What a momentous day! For those who don't know, I've dubbed this particular day of the week Wicked Wednesday several weeks back. My high school running coach reached out and started and alumni track workout every Wednesday night. For the past several weeks I've been driving over an hour to my old haunts to meet with the guys and get a workout in. Like all hard work, that has paid dividends.
Most Wicked Wednesdays are spent completing a grueling 30-45 minute workout. Half-mile repeats eight times, twelve by quarter mile repeats, three by three mile repeats, and much more. Weekin and week out spending Thursdays recuperating my not so young bones anymore (I know I'm not old, but I definitely don't bounce back anymore). Sometimes licking my wounds through Friday because my legs just weren't ready to run yet. Adjusting my normal running schedule and routine to make sure my body is ready to accept the hate and discomfort I'm about to deliver it.
All runners are weird and I believe that goes without exception. We seek out the maximum amount of punishment or bodies can take and try to see if we can do more. As noted in the picture, we will dress in a ridiculous manner (and I don't even know why). We have an affinity of weirdness amongst us and prepare to be weirded out of you get caught in the crossfire of two runners talking.
We are rewarded with days like today and that is why we do it (I guess). Since Saturday I knew what punishment today would bring. As a good coach knows how to do, he mentally prepared us and posted what we would be doing. I didn't know what to think, I didn't know what I would do...I didn't know what I was capable of doing. I has been on my mind all week, a driving force, the perceived climax of the entire week. The excitement and anticipation would be best compared to The Christmas Story and looking forward to a Red Rider Bb Gun!
All week I've mentally prepared and mulled over what my worth is; the distance was set my time was not. For those who have read my previous blogs or some of my posts know I run, marathon distances, but I don't race often. I don't normally set out with a time goal, only a distance I would like to complete.
We were given the most basic unit of measurement as our distance. Wicked Wednesday would come and we would set out to complete one mile. A mere one mile...but this time it was for time. This time we were to pour our heart into the track, sweat it out, and leave it all out there. This time I would set out to see how fast I truly am right now.
I had my previous workouts to gauge off but no idea where I should be. I set out and said today may be the day, I'm going to try to break a six minute mile. I haven't ran that fast in almost two decades. I've not run that fast since...I started smoking. I felt it was achievable, so I've pondered on a six minute mile all week.
Wicked Wednesday came, I was there, present and focused. I thought about where I needed to be each lap, 90 seconds. First lap, 93...ok, pick it up... next lap 188...half mile to go I'm not out yet...next lap 285...15 seconds off I can get this...last lap...all effort forward...final 200, head up drive those arms, press it!
Done, euphoric, lungs burning so bad I imagine it is covid! Breathing so hard, my heart is pounding, and I'm spent. I accept that my last lap was the only lap that I completed in 90 seconds. I accept that I did not break a six minute mile this Wicked Wednesday. I accept that all but I know today was only as close as it was because I made a decision to never smoke again and I've stuck with it.
My 6:15 mile was the best me today and it gave me hope, it humbled me and has given me resolve! I'm not going to settle for 6:15, I'm not going to hold myself back because "I'm older and maybe I shouldn't be so fast". I'm not going to squeak under a six minute mile, I'm going to smash it and make it wish it never met me.
Your body will heal, you can reverse the damage smoking has caused but you must do it now...never look back, only look forward to the new you, the best version of you, a you that is free from chains of nicotine!