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Non-scale Victories, part 1: The longest, fastest run

February 19, 2012

Today I had a pretty awesome non-scale victory; I ran the longest I’ve run in a long time; at a faster pace than I’ve done in a long time, too. 

For some reason I always thought I was a gal who ran a comfortable, 10-minute mile. That I would never be a fast runner, that I would never be that gal who won speed trials or passed other people out running (for some seriously fast inspiration, check out SkinnyRunner).

10 minutes/mile is mainly what I trained at for my half-marathon (though I never timed myself down to the second like people do with Garmins on long runs), and then I ended up with a 2:06 finish (a 9:36 minute/mile). I should have realized then that I was capable of doing faster.

I’ve been thinking about tempo runs and speed trials lately and wondering if it isn’t the time to push myself a bit. I haven’t been running that much (perhaps only a few miles a week) as my strength training classes are still my main focus, but I know I’m stronger and I have yearned to pick up the pace a bit. 

Me, after a run in Miami

For better or for worse, since I live in Italy my treadmill is set to kilometers per hour, which can really screw with your head if you’re used to thinking about running in miles. I use this treadmill distance cheat sheet to help with conversion. Since I’m slightly OCD and 9.7kph (~6mph/10-minute mile) bothered me as a number (9.7! argh! want rounded!) once I got in better shape I upped my base running speed to 10kph. Which I guess in my mind felt closer to 10 minute miles. It’s really a 9:41 minute/mile.

And I started doing speed runs at 10.5 and 11kph. For fun. Now I put my base running speed at 10.5kph (~9:14 minute/mile).

Today when I got to the gym I thought, I’m going to run for 40 minutes today. I can’t remember the last time I did that. Most of my longer runs lately (and in the past year) have hovered right around 30 minutes, and if outside, not timed/tracked to the minute. Sometimes I just fit in 2 quick miles (~20 minutes) after my weights class on the treadmill.

So today, I set out to run 40. I had a forced stop when I had to reset the treadmill for another 20 minutes (buzz kill!), but at minute 18 I looked at the clock and thought, I can do this.

But if I have to be completely honest, one of the things that made me run harder and faster than anything was what was playing on the gym’s television. Normally they have some music video station on which messes with me since my music never matches up with what I’m seeing, but today there was a program called “Sfide” (Challenges, in Italian) on about a bunch of the world’s greatest athletes. Nadia Komenici, Florence Griffith Joyner, the Williams sisters, etc. How could I not feel a surge in energy watching the best do their best? How was I not to give it my best in the face of that? I guess I found a magic potion for next time.

In the end I clocked 4.29 miles (~6.9km) in 40 minutes. I’m glad I pushed myself this time. If you want to know what music keeps me motivated while I run, check out my Workout music category on Amazon.

Here’s Flo-Jo setting a world record 🙂 – tell me this wouldn’t put a boost in your stride:

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 19, 2012 8:33 pm

    Congrats on your run, it feels amazing when we accomplish something so physical. I love running, this morning I went out for a 6k, took me 46mins. When I first started this route it took me close to an hour, but I kept at it and have now shaved almost 15mins off.

    • February 19, 2012 9:12 pm

      15 minutes off your time is awesome, too! I hope to get back to running outside – it’s something I enjoyed a lot in California but is less practical here in Milan. I’ll see about some long runs outside of the city but luckily my gym is close and I’ll make do with the treadmill for now 🙂

      • February 19, 2012 9:20 pm

        It took me about a year to knock that 15mins off. During summer months I can’t run here … too hot! I’ve been thinking about the Rome marathon in 2013, but I love my Cannonau too much! 🙂

  2. February 29, 2012 10:17 am

    Wow! what a success! Glad you make it! Just continue doing that, it is good to our body. right? I also love music while I’m running!

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