Faster me

I set out on Saturday (a muggy, humid, pre-storm, disgustingly hot morning) to do a new running workout. I live in the city and am plagued by traffic lights and minimal places to run uninterrupted. Thus when I run my usual route of 4-5 miles, I’m usually only running about half a mile max before I hit a street I need to cross. If I’m lucky or feeling ambitious I can make it quite far along without hitting a red but sometimes I’m being a baby and subconsciously sabotage myself to purposely hit the reds and get a break.

I was reminiscing after reading about a track workout on a blog about being able to run 800 or mile repeats. Unfortunately the closest track to me is a high school track in an unsavory neighborhood that I’m not keen on sneaking into either pre-dawn or after work. I did what any other city dweller unable to get to the track or trails would – I mapped out an uninterrupted stretch of approximately a mile along my usual safe route towards touristy areas.

I set off excitedly Saturday morning, eager to do my first mile repeats workout. Once in a while I’ll do sprints on a treadmill but for time (30sec) not distance. Armed with my newly unearthed old Nike watch, whose features I forget how to use save for the stopwatch, I braved the heat and humidity. A storm was headed in later and I did not want to be caught in it.

Uh oh, my first block long jog to a stoplight already left me with a cramp. I always run on an empty stomach but chose to eat eggs and bacon before this run. No bueno. I slowly jogged the 1.5 miles to the start of my mile loop. Ambitiously, I aimed to run 3 mile repeats and then walk/jog cool down back home. I had no idea how fast I could run.

The first mile sucked. I had a horrible cramp and was heavily out of breath even before hitting the halfway mark. Oh dear god. I told myself to man the fuck up and push it. First mile in 7:05. Shocked. Didn’t think I could break 8. Walking slowly back to the start I wondered if I could push even more. Started mile #2 and felt like my legs were lead and I was barely moving. I stared at my watch at a bit more than halfway, expecting to see 5-6min on it but instead seeing 4min. Oh em gee. I pushed it and clocked in at 6:50. Still slower than my gangly 13 year old brother but the fastest mile-ish distance I’ve ever run.

Exhausted, I called it a day and jogged the mile and a half home to stuff my face quickly and take a nap to my boyfriend watching college football. Not a bad Saturday. I woke up to a dark, stormy and windy afternoon, but was thrilled later going out for a friend’s birthday by this post storm sight, and the beginning of crisp cool fall!

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