the work.


Reid said...

I'm so glad you decided to participate! Thanks for sharing your mile with me. I really enjoyed your post. You can definitely learn a lot about yourself in just one mile. Good luck with your new goals!

Calyx Meredith said...

Fantastic post!! Spot on. You are a good runner and a good writer. Best of luck with the races on your horizons.

Laura N said...

What an absolutely fabulous post. Very inspiring!

And I can completely identify with being deflated over splits. Shouldn't I be faster by now? I keep asking myself. Well, NO, I shouldn't. I'm a 38 year old woman carrying around 20ish extra pounds who's only been running for one year.

It's just like anything we women do--we like to compare ourselves with others (is my butt bigger than hers?). And just like that bad habit, it's a bad idea to compare running times. So, good for you for figuring it out and sharing it with the rest of us. Thank you!

On the new diet thing--I don't know how it's going to affect my running yet. This first week is the toughest, with the lowest carbs. And my long run this weekend is only 6.2 miles, so it's a good week to do the low carb thing. I feel GREAT so far today, but I've only had 4 meals and much carb depletion still has to occur in my body and I'm sure I'll feel like crap tomorrow. The good thing is, I think I'll be able to have more carbs in time for my longer runs in the next few weeks. Who knows. If it's too bad, I'll ditch it and start over after my half on October 12. I'll keep you posted.

Have a great night, sister girlfriend!

Running Knitter said...

What a great post! :)

Pat said...

The hard part is getting out the front door. Good job on your mile. I'm going to make a concerted effort to work on my one mile time. it's just fun to move your legs fast.

Nat said...

This post was what I needed to read. You are absolutely correct. And well, I can't wait to run with you. Fast slow or whatever...

I was trying to do 10:54 splits on Wednesday and I accomplished exactly one of them. I managed one almost dead on, one a bit over, one 30 seconds over than last a minute over. Sometimes it's just not there you know?

I think Marathon Dude Bill may be right, sometimes I am just too hard on myself.

teacherwoman said...

Love the positives! I would like to try this 1 mile virtual race, who started it?

BTW, I usually DESPISE the first mile of any race... just like you! it's the worst I believe!

Marcy said...

Great post chica!! You freekin rock. FO SHO!! ;D ;D

Jeff said...

Poke -- you didn't train for this -- you should be totally stoked with your time. It's great that you got out there and just did it. Kudos to Pat for his inspiration, too. Way to go and keep up the good work!

(Please note the entirely positive spin on this post. There is no sarcasm or anything at all to detract from the intended message. I could have said something about the temperature whine -- geeze, 90 is like a cold wave out there, no? But I didn't. I could have noted how slow an 11 minute mile really is, especially for a fine tuned elite athlete like yourself, but I didn't. Have a nice day.)

Nitmos said...

See? In the end, Garmin knew what it was doing. It renewed your motivation. All hail Garmin and its devious, caring ways.

RooBabs said...

What a fabulous post- and so inspiring! Great job on getting so much more out of your mile than just pounding the pavement.

J~Mom said...

Nice job woman!!!!!!!!!!! Welcome back to blogland!! I missed ya!

Non-Runner Nancy said...

yeee ah. that is pretty much a ditto for my humble pie mile as well. I am in the same boat with the low mileage over the last couple months and the inflated expectations. :D We are where we are and it might not be the fastest chickies on the block, but we still ROCK. Damn it, why don't you live here? :D :D