Just like Ricky Bobby, I wanna go fast. And I don’t mean in a car. I want to run. Not jog. RUN. Like the freakin’ wind.
This comes in somewhat sharp contrast to my previous goals where my aim was just to complete my long runs. Now, my goal is to run shorter distances faster. Not only has this given me a new focus, it’s definitely challenged me, and it’s less likely that this ironic annoyance will pop back up because I’m only running a couple days a week.
In January, I began with the non-public goal to run a mile in less than 8 minutes. (I wasn’t confident that I could actually do it, so I kept it to myself—the FBGs are human!) For some of you speed demons who inspire me, that probably doesn’t seem like much. But for me, who considers a 10-minute mile pace darn fast, that’s a whole 2-minute reduction! Two minutes! Much to my surprise, the first time I set out to run at a 8-minute mile pace on the treadmill (oh, so much snow and ice on the ground), I squeaked out five whole minutes. The next week, I nailed it in 8 minutes flat. Despite the fact that my lungs were burning, I was gasping for air and my legs felt like jelly, I was elated and so surprised! “Maybe I am a fast runner,” I thought. “That was just two weeks—imagine what I can do in two more!”
Naturally, like any self-diagnosed type-A person, I set another goal. To run a mile in 7:45. See, part of me thought the 8-minute mile was a fluke, and I really couldn’t imagine running any faster, so my goal was modest. The next two weeks I went for longer yet slower runs mixed in with a few high-intensity interval training (commonly called HIIT) bouts. I’d run at a 7:30 pace for a minute, then do two minutes at a 10-minute mile pace. Over time, the 10-minute pace began to feel slow. Like really slow. It. Was. Exhilarating!
At week three, I tested myself again. And guess what? I ran a full mile in 7:40. Like the wind. I’m currently working on getting under the 7:30 barrier, and then I hope to eventually get it down to 7-minutes even—or 6:59 because that would be incredibly fast. After that? It’ll be all about running a little farther at those faster paces so that I can maybe (hopefully!) keep up with my husband at a 5K. (He’s a freak. In a good way of course.)
The moral of this From the FBGs? Sometimes we put ourselves into boxes of what we think we can or cannot do. But it’s all mental. There are enough stereotypes in the world that we don’t need to stereotype ourselves. And what we think is what we believe and what we believe turns into our actions. If you’ve been telling yourself that you can’t do something, it’s time to flip that thinking, girl! —Jenn