Last night, the Striders/SMARTies were doing 1 mile time trials at Stratford High School so I thought I'd go out and "give it a whirl." Hal's schedule called for 3 miles. Perfect! One mile warm-up, one mile ALL-OUT, one mile cool-down.
I thought most of the day on a goal for the mile trial. This was the first time I've every run 1 mile as fast as I could so I really had no reference from which to set a goal. The only race I've run recently was the Fired Up 5K so I plugged my time (40:51) into the McMillan Running Calculator that I first came across on Bill's site. The predictor said I should be able to run a mile in 11:47, based on my 5K time. Yikes!!! When I arrived at Stratford, Steve asked me what I thought I was able to do. I told him what McMillan said and he said, ok, then you can shoot for 3 minutes for each of the first 3 laps and then kick it in on the last lap and see what you've got left at the end. So, I was shooting for around 12 minutes.
Steve had the clock set up at the start so we could see our time for each lap in big red numbers. That was cool. I did a mile warmup in comfortable fashion and then walked around for a bit waiting for my turn. Just before starting, I did a couple of 50 yard strides and was ready. Steve said Go so I went!
The very cool thing was that by the time I got around to the opposite side of the track (after 200m) There was Steve shouting out, giving me my 200m time. I also had my Garmin so the feedback was way more than adequate. Steve continued cutting accross the field every 200m to keep me going and make sure I knew where I was and how I was supposed to be feeling.
Another VERY COOL thing was that Jim and Rosa paced me the last 3 laps. They were such a big encouragement and pulled me along pretty hard. I must admit I was sucking wind just about the entire mile. As Steve said, the 3rd lap was hardest. I'm sure I slowed down a bit from the first 2. Next time, I'm going to keep my 1/4 mile splits. This time, I couldn't even think about reaching down to press that little lap button on the Garmin. The fourth and final lap is kind of hard to remember. I do remember Steve stepping in to run the last lap with me. As I came aroun the last lap, I think our pack picked some more encouragers. Jim and Rosa continued by my side and Steve was just in front of me. I don't know why or how but I said a few words (probably trying to be funny) but Steve said, Shut up and run!!! I picked it up a little, or at least it felt like I did, going into the last 200m. I was hurting. My chest felt like it was about to explode. About the time I was straightening out of the curve for the last 100, behind the encouragment of what seemed like a stadium full of cheering fans but was actually the awesome 5-10 (I don't know how many) pacers/encouragers we had picked up along the way, I somehow found a little extra from somewhere inside. I honestly don't know where it came from. Heck, I don't even know if I was going faster or if I was simply putting forth that much more effort to just maintain my pace. I don't know if Steve was slowing down but I started to gain on Steve's even pace. I think Steve was just trying to get me in without killing myself but I think he was as surprised as I was that I had a little (very little) kick at the end.
When it was over, I continued to hear all those voices, the crowd of well-wishers sending me congratualtions. The faithful 10 or 15 Striders who were there were such an encouragement to me. I couldn't catch my breath. I remember my baskeball coach from high school would never let us bend over and put our hands on our knees but when Steve told me to do just that, I was all to glad to oblige. After a few seconds, things began to come back into focus. LOL!!! I regained conciousness and remembered where I was. My time: 11:07!!! I never could have done that on my own. Thanks to the Striders who never make me feel as slow and big as I am. I am truly blessed to be part of such a class group. I dont' want to be melodramatic but the Striders are the best. They have meant so much to me over these past 2 years. Never once have I gotten anything but encouragement and camaraderie from this group. It is truly a unique organization.
Total distance - 3 miles
Warm-up mile - 14:45
Mile time trial - 11:07 (first time and PR!!)
Cool-down mile - 15:15