Anent a conversation with kniedzw last night, today I decided to run a mile.
I’ve been doing cardio workouts since the end of January, but that has involved running on an elliptical machine. It’s easier on my joints, which is always appreciated, and the machine tells me interesting things like my heart rate and how many calories I’ve burned. Working out on that, I’ve often done two, two and a half miles, maybe a little more. But that doesn’t translate directly when running on a track, so I decided to see what happens when I run a mile there.
I don’t like it, is what happens.
That was a miserable experience. Jarring and a little painful at first; soon I was breathing much harder than usual (I’m still coughing a bit now), and I became desperately thirsty (having left my water bottle next to the track entrance, since I would splash it all over myself if I tried to drink while running). By the last of my five laps, I was feeling sick to my stomach. I kept myself going through an alternating pattern of carrot and stick: “Come on, you wimp. When you pass that post, you’ll be seventy percent of the way done. It’s only a mile; a mile is nothing. One more lap! Dude, you suck. Your characters are so much harder than you are.” (Yes, I really did goad myself on with that. Mirage, I decided, was entirely an unfair comparison, so I told myself Deven could kick my ass, which is true.)
The last time I ran a timed mile would have been in seventh or eighth grade, i.e. the last time I was forced to do it for P.E. I don’t remember what the fitness standard was for a girl of my age — it might have been as high as fifteen minutes for a mile, or as low as twelve; something in that range — but whatever it was, I scraped through at something like four seconds under the time limit.
So I can say with confidence that I have now run the fastest mile of my life, at a spectacular (<– sarcasm) 10:39.
I’m not going to make a habit of doing that. I may, however, use it as an occasional litmus test of my fitness. Maybe try again in a few months and see if I can do it in less than ten. (kniedzw, for the record, has me thoroughly beat; he does an eight and a half-minute mile. Some of that difference is his length of leg, but not all, by any means.) I know now that I can actually run a mile, for values of “run” including “jog;” back in junior high I know I walked at least part of that time. The next step (hah) will be to see if I can do it a bit more quickly.
But not any time soon. Because that wasn’t fun.