On May 26, I ran the East Hartford Memorial Mile. This was part of the Fit for Summer program I am participating in at Innovative Fitness. The idea was to have as many people from your team participate in an organized event and this just happened to be the one that fit our schedules. Fit for Summer is supposed to be about losing weight, but my main goal, other then the marathon, was meeting more people at the gym and having fun so this race was perfect.
The actual logistics of the race were far from perfect, however. We met at someone’s office but a couple of people were late. We drove in two cars to the race, but we couldn’t find the registration and we got completely blocked by the parade route that was closing streets. Sometimes an adventure is more of an adventure when a few things go wrong, and that’s how I felt about this. Fast Friend turned on her garmin at some point so we could see that we ended up walking over a mile in our attempt to find either the registration or the starting line or the other half of the group. Finally a friendly police officer got us headed in the right direction and we managed to locate the starting line.
I planned to run this race but most of our gang wanted to walk. I had never raced a mile before and was kind of curious what that would be like and how fast I could go. Coach Cowboy, of course, said to race it. Fast Friend is not running right now because of some health issues so I couldn’t talk her into it, but one of my favorite guys at the gym was game so the two of us moved into the pack of runners rather than hanging back. They had a veteran with a starting pistol to start the race, which was pretty fun.
The race started and we took off. Coach Cowboy had said to try for under 8 minutes. I was pretty sure that was possible, but otherwise had basically no idea how long this would take me. I felt like absolute crap and we hadn’t even reached the first quarter mile marker. I thought, uh oh, it’s not going to be a good day, but then I glanced at my watch and it said 6:36!! I just laughed mentally because I don’t get 6:xx anything on that watch ever unless I am working hard on a downhill. So, first insight, even in an incredibly short race, it’s possible to go out too fast. It felt weird to do it, but I slowed down a little. My gym friend slowed too and that’s when I thought, oh, he’s going to stay with me so we can run this together. Cool.
I tried to settle in to a sub-8 pace to the extent that you can “settle in” to anything in a race that is going to take less than 10 minutes. I was often around 7:30 so that was making me happy. I had no idea if I was passing people or being passed because I just wasn’t paying attention. I knew my friend was with me and we passed the quarter mile marker, then the half-mile marker. Time at the halfway mark was something like 3:30 so I was pretty sure sub-8 was in the bag. Around the ¾ mile marker, I started wheezing like crazy. My friend said something like “It’s not much longer!” Again, I was laughing in my head because I knew I sounded so awful, but that I was going to be fine, but no way could I tell him all that.
We crossed the line together in 7:19!!! Wow, I was super excited about that!!!! If I had had to guess, I would have said I could run a mile on a good day in 7:50, maybe 7:45. 7:19 was not in my wildest dreams. Running a mile race ended up being super fun and I would absolutely do it again.