Sunday, July 19, 2009

Run for Central Park

Somehow, I managed to surprise myself again. Don't ask me how this happens--I honestly don't know where these running performances come from, particularly considering that a) I've been running "seriously" for less than a year and b) I haven't trained with a true running team or received any sort of coaching in over 8 months (i.e. the last time I ran with the Harriers). The only thing I can attribute this to is having been trained as a swimmer and having been the the underdog in that sport for so many years: suffering through practices I could barely complete; sprinting through sets that were intended for "recovery" just to make the times; and pitifully losing every race I swam, making me the last swimmer left in the pool--one of the most humiliating experiences any swimmer can endure. Through all this, the mantras I learned (as corny as they sound) were: "Keep going," "You can't quit now," and, "The pain will only last through the end of this set/race/etc.; you can handle it."

These are the same mantras I apply to running. Whether I need to talk myself into finishing the last two miles of a 20-mile run or to keep myself at "sprint speed" in a 4-mile race, I rely upon my previous mental training to pull me through. This doesn't explain how I have managed to excel at this running business so quickly--I never achieved this sort of success in swimming, and I put in equal, if not more effort there--but perhaps I have stumbled upon a sport where I am lucky enough to possess a "natural gift."

In any event, all this speculation arises due to the results of my latest race, a 4-miler which took place this past Saturday. It was wicked-hot: 86F high for the day, with 94% humidity. I had run miserably slow runs all week long, so I didn't expect to do particularly well, but I gave it my all and somehow I pulled out a 7 min/mile pace by some odd fluke. If you'd like to see ranking results, you can check them out here.

Note: There were 207 female participants in my age group. By some weird happenstance, that puts me in the top 10% of 20-24 yr-old finishers!


Neen said...

Congratulations! I too remember the humiliation of being the last swimmer in the pool. High school swim practice was nothing like FHST---at least we knew how to have fun during our torture! (Although I still shudder to think of blood and guts sets sometimes.) During H.S. practice I was constantly behind. So nightmarish.

Great job on the excellent finish--reading your blog inspired me to start couch to 5k at the end of May and I'm up to running 3 miles at a time now. It's not much, but it's something! Going to aim for my first 5k race this fall...

Miss Arianna said...

whoa! this is awesome! did you tell me about this on our epic 12 miler last weekend? anyway... congrats.