Tuesday, May 19, 2009

4 Minutes

About two weeks ago I came home from work and turned the TV on while I foraged for something to eat. I didn't feel like watching the news, so I channel surfed until I came across something with British people in old-fashioned-looking clothes. So I watched that, and it turned out to be a movie about running. It was 4 Minutes, the story of Roger Bannister, the first man to run the mile in under 4 minutes. I really liked it, and two weeks later it's still giving me a lot to think about. For me, my barrier has been the 8-minute mile. I've had that as my goal pace for the 5K for (what feels like) ages now, and I've been having so much trouble getting there. I haven't even done it during a timed mile, let alone as the pace for a longer distance. (I probably have done it, but I didn't get a new stopwatch until last fall, and since then I haven't timed any miles in under 8 minutes.) The closest timed mile that I remember was my freshman year of high school, when I ran it in gym class in 8:07. My method then was to sprint until I couldn't breathe, walk a little, and then sprint some more. When I began running for distance instead of sprinting, it was more jogging than running, and I can't remember another time when I neared 8 minutes.
Yesterday I decided that I needed to change that. I had run with my friend on Friday and, as I posted previously, had to walk for a few minutes because of cramps. Well, I must have seemed really out of shape to my friend, because her husband (who I work with) mentioned to me yesterday that she said I should be running with her sister-in-law rather than her. From what she's told me, her sister-in-law can only run about 2 miles at a time. That really motivated me to do better.
So I decided to run the mile in under 8 minutes. I checked out the movie 4 Minutes from the library and watched it while warming up on the treadmill and stretching . Then I set the treadmill to 6.5 mph (going up to 7mph after 7 minutes) and ran for 1 mile. It took 9:07. Then I went outside, set my stopwatch, and ran 1 mile down the road. I didn't look at my watch until I stopped it, and I was very pleased to see that it read 7:47. I walked for a minute or two and then jogged back to the house for the final mile in about 10 minutes. So now I know that I can do it. I can run a mile in under 8 minutes, and by the end of this summer, I intend to be able to run a 5K at that pace. For now, my goal is a pace of 8:20 for my next race on June 20th. Let's see what I can do.
Ever on.

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