Roughly 3 years ago, I set a goal for myself to run 5 miles at under a 10 minute mile pace. The tough part about this was 1) I lived in Iowa at the time and the weather doesn’t always cooperate. 2) I was going to be doing most of the running on a treadmill because I had a 6 month old baby and a 2 year old at home.
A little less than 6 months after that, I was up to 3 or 4 miles, not quite at 10 minute miles, but close. I ended up having some health issues (not related to the running) but the running had to be put on hold for about another 6 months. Less than 5 months after that we moved back to San Diego. I didn’t really get back to running until January of 2011.
I did OK for awhile but got bored because I was running a lot on the treadmill again. I would stop running for about a month and then get back to it once I would see the scale creep up 5 or 7 lbs.
I was at my 10 minute mile pace, but even getting 3 miles in was kind of a struggle. I bought a running stroller so I could run outside with Rory when Kamryn was at school. That was really hard, but at least I was getting a few miles in during the week.
Somewhere in there, I started running with my brother, Dan. He runs a lot and has a few marathons and other races under his belt. I, on the other hand have a total of one race under my belt, excluding any of my junior high and high school track meets.
I. Do. Not. Like. To. Race. At all. I get so incredibly nervous that I feel like I’m going to either puke or shit my pants. It is horrible. Once I start running, I’m fine, but that anxiety I feel before is horrible. And it’s not just immediately before – it starts the minute conversation veers in the direction of racing.
I tell anyone that will listen about my racing neurosis, but no one seems to care because my friends and my brother are still suggesting races for me to enter. I keep turning everyone down and so instead, my brother came up with his own race for me.
Today was my race. I had to run a 5 mile course in under 50 minutes. It’s actually like 5.1 miles because my anal retentive brother thinks the markers are off a little bit. His job was to run with me as my pacer. I told him to wear the watch and keep me where I needed to be, but I also told him he wasn’t allowed to tell me if I fell behind my pace. He would just have to make sure I finished where I needed to.
49 minutes and 26 seconds later I finished my race. I ran seconds under 10 minute miles for the first 4 miles and then my last mile was 9 minutes and 30 seconds. To say I was happy with my time is an understatement.
Dan’s strategy was to get me to meet this goal – something that I didn’t really know if I could do so my confidence would increase. Did it work? Yes. Have I signed up for a race? No. Am I seriously considering it? Yeah, I think I am.