I was a little nervous going into yesterday’s 6AM buddy run. For a few weeks now, the marathoners had been scheduled to up their mileage at this run to 6-7 miles, and my running partner and I had still be hovering around the 4-5 mile range, mostly because we hadn’t quite felt 100% these last few weeks. I was determined to make yesterday the day that we would do 6, though, so I was a bit nervous, having never run 6 miles in a buddy run–ever.
Things started off normally enough, with my body still feeling a bit stiff (it’s 6AM, folks–I think it was still waking up, too ;)). But soon, something magical happened. I was getting into a groove. I was getting in such a good groove, that next thing I knew, I had reached the 6 mile turnaround–without taking a single walk break! And to make things even more amazing, I managed to finish the second half as well without a walk break, AND improved my pace on top of that.
Run/walk is a proven method to get your body ready for a half-marathon or marathon, and it has served me well for the last 4 1/2 years. But I was ready to start pushing beyond that, and have been struggling with getting my stamina to where it needed to be. So it was a nice surprise to discover that my body just naturally knew what to do, without me even pushing it.
I should say that I wasn’t going at blazing speed. In fact, I was a little disappointed to see that I was doing 12-minute miles on the first 2 miles of the run. But ironically, I think that this was the very reason I felt so good on the run–so good that I kept on going without a break and never once felt as though I was straining or ready to pass out. On the way back, I felt so good that I shaved quite a bit of time off my pace, averaging 10-10:30 min miles, leading to an overall average of 11:16 minute miles for the entire run. Not spectacular by any means, but a number I am happy with, considering this was my first attempt at going that distance without walking.
I finished the 6 mile run in about 1 hour and 9 minutes, a full 7 minutes faster than my last 10K run (one at which I felt like dying afterwards, incidentally, because of how much I had to push myself to get that time ;)). How nice to be able to make those improvements without feeling as though it took an enormous amount of effort!
It’s those small wins here and there that do wonders for one’s confidence :).