The other day, our training group went through a one mile time trial. I was pretty excited to see how it would go. I was not excited to show up on a near empty stomach still fighting the last bits of lingering cold swimming around my lungs.
They said not to start your watch because you’re supposed to run by feel instead of looking at a timer. I listened to part of that. I lined up and hit my watch timer and sped up until I felt bad, but OK enough to keep going. We were not on a track; we were ran around the southern part of Grant Park with all it’s broken sidewalk bits and other foot traffic.
I was too busy looking out for sidewalk hazards to check my watch. I glanced at it, but not long enough to make sense of the data. I felt slow. I had no frame of reference except seeing I was one of the last runners in my wave. There was a girl about half my size keeping my same pace — One of those people you look at and think, “athlete” or “does a lot of barre.” I wasn’t racing, but part of me kept saying, “Stay ahead of her.” I didn’t know her. I had nothing against her. But dammit, she was going down.
I mistook my flying beads of sweat for rain drops and realized my last timed mile was a beer mile. I know I cursed that last 100 meters. I heard the coaches shouting out times to the people in front of me (there are always plenty), but it didn’t register until I got to the finish and started coughing so much my sides tingled. I heard “7.” 7! It started with a 7!!! A second or two later they starting calling 8s. But I got a 7!
I haven’t had a 7-anything in a long time. I checked my watch and it told me .95 and had a small ways to go until it registered a mile. I deflated. I coughed more. Then I decided my watch is old and a liar. It’s lied to me before. Never once have I done a 5 minute mile in the middle of the Chicago River!
I’m holding on to my 7 like a lucky charm. I left the remainder of my cold in the park grass. (gross) I feel a bit like the old me.