So I'm running a race tomorrow and am (uncharacteristically) kind of nervous about it. It's not that I don't think I can finish; it's that I'm hoping to actually race it. See, I've never been someone who cares about running fast. I like running far and feeling strong, but speed has definitely never been a priority. In fact, my half PR (2:03:??) came from my very first race seven years ago! I have (impressively, might I suggest?) defied all expectations by staying the exact same speed for the entirety of my running career. Of course, my speed has fluctuated some depending on whether I'm training for something, but the pattern thus far has been pretty consistent: 2:03-2:1?-2:04-2:11-2:04-2:11-2:04-2:07 - slower when the half is a training run and faster when it's my goal race (with the exception of last fall's shitstorm).
A few months ago I decided it was time for a change: I was going to speed up my runs every once in a while! It started with a few quick spurts here and there, which evolved into 400/800-meter intervals, which then became actual tempo runs. My longest was 6 miles (excluding warm-up/cool-down) averaging an 8:50-ish pace.
[Can I take a moment to add that tempo runs are so awful?!?!?! I know we all know that but can we just acknowledge it again for my sake? I avoid speedwork precisely BECAUSE it feels like shit! Of course, it feels like shit BECAUSE I don't do speedwork. Is that a Catch-22? A legitimate Catch-22? I've recently taken to calling everything a Catch-22 because I think it's funny but I don't think I've ever successfully called one before. But I digress.]
I have no idea whether all this speed stuff will translate into a faster race. It's hard to believe that it won't but I'm still skeptical. My biggest worry is that I'll be overly optimistic and start too fast (said every runner, ever). That never used to be a problem of mine until last fall. In fact, I often start much slower than necessary, believing myself less fit than I am. I guess that expectations can really f-ck up a race, huh? So this time around my goal is to strike a healthy balance between believing I can run fast(er) without deluding myself into thinking I can run, like, a four-minute mile. We'll see how it goes! Did I mention that my department's crazy annual party is tonight? Well it is. I failed to realize that when I paid $75 to register for this race. Stellar move, Jean.
I'll leave you with some pictures so this post isn't just words, words words. My boyfriend and I have wanted to go to "the" rhododendron garden for weeks now and finally got around to it this morning. After going I can't understand what all the fuss is about!*
*"You went far too late in the season," you say? "Those flowers are all dead," you say? Yeah, you're right. We got a good laugh out of it, though.