Monday, January 21, 2013

Embracing the 12-Minute Mile

I accomplished my first run this weekend, and I couldn't have picked a nicer day.  Beautiful, 50-degree weather here in the Midwest!  That seems crazy for January, but is really par for the course around here, as is the high of 25 degrees that is forecast for today!  One extreme to the other, kind of like me.  I was just grateful that I was able to run outside and not have to face the dreaded treadmill in my basement.  I laced up my 2-year-old Avias, donned my 15-year-old Nike windbreaker, and headed out with a goal of 2 miles without stopping, no matter how slow I had to go.  Since I hadn't run in over 2 years, other than a brief 5-week period of motivation this past summer, I tried to keep my expectations low.  This was good, because even with low expectations, the 12-minute mile left me feeling a little discouraged.  At first.

I have decided to join the modern age and use the "Map My Run" app on my phone, to track my route, distance, speed, and calorie burn, so I could see my pace right from the start.  My thoughts went something like this:  12:00 pace??? What!?! Are you kidding me??? Grrrrrr.  It made me angry to be going so slow, so I picked it up to a 10:30 pace, which mentally made me feel a lot better, for about 1 minute.   At that point I realized that I was going to have to pick one goal for the day, either run 2 miles without stopping, or run at 10:30 pace (10:30 meaning a 10.5 minute mile for those who may not know much about running).  So I decided to embrace the 12-minute mile rather than beat myself up over it.  After all, its a lot faster than not running at all, which is what I have been doing!  I slowed back down, put my phone in my pocket, and tried to relax and enjoy a run with no performance expectations.  I embraced the 12-minute mile.

I took a route around the pond in the middle of town, so enjoyed the scenery, the sounds of birds, and the cool air in my lungs.  It did feel good to just be MOVING!  And when I did check my phone at the approximate 2-mile mark, I discovered I was already there, and my pace had averaged out to 11:30!  I felt pretty good, but resisted the urge to run the rest of the way home, knowing if I wanted to get another run in over the next couple of days that wasn't completely miserable, I needed to not overdo the first day.  So I walked the rest of the way home contemplating what I really want to try to achieve in my quest to get fit.  As much as I would love to come to a place where I can just enjoy an activity in the moment, as I did with that first run, I know myself well enough to realize that I WILL need to set a performance or competition goal to keep moving forward in the long run.  I have seen that as a negative thing in the past, but it is who I am, so I need to embrace that too.  Let it work FOR me instead of AGAINST me as I realize trying to be something I'm not just causes the paralyzing anxiety that leads to my laziness.  All in all, it was a great first run.

2 miles...check!  Embracing the 12-minute mile.....check!  Waking up to a clean kitchen for 3 mornings in a row.....check!