The first one was during a fairly routine workout. I go to the gym 5 times a week. I see my trainer once and then do one of the other workouts she's given me on the other four days. I was doing one of my least favorite workouts, but feeling really antsy. It's an elliptical workout where I do 5 minutes at a 10 incline and 10 resistance, 5 minutes at a 15 incline and 15 resistance and then 2 minutes at 20 and 20, all at a set stride per minute. Repeat this four times for a total of 48 minutes or until you pass out from boredom. I can't fight boredom by watching the tv on the machine because it just kind of ticks me off. Plus nothing that's on during the 6-7pm timeframe can really keep my interest and I start to slow down on the stride pace if I'm not concentrating. I got through 3 rounds and the antsy-ness got to me. I needed to do sprints NOW.
My sprint workout is 2 minutes at a slow jog and 1 minute at 8-8.5 mph x 10. I have done them all at 8.5 before, because I'm lazy, didn't go back up for my notebook and wrongly though I HAD to do all of them at 8.5. So now I have no excuse to do them slower. I decided to do my sprints in the same style as above, but do 5 of them (total workout time would be 51 minutes) and see how fast I could go. I started at 8mph...not bad. Then 8.5...pretty doable as well. I upped it to 9 and did my minute at the fastest pace I had ever run. Could I do 9.5? I sure could. It's only a minute, right? What about 10? 10 would be amazing. 10mph is a 6 minute mile pace. I didn't even know how it felt to move my feet that fast. Double digits!
And I did it.
One whole minute.
And it was amazing!
I think I told everyone who would listen. I told my Mom and, well, she's used to me babbling about my workouts (and always listens patiently) and even she said, "wow! That's a 6 minute mile pace!"
I've decided I'm going to break out of my 10 minute mile rut in two ways. First off, I'm going to keep pushing these sprints. Second, my workouts are mostly 30 minutes. This was to get me in the habit of being at the gym 5 times a week, but not overwhelming me with 5 long crazy workouts. I'm in week 6 and I feel like I can add on some time. Either before or after my usual workout, I'm going to set the treadmill for around a 9 minute mile (I think it ends up being about 9:08) and see how far I can run at that pace. When I complained, years back, that I wanted to run at a 10 minute pace, as opposed to 12, my trainer told me to just go set it at 6mph/10 minute mile pace and run as far as I could. Each day, I'd aim to run further. It made an ENORMOUS difference. My 5K PR is a 10:08 pace. I had been chipping away at an 11-12 minute pace every. single. day. Then one of my friends said, "Well, if you want to run faster...you have to RUN. FASTER." It made sense. I was just practicing running my slow pace and not pushing beyond that.
My second breakthrough is a bit simpler. I love going to the gym! I used to joke that I'd have to stand by the subway door on my way home from my last job and "throw myself off" when it got to the gym's stop so that I wouldn't go past it to my stop. I'd just step out of the doors really quick and then I'd have to go! Now I get a little grouchy when I can't go regularly.
One of my first races...that's me in the orange shorts, waving!