I did it!
Yes, me. The gal who is not especially fond of the track, spent four weeks running 16 circles around it.
Whodda thunk, right?
First off, let me say that I have never been a track lover. I like variety, and I honestly don't get that on the track. Even when I vary the distance (number of laps) or speed, the scenery never changes. For me, that can be a buzzkill and/or a bit of a deal-breaker.
Here are a few thoughts, observations, and reflections on the experience...
I was somewhat familiar with 1-mile racing, since I had previously raced the Grand Blue Mile twice (in 2018 and 2019), finishing in 7:52 (3rd place AG) and 7:23 (4th place AG) respectively. To say I had some pretty high expectations, for these trials on the track, would be an understatement (especially considering the GBM race course only had two turns and was predominately a straight-away route).
|at the 2019 Grand Blue Mile (Des Moines, IA)|
These time trials were both mentally and physically challenging. It's one thing to get (and stay) motivated to show up each week, but also drawing on the physical stamina to hold a fast-for-me pace (for an entire mile...you know, four continuous laps) was out of my comfort zone.
To me, the track symbolizes competition and racing. While I usually dread that aspect of running, these 1-mile excursions, on said track, weren't as dreadful as anticipated. After all, I was only on the track, each week, for less than 10 minutes. Also, I was only committed to doing four of these time trials. These trials were all on me...and I would never have to do them again if I chose not to.
The first 1-miler was run on a chilly mid-week morning (May 5th). I had not done any speed-training over the winter (due to my stress fracture recovery and slow-paced rally-back). When I clocked a 7:21 for that first 1-mile time trial attempt, I was not only a bit surprised (because it bested my previous PR of 7:23), but also worried that I had already set the bar pretty high.
|Week1 - 7:21|
When I'd run the Grand Blue Mile, I'd finished feeling quite accomplished. After all, I'm pretty much a middle-of-the-pack runner, and was not blessed with obvious finesse, grace or speed (to give you some perspective, the 2019 female GBM champion clocked a 4:30). I'm more of an endurance junkie, and that suits me fine. After my 7:23 finish at the 2019 GBM, it took me a couple hours of coughing to clear my throat and several days for my legs to recover. This first 1-mile time trial left me feeling proud and excited, but I didn't have that feeling of "leaving it all out there." While I'd run that mile strong and steady, I kind of held back on my energy (out of fear of crashing too soon)...thus, I needed to figure out a better strategy of pacing myself a bit faster without depleting all my juice before the finish line.
A week later (May 12th), I ran the second time trial. The circumstances were less-than-ideal...I'd been up since 4:30AM (and had spent the morning chauffeuring the hubby to an appointment) and ran this about 10 hours later, in the heat of the day. Boom...somehow, I managed an 8-second improvement over the previous week's time with a 7:13 finish. Also, if you look closely, there's a bandage on my arm from my second dose of Covid vaccine (about 40 minutes prior).
|Week 2 - 7:13|
When it came time for the third 1-miler (May 20th), my body just wasn't feeling 100%. It had been a week since that second Covid vax, and I'd been hosting a nasty head cold ever since. The humidity was a lovely 98% and there also was a 13mph wind to battle, but it was a "dry" window of opportunity to get the run done in the midst of several continuous days of rain. The result- 7:39. Not my fastest, but still decently speedy for me. Although I had hoped to run these time trials with faster finish times each week, this was the best I could manage on that morning, and I was quite content with my effort given the circumstances. Moving on...
|Week 3 - 7:39|
At long last, the grand finale was on Wednesday morning, May 26th. The temps were on-point; even though the air was damp from the overnight rain, the sunrise was beckoning and I was feeling good. I wasn't able to snag a PR, but I came close, clocking a 7:14 ... a mere second from tying the 7:13 from two weeks prior. Disappointed? Nope! I'd just run my second fastest 1-mile, how could I be disappointed?
|Week 4 - 7:14|
So, why did I do this to myself? Why impose that kind of pressure, doing something so hard (physically and mentally)?