Now a member of the High Mile Club;
So much fun,
with my clothes on –
my running clothes that is.
We started both events with a indoor meeting, getting some good technical advice and explanations and followed by a fun warm-up that left us all smiling, warm in body and mind.
I’d never run on a running track until last month, the first of the 2017 Irish Runner Paced Miles and didn’t know what to expect or how fast i could run. Four circuits of the track added up to a mile, I’d never run a mile before either and so had no idea how fast i could go without running out of steam.
The 8 and 9 minute milers were to run together. So i settled in with the 9 minute milers, hugging the kerb as advised and staying just behind the pacer afraid that if i lost him i wouldn’have the legs to catch up again. That feeling you have in dreams sometimes when someone drifts away from you and you just can’t close the gap – bit like a space movie when you are spacewalking and your safety line snaps.
Turned out it was me who generated the gap. You know by now, i hate finishing a race with anything left in the tank so as we started the last lap i upped the pace and pulled away from the pacer. I was not alone.
Even though it was emphasised that it was a ‘Paced Mile’ not a ‘Raced Mile’, there was a little bit of a race feeling as we entered the final 100m and we all dug deep. I came in at 8:30 in the front of our little group – very pleased with myself. We all stayed around and cheered the other groups as they completed their runs.
A month later i was back. A wet night that was only missing Storm Doris which had been delayed a bit and wasn’t to hit our shores until the early hours of the morning. Another technical talk, another fun warm-up, and we were ready for the track. 10’s, 11’s and 12’s took off first in a group as we stayed warm and cheered them on for their achievements.
This time i decided to run with the 8 minute milers to try and knock that 30 seconds off my time. The 9ers completed their four laps and seemed to be running fast. I was having second thoughts about trying to complete an 8 minute mile, bad chest, sore knee, was that an ache in my right ankle? Too late now. We were off.
I felt the extra pace, wasn’t sure i’d keep up. We seemed to be moving in surges rather than at a steady pace but that was probably me drifting off a little bit and then speeding up to keep close to the front-runners. Four laps – funny i was worrying about it more than the first time a month ago – a little knowledge ………..
Two laps down, ‘The third lap is the hard one’ part of our technical advice which was ticking over in my head – glad to get it done. My legs were feeling fine but my lungs were straining a bit. Right at the beginning of the final lap, a few of runners at the front took off – opened up a gap just like that -one minute i was on their heels, next minute they were gone. I wasn’t sure if i had slowed down or they had speeded up, wasn’t sure who the pacer was, nearly faltered, nearly fell, dug deep and upped my pace, gained some distance back and was in for a sprint finish for the last 100 metres or so, only five or six of the thirty odd 8ers in front of me now. Couldn’t catch them though but didn’t get passed out either. Crossed the Finish line in a blur, still not sure what had happened; 7 minutes 43 seconds – wow. Broke that 8 minute barrier comforably.
Saturated by the rain, drowned in my sweat, 7:43 drumming in my head, cooling down and supping water, smiling, smiling – just how much fun is a man allowed to have.
Stayed for a little while, supporting those faster milers but conscious of getting cold as well as damp and of my ongoing incipient chest problems, i left before the end – still glowing with satisfaction.
Just over three hours after i’d left home i was back – three hours to run less than 8 minutes – yup i’m definitely mad.
But i’ll be back.
Already starting to wonder if i could keep up with the 7 minute milers?
Have fun my friends.