When people hear I'm a runner, they assume I book down neighborhood streets at super hero speed! That I am nothing more than a blur as I sprint by! That I could qualify for the Boston Marathon! Because in order to be a runner, you have to be fast, right?
Well, in my case, that couldn't be farther from the truth.
One of the reasons I started running was because no other team sport wanted me. You will hear no pity from me over this, because quite honestly, I can't blame them. I sucked at team sports. I made enemies thanks to team sports because that's how badly I played. With running, I could go at my own pace, and if I didn't go as fast or as long as I had hoped, I wasn't disappointing anyone. I found my Zen when out on the road, I made friends who paced the same way I did, and I have run happily ever after ever since.
Because, lately, I have grown tired of being slow. I want to be fast. At least faster than I've run in the past.
I partially attest my sudden lust for speed to what I affectionately refer to as my midlife crisis. It's that ego-gone-wild that needs to prove that I can be cooler, hipper, faster, and hotter than I was ten years ago. Until, my "inner yogi" smirks at me and goes, "You mean to tell me you haven't suffered enough yet at the hands of your attachments? What are we going to do with you?"
I also credit my new need for speed to the Runner's World Run Streak that I have been participating in since Memorial Day. The rules of the streak are simple: Run at least a mile a day from Memorial Day through the Fourth of July, which will have me running for 38 consecutive days. I love the streak. It has gotten me back in running mode after my fairly long post-Philadelphia Marathon hiatus.
Some days, I go for 4 - 5 milers. I am just beginning to build up distance again for the half marathon I'm running the end of September. On the alternate days, I do a mile as fast as possible. Now that I have begun some "speed work," as they call it, the seed has been planted. I want to go fast. I need to go fast. I want to PR at my next half marathon. Like, super, super want to.
So now, I have to find that middle ground between dreaming big, working hard, yet staying realistic. Especially since I have not had the best of luck on half marathon race days. I ran my first half in 90 degree weather and took several unplanned walk breaks. On my second 13.1, I pulled my IT band at mile 10 and had to hobble the last 3 miles to the finish (I should have just walked off the course but that's a whole other story. At least now you see what a huge trouble maker my ego is). My most recent 13.1, I was scared to push my pace after the IT band fiasco, and just ran it for a good time.
But now I want to compete. At least, against myself.
Sometimes I wonder, if my prior limitations with getting faster have been physical or if they're just in my head.
Because most of the limitations we impose upon ourselves have nothing to do with what's actually possible or impossible and have everything to do with what we think is possible or impossible.
My running goal for my next half marathon is simple: Let go of the idea that I'm slow and just see what happens.
(That - and to completely crush my PR :)
© 2012 Ilene Evans