1 mile test...round and round she goes

Inspiration….we all look for it. As runners, I think it is safe to say we not only need it, but desire to inspire others as well. Social media is a great avenue to inspire, but it often paints only a partial picture...mostly of the successes, the most beautiful of all the
pictures, the highlights, the high points, the PRs. That’s one reason I think this website is so valuable. Through this venue runners are able to find advice and confide in the not so pretty struggles we all have.

So,just a blog about a run around a track, no pretty pictures, no PR, no frills….though it looked pretty ho-hum, it was anything but for the girl going round and round in the dark.

Still fairly new to altitude...although not “really high”, but my new home sits at about 4900 feet elevation. This, combined with 8 weeks off running from Nov to January has resulted in a much slower pace for me. It’s been a huge fresh start though. The altitude
factor has allowed me to let go of expectations and comparisons to previous paces and efforts, and 8 weeks off convinced me to not even try to compare fitness. It also helped me realize just how dependant, or focused I was on paces, and pushing hard efforts most of the time. Although I felt good last year, I think my hard-assed focus on improving and pushing all the time had a negative impact on my training and racing...and I am not completely free of that...yet.

So far, I have not only been much more aware of that thinking, that drive to push, but have been able to do what I could not do last year….don’t always act on it. As a matter of fact...question it. There are times when pushing past pain, difficulty, frustration
is called for...but not nearly as often as I allowed. I am by no means “reformed” but….I am more aware...and beyond that... more confident in my effort and ability. Often what drives me to push and force effort is lack of confidence and feeling that I need to prove something.

So, today... The household still sleeping, I wake before my alarm...as I always do on “test” days. I get up and get my clothes and gear on, turn my headlamp on and head out the door. “ok, 30 minute warm up...take it easy, warm up easy”. My feet shuffle down the
sandy drive toward the high school track. An additional snaffoo today made me more nervous than usual. I cracked the screen on my garmin and could only go by the 1 mile “beeps” to let me know how far I had run. I was hoping my replacement watch would be in the mail yesterday, but nope. I usually rely heavily on my watch to know what zones I am in, pace, etc. I would have to go completely by feel today. My lower gut was also a little grumpy, so I was nervous things would go south...literally... in the middle
of my 1 mile test. I sure as hell did not want to have to repeat it.

On the track and running circles for 20 minutes in what felt like mid to upper zone 2. I noticed my legs were not waking up and warming up quite like I had hoped. My gut grumbled once more and I thought, I really should start the test soon or I may have to find a tree or a port a potty in the middle of my test. I did my speed ups and increased my effort to get to what felt like zone 4a-4b (I think this correlates with zone 4-5 in Eric’s book). I still got that feeling that my legs were not quite where I wanted them
for a test, so I was a little nervous about how the actual “test” was going to go. The next mile “beeped” and bang, I took off like a rocket! ….as usual. I very quickly reined it in though, but by less than a quarter mile in my legs were feeling fatigued
and I was maxed effort, maybe even a little more than max. My first thought was, “uh oh, this could be bad”. “I’m not even once around the track”, I briefly thought about stopping the test….”its just not going to be a good one” I thought, I quickly countered,
“but it is a test of where you are at, not where you want to be, so get moving and make this the best test you can”. I worked hard through the mile, giving it my best effort, always asking “is this effort sustainable?” and “can you go any faster?” and adjusting
accordingly. I felt like I was slowing the whole way, and quite convinced I was moving way slower than my test a month ago. I finished the test and immediately started analyzing in my brain. I would not know the results until I got home and uploaded them on
the computer...damn watch.

My first thoughts were that I probably warmed up a little too fast...starting the test a little too soon. I also shot out waaaay too fast….a very common problem for me ;). Probably the most important factor was my thinking throughout the test. I wish I had changed my focus to my form. Usually, when I test I really focus and moving as efficiently as possible focusing on form and relaxed movement. My thoughts were more on how slow I felt I was moving. By the time I had reached the house, I had felt like I actually had
a really good test….because I learned things from it. How I respond, both physically and mentally and how I can change/adjust my thinking to have better performance...and possibly better results. I shuffled my way back up the sandy road, shut my headlamp off
and creeped back into the sleeping house.

I plugged my watch into the computer and viola….my 1 mi test was 10 or more seconds faster than the previous. I was shocked. I was quite sure it was at least 15-30 seconds slower. So, the slowness I felt was likely the fatigue in my legs, but I was still able
to move those legs faster. Cool. It is still waaaaay slower than my PR just a year or two ago, and a waaays off from my Cool Impossible of a 5:__ mile, but I’m learning and growing...and that’s my edge!

Best wishes on your running and training this week.

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Comment by Robert Burpee on April 7, 2015 at 3:11am
Thank you Patrick
Comment by Patrick Garrick on April 6, 2015 at 8:17am

I shared them in my recent blog post, Robert.

Comment by Robert Burpee on April 3, 2015 at 3:56pm
Patrick do you want to share your numbers, we are all interested.:-)
Comment by Patrick Garrick on April 3, 2015 at 11:58am

I have to admit that I peeked at my watch a few times during my 1-mile test, but I think it gave me a little more umf to the last 1/4 mile when I noticed my pace was slowing.

Comment by Lori Enlow on March 31, 2015 at 1:01pm
Nervous is good :). Go for it!
Comment by Patrick Garrick on March 31, 2015 at 12:51pm

My retest week has arrived. I'm feeling really good about my progress, which makes me more nervous. LOL.

Comment by Robert Burpee on March 27, 2015 at 7:10pm
Fantastic post as always Lori. When I started running again 31/2 years ago I said to my chiropractor that I had had an appithoney (is that how you spell it?) that running wasn't about your watch, the time but about the joy of movement. Looking back I think that statement was really an excuse for not being as fast or strong as I had thought I was going to be, about not meeting my expectations & the perceived expectations of others.
Though I'm not cured of the watch & the glorification of times I do now know the bueaty of running, moving for its own sake. And this is a fantastic realisation & a wonderful part of my life.
Comment by Lori Enlow on March 27, 2015 at 4:46am
Thanks! Always a work in progress ;)
Comment by Karen Blackert on March 26, 2015 at 6:47am

Oh, Lori!! I can so relate! I had gotten a few weeks into Phase 2 when a bad combo of icy weather and a nasty virus kept me out of commission for 2 weeks. As I gingerly started back, I wanted to immediately push myself to restart Phase 2. I knew I couldn't sustain the effort I had built up before my 2 week break but my mind couldn't fathom taking anymore time off. But..... I resisted. I gradually built back up, allowing my body to continue to heal itself. Yes, I was still consumed with thinking that all my work during Phase 1 was lost, that I was back at square 1. Its now 4 weeks after my short break and I restarted Phase 2. I had to run 3 min intervals yesterday morning in SZ 6. I had MAJOR doubts about being able to hang in that zone. So during the first one, I made myself ignore the watch and just monitored my form and effort. When I looked at my watch at the end of the interval I was pleasantly surprised to see that I could still hang in SZ 6 without feeling like my lungs were going to explode or my legs giving out!! That demon that tells me to go all-out all the time is ne I still have to fight, but at least I'm winning more often! =)

Comment by Carolynn on March 25, 2015 at 2:53pm

Thanks for posting this message. :-)

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