They say that getting started is the hardest part. Not for me, not really. I'm usually pretty ambitious about getting out the door. The hardest part is willing my feet to to keep moving after fifteen, twenty minutes.
My pace is already excruciatingly slow (though I think I'm closer to a twelve minute mile average than my original thirteen/fourteen, so that's progress) that it's not much faster than most people's walk (or my walk, even), so it's hard to keep pushing myself to go when it feels like I'm doing barely more than walking anyway. Then I start thinking about my feet too much and I'm afraid I'm going to trip over myself and fall on my face.
Have you ever fallen on your face? I mean, literally. On your face. I did once. I was in fourth grade and outside at recess and walking around the sidewalk and the next thing I knew I was face down on the concrete. It wasn't particularly graceful, I'm sure, and it was kind of embarrassing. Especially 'cause I was kind of a weird kid anyway and spent a lot of my recess time with a notebook and a pencil.
But I digress.
One of the things that I've been pleasantly surprised to notice was how easily I can run ten minutes now. Something that used to be a huge accomplishment, I can now do pretty easily. I'd even go out on a limb and say that fifteen minutes is probably my new “minimum” run time. Anything less than that and I'd probably be really disappointed in myself when I got home.
I'm not sure what inspired me to go for a Big Run on this day, but like most of my record-breaking runs, it was probably just a case of “why stop when you can keep going?”
As I think I've mentioned before, I measure my runs in five minute intervals. Why, I don't really know, but each five minute segment is a checkpoint for me, and it's easier to tell myself “you can do five more minutes!” than, say, “you can do another ten! Piece of cake!” Five is big enough to mark those notches off, but small enough to not be too intimidating. So I kept building with my five minute blocks. When I got close to thirty-five, though, I told myself I had to make it to forty, and break that PR. Because thirty-six was an insufficient victory, I guess, even though that's all it would have taken to break my record.
Five minute intervals.
The exciting thing about forty minutes is that I knew I had to be close to my 5K goal. I eagerly pulled out my phone and took a look at Runkeeper. I was really disappointed to see 2.91 staring back at me. So close, and yet... I'm not sure I had enough left in me to have gotten that last 0.09 miles. I synced my UP band to see what that one had to say, and it cheerfully announced 3.22 miles. That's more than a 5K. My heart leapt. Did I do it? I think I did it!
The problem, of course, is knowing which device to trust. The UP band has proven itself to be more accurate in the past, so... I don't know. It's hard to say. I decided to go ahead and give myself the 3.22 – hell, I'd earned it.
This also raised an interesting development inside my head. 3.1 miles was my goal; I had no aspirations to run anything more than a 5K. I have no desire to ever run a marathon, or really even a half marathon. I figured I could run 3.1 miles over and over until I got really good at it, and just focus on getting faster. But now that I know I can run 3 miles... I almost don't want to stop there, you know? I might change my distance goal to 5 miles, once I can consistently reach 3 miles. I don't know if today was a fluke or something I'd only be able to pull off once a week or once every other week. I don't know if I'll be able to replicate it again soon. But seeing as how I got there so quickly this year... I'm thinking maybe I'm capable of more than I think. (Aren't we all?)