I have had an interesting week of running. Beginning last Monday, I decided to incorporate a little tactic I learned from my favorite Marine - "Attack the Day". Ryan taught me that getting up early and busting through the workout before anything else sets the tone for the day, and totally puts you in charge. So as much as early mornings make me want to punch myself repeatedly in the lady business, I've been setting my alarm.
For 4:30 a.m.
Up and out the door by 5 is not easy for me. But once I'm out, I love it. And that love is starting to show up in the run itself. Last week, I had two miles on the training plan. I ran them in under a half hour - 28 minutes, 40 seconds, to be exact, for an average pace-per-mile of 14:11. Not bad for a clydesdale such as myself. But today was another story entirely.
Today it was three miles, just as the sun was beginning to make the horizon glow. The air was chilly and perfect, and the birds were whistling at me. (They do like to flatter, don't they?) I took my first mile at a relaxed pace, letting my legs warm up. This is sort of a requirement, because when it's early, my everything hurts. I set off through the subdivision and decided I could speed up in mile two.
I felt strong, and I will admit I felt kinda special, being up before the rest of the world. I thought about form, taking care to do the work as cleanly as possible. Even steps; core tight; head up. On short runs, I don't use headphones and I don't listen to music; I just listen for the app to notify me at each mile, and to let me know when I am half done so I can turn around and head home.
It wasn't until I made the turn to come home and heard my final mile come to a close that I realized I had reached an elusive goal: I had run negative splits for each mile (with my pace getting faster each mile, instead of slower). Not only did I do it, my third mile was almost 30 seconds faster than my first!
I am hoping to keep this up throughout my training for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon in November. I've given myself over to the training, and I am determined to follow it as closely as possible right up until race day. There will be tweaks, but over all, I'm keeping my eyes on the prize.
Speaking of which, this weekend promises a unique prize of its own. I am participating in the Chicago Tri on a relay team! Yes, my friends Pam and Jim were foolish enough to allow me to do the run leg! Pam is doing the one-mile swim, Jim will be biking 25 miles and I ... foolishly, I've been elected to run the 10K (6.2 miles) anchor leg to finish out the race. Mostly because Jim didn't want to run. Linda is doing the full race, and I am so proud of her! I'm looking forward to busting out of my comfort zone, doing something different, earning a shiny new medal, and working as part of a team.
And finishing. I always look forward to finishing.