Everything about getting an accurate baseline measurement establishing where we are now makes sense. We need it so we can measure the rate of our improvement later. That concept did not, however, make me feel any better about having to do a timed run. I was still getting used to the whole running outside in winter thing and now you want to throw a stop watch at me? Needless to say, I was anxious about the whole situation. I considered my big success during our first and only other run not turning into a human popsicle, so can you blame me?
As a warm up we did a nice dynamic stretching session at the Y and jogged down to the Reflecting Pool. My confidence was not building when I struggled keeping up with the group during the “easy” warm up pace. Once there, we were to complete two laps around the reflecting pool and the WWII memorial which would equal 2 miles. The coaches would record out time for both the 1st and 2nd mile.
Then we were off! Though I obviously wanted to clock the best time I could, I also wanted to focus on finding a pace that would prevent me from cramping up half way through. My biggest challenge lately with distance running hasn’t been cardio, or muscle fatigue, instead it’s been cramps: specifically one hell of a one on my right side at my lowest rib. It ends up crippling me until I say “Uncle” and walk it out for 3-4 minutes. In a timed scenario, this would not be good.
The first mile I clocked in at 11:19. I found this ironic because when we registered for the program they asked how long it would take us to run a mile. I had no idea, so I just guessed and wrote 11min. Guess I was right! Phew! Second mile I finished at 23:33, which I was fine with. Great? No. But embarrassing? No. Leaving room for improvement? Oh yes.
At the end, I was just glad to get it over with. I hate to admit it, but it is really nice to have a perspective of where you stand at the beginning and where you can expect to be in few weeks.