Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The magic mile.

I haven't timed myself in a mile in a long time.  Last decade, when I was in my fifties, I used to run my neighborhood mile and try to keep it under 7 minutes, usually finishing it in the 6:40s or 6:50s.  But that was before my injury in 2009, which laid me up for two years.

It took a long time, and a lot of weight coming off, to get back under nine minute miles.  Then when I got the weight off, I could do a sub-eight again, but I can't approach 7 minutes in the mile anymore.  I know that in my 3-mile race last spring, I did a 7:30 first mile before I tired and struggled to finish in 24:29 (8:10).

Recently I ran a timed mile in my neighborhood, without looking at my watch during it, to see where I was at in non-competitive conditions.  As usual, I started in front of my house, and ran up the block, slightly uphill, for the first quarter mile.  Then I gained level ground and ran down the side street to Railroad Avenue, which parallels the flat W&OD Trail, thinking the whole time, now that the incline was behind me, about turnover.

I burned down Railroad Avenue and back, traversed the side street again, and turned down my block, which was now a slight, but welcome, downhill.  I was tempted to look at my watch but I eschewed it, not wanting to be demoralized as I feared, now that I was approaching the end stretch, that it would show that I would be mired in the eights somewhere at the finish.  I kicked as much as I could, reached the dumpster marking the finish line in the strip mall parking lot one house past my house, and clicked my watch . . .  at 7:4668, which I rounded down to 7:46.

I was delighted.  It's a start.

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