Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Everything's Relative

I’m not fast. Not even close.

Distance-wise, I’m reasonably confident that I could out-run a lot of people. But if it came down to a speed match, I’d be left in the dust.

I’ve often joked that if I was ever being chased by a robber, I’d be fine – just as long as he chased me for 10-plus miles at a low rate of speed.

When I started running less than two years ago, I averaged 11-minute miles – maybe more. It was more like a shuffle than a run.

These days, I can comfortably pull in a 9:30 pace for a pretty significant distance. If I push it, I can get closer to 9-minute miles. I’ve shaved 20 minutes off my half-marathon time since my first one.

Although I don’t usually see look at it this way, the improvement is pretty impressive.

Sometimes I need to remind myself of that. Now is one of those times.

Although I was excited to participate in the triathlon relay and was really pleased with our team’s performance, I couldn’t help but feel like the weak link in the Try Team.

I just didn’t feel that way. I was the weak link.

I’m sure my teammates will disagree or argue or tell me not to feel that way. But the numbers don’t lie.

Jamie was the first of the relay swimmers to finish. My Trusty Companion had the fourth-fastest cycling time for the relay teams. I ranked 20th for the run – out of only 27 teams.

Those tiny ankle bracelets capture so much information, most of which is almost instantly posted online. As I scrolled through the results from the triathlon, I started analyzing the numbers.

I remarked at the running speeds – rows upon rows of six-, seven- and eight-minute miles.

My official pace was recorded at a 9:19 average.

I was pretty pleased with it at the time, until I started comparing myself to others. And in a strange way, the fact that my teammates had done so well in their field made me question my place on the team.

If they had had a better runner, where would they have ranked?

We didn’t sign up for the relay to win it, so I know that the thought didn’t cross either of my teammates’ minds.

But it sits firmly somewhere in mine. And somehow I know this will turn into another challenge for me.

I just need to figure out how to get faster. I’ve never trained for speed. Team In Training isn’t about winning a race; it’s about getting you across the Finish Line.

We don’t time our training runs and don’t have official time goals. Most of us don’t even wear watches. Generally speaking, it’s pretty common to see TnT runners near the end of the pack.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

There’s nothing wrong with being proud of accomplishing things you never thought you could. Nothing wrong with making slow but steady improvements. Nothing wrong with trying new things and having fun.

Still, I’ve made speed a new goal for me – making a mental commitment to try some interval workouts, drop a few pounds and put more than a few miles in on the bike.

Stay tuned.


1 comment:

  1. Having a competitive spirit is good but do not let it take the fun and sense of accomplishment out of your running. Compete against yourself and try to improve on your previos times at a reasonable timetable. You need to celebrate the achievements you have made not diminish them.


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