So, I know I did 8 miles last week, and this is only 6.2, but it was still exciting to get out and experience an actual race. There were no pace groups this week, but a couple of other people from my team were planning a 12 mile an hour (mph) pace with 3 minute intervals. I was hoping to do 4, but figured I would stick with 3 and socialize a bit. We started off a little fast, with the first mile at just over 10 mph. The next two miles were about 11 mph. At that point, I knew I was going too fast, and would not be able to maintain that speed. That is significantly faster than what I run when I am left to my own devices (13 mph) and faster than my Saturday morning pace group (12.5). However, I wasn’t the only one, the small group I was a part of began to slow and at the slower pace 12mph pace, mile 4 went by pretty easily. One member of the group was not feeling great, so we took a five minute walk break to see if that helped. The five minute walk break was a bit tough for me to come back from. Once my body has a chance to cool off that much, it has decided its done. But, I shocked it back into action with a pretty significant uphill climb. I was able to run the first two hills, but definitely had to walk the third. At the end of the hills, I broke away from my group. I needed to run just a little bit further at a time (and, well, it was downhill and flat from that point on). So, I ran the last mile or so into the finish line, taking only one twenty second or so break (yep, you guessed it, another hill). I ultimately finished the race, at a 12.4 mph pace and I could have easily kept going.
As you may remember from my earlier posts, speed has not been a concern of mine during training. I haven’t worked on increasing my speed, either during the week or on the weekend. Instead, I have focused solely on adding mileage and endurance. But, what became clear to me during this run, is that I might actually be underestimating my own ability. This is not to say that I am going to set a goal time for finishing the marathon. For the marathon itself, a finish is still a finish. But, for my practice runs during the week, I think it is time to push myself a little bit harder, and a little bit faster.
At the end of the race, the expo was set up with lots of energy food purveyors and coconut water distributers. There were also bounce houses shaped like obstacle courses and corporate sponsors of every shape and form. One of these corporate sponsors brought along the Lorax (this was by the way, the most exciting part of the day for Oliver). Seeing the Lorax, I myself was reminded of a quote from the Once-ler. Talking about a seed, he said: It's not about what it is. It's about what it can become.
I don't know yet what I will become as a result of this experience, but I think it is worthwhile, for me to push myself, to see what I can become.