Hello Mr. 8,
I noticed you stuck your head into my run this morning and I want to thank you for stopping by...I just wished you could have stayed longer. All of these years I"ve toiled and become very familiar with Mr. 10 and his friend upper 9'er...but 8? I've never met you until today. While I know our chance encounter was only for a mile, I hope you can visit again soon.
The Back of the Pack
Such is life with something your strive for... it seems unreachable, and then when you find it and achieve it, you want more of it. For those of you who think nothing of settling in for 6, 7 or even 8 minute mile runs and then hold that pace for umpteen miles, this may all ring a bit trivial. But for those of us content to push ourselves in the middle or back of the pack, it is quite a lithmus test to revelle. When these feet of mine pounded out their first few 1/10ths of a mile 5 years ago, I was good to run a half mile without being gassed. A few years later and several lbs removed, today's happenings are validation.
As I trained for my first half marathon two years ago and my first full marathon last year, I could't quite break the 10 minute mile ceiling. I tried speedwork and intervals but nothing seemed to push me faster than the 9.40 - 10 minute mile mark. I resigned myself to the fact that maybe this body of mine wanted to be at 10 and wasn't budging.
A few months ago — while running with a few guys who were faster and "lighter" — I realized if I wanted to keep up with them and not hold them back I would have to step it up. I concentrated on dropping some more weight and kicking up the pace. As one came down, the other followed. This is not rocket science, but it was improvement. Then came the gradual decrease in pace until I was flirting with 9.20 and 9.10 minutes per mile. A far departure from my two years of stuck somewhere close to 10. Then today came... mile 2 of my run this morning ... 8.58. While I did't shatter the barrier, for me it was one of many steps that I've come to enjoy. Now I just want to become friends with Mr. 8 so we can develop the kind of comraderie that can take us through long runs together without losing each other. And with that, it's back to becoming acquainted with 9 for the time being, with hopes of seeing 8 again real soon.
Downtown Austin/Town Lake Trail
9.13 avg pace