I bought a pair of running shoes this week. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a pair. Anyway, after I broke them in and decided I wasn’t going to have a heart attack if I pushed myself a little bit, I tried three miles.
I took it slow. I made myself jog the whole time, but I didn’t push hard knowing I had to go to work in another 2 hours. I did three miles in just under 27 minutes.
That was kind of a relief, especially since I barely expected a nine-minute mile. I’m not as out of shape as I thought I was. More importantly, I loved how it felt to run again. The tension surging all through me, breathing out the stomach cramps and telling myself not to walk. I remember how it felt to put all my effort into something. I remember how it felt to simply go and stop worrying about the mechanics of the act. Move. All you have to do is keep moving.
It was raining really hard tonight. Thunder and lightning. I kind of wanted to go watch the jam session at the waterwheel, but more than that, I wanted to run in the rain.
I bought a stopwatch yesterday for the sole purpose of marking my miles. I wanted to see what kind of pace I could hold. So even though I got up this morning to run my three miles at a nice easy pace, I wanted another go at it in the storm.
I wanted to push this time.
As I approached the end of that first mile, I was already burning bad. I crossed Harford and Sixth, my 1.0 marker at 7:12. Just over 7 minutes. That’s not so bad for someone who’s been behind a desk for the last five months.
Just because you do one in 7:12 doesn’t mean you’ll do three in 21:36 though. Halfway through mile two, I decided two was going to be enough. There’s no point in hurting
myself to prove I’m not a superhero. Choosing to end it on two meant I could push that much harder while I was still running, though. I looped up 7th and made the criss cross up 6th and 5th that would give me another full mile as I headed back toward my house. (The worst thing is having to cross broad, because I’m not sure if I should stop the watch or what…)
The best part of a race is the end. When I ran cross country, I was running a race where this kid from Victor just kind of latched on to me. I would pass him, he would pass me. I would pass him, he would pass me. In the last 400m of that race, we were skipping over people like rocks across water trying to beat each other out. In the last 50m my stride won out, probably by less than one second.
We shook hands going down the ramp. It didn’t matter who crossed the line first or what our times were. We each knew that without the other, we’d still be somewhere along that 3.1-mile track, pushing just hard enough to make it look like we were trying.
After I crossed broad I let everything out, curling down 4th back towards High Street. When I hit the two mile mark, I stopped the watch and slowed myself to a jog. I decided not to look at the watch until I finished my cool down. I jogged for a half block, went into a walk, and finally looked at the timer.
I haven’t lost the runner in me. I thought the 1st mile was my undoing, but I managed to hold the 2nd mile to under 8 minutes, almost matching my pace.
So for reasons of keeping track of my progress:
Two Mile– One 7:12 Two 7:40