I’ve been running for a little over 3 years now, which is long enough for any self-absorbed, oxygen-usurper like me to feel like a little introspection is in order. As a pre-pubescent teen growing up in England I was given the option of going out for the cross country team, (“Oi, not bloody likely mate!”) or going out for the rugby team (“Right-oh then, where do I sign up for the running?”). I chose cross country, and despite the fact that I only did it for a few years before switching to another sport I’ve always liked running. I suspect that it may also have something to do with the fact that my Dad used to run a lot when I was younger. I always remember eating breakfast with him after he finished one of his runs, and how he’d be all sweaty while we choked down kippers and porridge, or maybe black pudding or toast with marmalade, which is obviously one of the lesser culinary atrocities that the Brits foisted upon us.
As far back as I can remember when the urge to exercise has struck, running has always been the activity that I’ve turned to, but it wasn’t until three years ago that it finally stuck. Three years ago I stopped saying that I was going to run the Bolder Boulder 10K ‘next year’ and I signed up for the race. I arrogantly anticipated that I’d just be able to go out and run 10 minute miles. After a few 4 mile training runs I realized that 10 minute miles were a long shot at best and I began a habit that has proven valuable in my running career to this very day: I lowered my expectations. My new goal was to run the whole distance without walking, and I succeeded to the tune of a 10:42 pace. (1:06:33 finish time.)
I determined that I was going to get faster and I believed that it was possible, not because I’m the kind of guy that can “achieve anything I set my mind to” or because “I believe in myself” mostly just because I have one of those fabulous male egos (seriously ladies, you should look into getting one). I like to think that I’m modestly vain. I don’t tend to be outwardly boastful (in person, anyway) or make claims that I’m the best, but internally I believe the hype. Internally, I don’t wonder “if” I’ll be able to run a 40 minute 10K someday, I wonder “when” that day will be.
Over the last 3 years I have gone from running the Bolder Boulder 10K in 1:06:33 (10:42 pace) to running it in 52:07 (8:24 pace), but it never seems to be good enough. Three years ago a 52 minute 10K sounded like an incredibly fast time, but now that I’ve accomplished it, it sounds less impressive. I’m just never satisfied (that’s what she said) with my race times anymore. If running is a woman then I’m it’s nitpicking mother complaining that “yes he’s a doctor, but it’s not like he’s a heart surgeon or anything!”
I’ve come along way, but I’ve still got a long way to go.