So a good buddy of mine has caught the “Tri bug” (I fear I may be at least partially to blame) and has been training like a beast to go hit up his first Olympic distance triathlon. He was a beast already, so he has raised his beast quotient to a significant degree. Today he gave me a ring and mentioned he was doing a swim training this afternoon. I thought, hey, I’m terrible at that! I should GO!
So, I went. I flopped. I splashed. I sputtered. It is possible that I sang little mermaid songs to myself underwater. And I finished a grueling workout that took right around an hour. Basically I found that my motor was up to the task of swimming but my form was attrocious. When I actually concentrated, swimming was effortless. Then I would breath wrong, or catch my hand on the water on my stroke, or notice the immense spider at the bottom of the pool trying to sell me smack (this was in Natomas, these things happen), and boom… suddenly I’m flailing and struggling to breath and generally looking like someone that the life guard may have an interest in paying attention to.
In any case, after that fun (it really was a ton of fun, and more practice will make it better) I headed home. Traffic was the usual hell, so I didn’t have time for a run until after work.
In triathlon training, a “brick” is where you practice 2 parts of the tri in a row. Swim/bike. Bike/run. The idea is to simulate the burn-out of finishing one section of a triathlon. My brick was somewhat delayed, but I was still tired.
I finished my magical C# incantations and strapped on all my gear. Shoes, hand-bottle, road-id, etc. I was feeling the first pangs of hunger and made myself a deal. I would run 2 miles. If, on either of them, my split was under 10 minutes, I would only run the 2. But if I couldn’t push either split under 10 minutes I had to run 3. I cranked The Best of U2 in my headphones and got myself on the street.
I hadn’t managed to run a recorded mile in under 10 minutes in the 7 weeks I’ve been tracking my runs, so this was potentially a long shot. On the other hand, my trainer liked to run me on the treadmill at well under sub-ten mile pace in the gym, so theoretically it was possible (she always cranked up the incline too, just for the chuckles).
The moment I took off I felt solid, and my 1/4 split had me at 9:55/mile. It was there, but I had to keep it going. Temp wasn’t bad, I had water, and I pushed. I knew where the mile split was, and (lawyer up!) I thought to myself, I only have to do ONE of the miles at under 10, right? The mile came and… bam. 9:45. YES. My first recorded sub-ten mile split. Super.
The thing was… I felt pretty darned good. So I thought, well, let’s keep it up a bit, keep the buns to the fire and see where the edge is. The next 1/4 split came and I was just barely still under 10 minutes, I was fading a bit, but I pushed on. Before I knew it, I was at the 1.75 mile mark, and still averaging under ten. I’d not run a 2 mile under 20 minutes in recent memory, but we’d see about that! I pushed and flew through the 2 mile mark at 19:32, at a 9:30 pace. WOO. Then I nearly collapsed. There was the edge, but I’d pushed it, and there was no going back. Now I know I can pace under 10 minutes/mile on a 2 mile run. It is in the books. The trick now will be to push further, ideally adding miles without losing much, if any, pace. That’s the idea. We’ll see what my lungs have to say about that.