It's been suggested that, if I'm no longer racing, the blog's title should be changed. I'm thinking about it - the title of this post is the best I can do at present.
Sunday, I ran 5 miles in 37 minutes. Monday, I ran 5 miles in 37 minutes. Tuesday, I ran 5 miles in 37 minutes. Today, I ran 5 miles in 37 minutes. Despite the apparent monotony, those were four very different runs; one was a steady run, one had some fast strides, one had a fast mile, one had three 1200 meter intervals. More importantly, I enjoyed them!
The race schedule I've had the past few years had me dreading going out for runs. It was like an assembly line of: run, race... repeat. Throwing out the plans and schedules has freed me to do what I want to do again. When I ran out at Afton a couple of weeks ago, people were wondering why I kept tearing off and charging ahead - it was what I felt like doing. It's called fun.
I came up with a very good plan for making the US 24-hour team (140-150 miles), but it required my being able to run a marathon in under 3 hours. Doable, but I haven't done it in quite a while. Before being able to run a marathon in 2:50-3:00, I needed to be able to run a 10K in 36-38. To do that, I needed to be able to run a mile in 5:00-5:10.
That's sort of when it hit me. Most people do a lot of long slow miles and then start thinking about running faster. I need to run fast and then start thinking about stretching the distance. The more easily obtained records are in the longest distances, simply because the fewest people have tried them. I'm not physically equipped for them (there's something to the name Quick, after all. Perhaps Matt Long shouldn't do short races, either). It's one thing to try to shore up one's weaknesses while learning something new; it's another to abandon one's strengths.
Suddenly, I'm running much faster - though not very far - and I'm having a blast doing it. Sure, if I could maintain the pace I'm running now for 10 miles, I'd be a few long runs away from that 2:50 marathon, but I'm nowhere near close to that.
I may see you on the trails or roads yet. I'll be that blur going by.
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