Last Tuesday was a day of reckoning: My coach, Lynn Jennings, had me do a timed mile to see what I was made of. (Well, okay, she had me do it so she could figure out what I should be running my track intervals at….) The first time I’d done four laps around the track for time, in May 2007, I’d run 7:31, and I thought I was hot stuff. After numerous track workouts, I dialed it back to 7:23 in September 2007. Now here I was, almost 18 months later, and it was once again time to put the pedal all the way down to the metal.
The night before, I asked hubby-Jack what he thought I’d run. His guess? 7:29. Oh, he of little faith! I snorted, “No way, I’m aiming for 7:00 to 7:15.”
The next morning, when Lynn and I got to the track, she had me do a 400-meter piece, which I clocked in 1:35—at least 10 seconds better than my usual repeats. (Amazing what having an Olympian holding a stopwatch on the sidelines can do for leg speed and turnover…) Then she gave me a few pointers—stay on it the entire way; light, quick steps; pump the arms—and I was off.
Coming around the backside of lap 1, my quads felt like they were running on empty. I visualized the honey I’d drizzled onto my pre-run steel-cut oats, and willed it to my straining muscles. It did the trick: My legs felt energized by the 400-meter mark.
Lynn yelled out my splits, but not my cumulative time. I suck at math even when standing still, so I was clueless as I continued to circle the track. I felt like I was pushing my hardest, but not in a scary, I’m-going-to-die way. I was in control, and I finished strong. I felt like I’d possibly met my goal…
I blew the doors off it! I ran 6:37!!! I was jubilant and in a state of disbelief as I jogged around the track. Me—I’d run a 6:37-minute mile!! Game on!