I've been staying really consistent with my work outs - every other day since late December with very few misses - but I haven't made many gains in my running speed. I've wanted so much to run a mile in under ten minutes, and maybe I could have if I went out and just ran one mile, but my goal has been to do it in the course of my normal runs, which are usually 5k. Twice in post-surf euphoria I've made a 10:06 mile at the beginning of a run, but those were months ago, and now my miles are pretty consistently 10:50. I can stick with an 11-minute average almost no matter how far I go - 3 miles will be 33 minutes, 4 miles will be 44, etc. - but I can't get that first mile under 10. Or I couldn't. Until Saturday.
I know that a 10-minute mile is pretty slow to real runners and people who are in great shape. But I'm neither of those things. A year ago I laced up tennis shoes for the first time in a long time to see how far I could jog and I made it barely 1/4 of a mile. Since then I've tried consistently to run a mile in under ten and I've never been able to do it. And I'll never run a marathon, and I'll never be a super athlete, but on Saturday the temperature was right, there was a light wind, and the first song on my iPod was a good one, and as I finished my first lap (4 laps to a mile) and noticed 2:30 on my watch, I did some quick math and thought: I'm doing this.
I had a pretty tough week last week; there were a few difficult events that discouraged me and got me off course personally. But as I was running I was thinking how I always look to things outside of myself for inspiration - to my family, to poems or quotes, or to famous people who have overcome obstacles. That night I thought: I'm going to be my own inspiration. I'm going to accomplish my goal so when I need extra strength, I can think of something I've done. And then I did it! I came in *just* under 10 minutes for the first mile. Not much under, but it didn't matter - it was under ten. And I went on to finish 2 1/4 more in good time, even with the pause for the fist pump and the happy dance after the first one.
Next stop: 9 1/2-minute mile!