|1609m later, I'm done!|
Place: 1 of 1
Age Group: 1 of 1
There are a few running milestones that will always stick out in my head. The first time I ran a sub 4:00 marathon was an amazing experience. Same as when I ran a sub 20:00 5K (and sub 40:00 10K). Within the same vein, running a sub 5:00 mile is certainly one that will very quickly rise to the top of the charts.
Running a mile all out serves a few really good purposes. It is a great dipstick to tell you where you are from a fitness standpoint. If you can run a 8:45 mile one month and can run a 8:30 mile the next month, you are more fit than you previously were. Simple! Additionally, it is a great speed work session that doesn’t (or I guess, shouldn’t) totally destroy your legs for the remainder of the week. Finally, and this is the most important, it is fun to tell your friends that you ran a mile, all out, elementary school track meet style. (Hopefully this time you didn’t end up with the pink participation ribbon like I always did.)
As I was thinking about where to pace my mile try, the law of diminishing returns really became apparent. The faster the pace, the more effort that you have to put forth to become faster. For example, going from 5.0 mph to 5.2 mph increases your pace from 12:00/mile to 11:30/mile. 30 seconds! However, going from 11.8 mph to 12.0 mph increases your pace from 5:05/mile to 5:00/mile. Only 5 seconds! Yikes. I used a bunch of different formats (wigi board, magic 8 ball, the usual), but ultimately decided that I’d target somewhere between a 4:50 and a 5:00 mile.
So, on Sunday morning, I packed the family into the car and went to the high school track - only to find it locked up. AWESOME. So, it was off to my trusty dirt middle school track to run all 4 laps!
Step 1: Take off your shirt and try to accidentally twist your ankle
Step 2: Run 1.5 miles in normal shoes and then run 0.25 in your race flats
Step 3: Give your son VERY specific instructions to stay off of the track
"whaaaaaat daddy? You're crazy"
Lap 1: 1:12.... Oh crap oh crap oh crap....wayyyy too fast
When you start to push at 97% or 98% of overall max it is very hard to
Lap 2: 1:15.... Yay!! You're running!
On the second lap I had found a decent pace and rhythm. My feet were reaching out to grab the track and my breathing was well under control. So far so good!
Lap 3: 1:17.... So this is what death feels like
When running a mile, the 3rd lap is always the worst. You're half way done but not so far that you can start to click down the meters left. No one ever says "Finally, only 780 meters left!"
Lap 4: 1:15.... All.out.sprint.gahhhhh
Lungs were burning, throat was dry (also burning), legs were tired. Seriously... This SUCKED. When I rounded the corner with 150m left, I looked at my watch and it said something like 4:40. In my oxygen depleted state, I thought that I had beat my 5:00 goal by a long shot!! Unfortunately, turns out that I don't run a 10 second 100m so I was VERY close.
This is what death looks like
Yes, this smile was 100% fake
When I told people what I ran (4:59.77), more than one asked if I was just going to round up to 5:00. Honestly? The thought never even crossed my mind. My argument is that road racers use minutes and seconds....(My Marathon PR is 3:04:00).....Ultra marathoners only really use hours and minutes...(I want my first 50K to be less than 3:59)....Track runners however, use every bit of the clock that is available. (Usain Bolt has the world record in the 100m at 9.58 seconds.) Seems sound to me?
While I know that this bulleted list will solicit a number of responses that say something to the effect of "Really, jackass? You're not happy with a 4:59!?!?" but I honestly think that I could have ran a bit faster on the right day. So, here come the laundry list of excuses:
- It was a gravel track. Each time I tried to push off I could feel my foot slip ever so slightly. Turns out, track runners wear spikes to avoid this VERY specific issue! I likely lost 1 second per 400 because of that
- It was 80 degrees. Dry heat or not, that is hot
- Running a time trial is always harder than running in a race situation. I tell all of the people that I coach that it is the cowbell effect. Everyone always runs harder when they have someone cheering for them. No exception.
- I MIGHT have ran a bit too far and most certainly ran too fast the day before (14 miles, 7:04 pace). I could feel that I didn't have fresh legs during my warm up.
Just like last time, I had my wife capture the entire thing on film. Let me tell you, it is the most boring 5 minutes of your LIFE. Unfortunately, she was trying to chase my son off of the track while I was running so the video gets a little (a lot) shaky. Either that or there were like 10 earth quakes during my run.