The hardest mile

This is mostly a brag post about me.  If that’s not your cuppa tea, well, sorry.

I found last year that I love to walk – especially in the parks near my home.  I have walked a bit through the winter, but not much, and certainly not as much as I would have liked, simply because winter tends to be cold, and being cold is not my favorite thing.  I usually walk 3 miles.  2 seems not quite enough, 4 takes too much time, but 3 is just right – I can do it in an hour and be home to finish my coffee and get various chores done before my day really starts with teaching.  Anyhoo…today I didn’t really want to go.  But…I didn’t walk yesterday, and tomorrow will be busy… it would be too easy to take the week off, and then harder to start up again next week.  A walk it would be, even if I had to drag myself though it.

Half-way into the first mile, my body was sulking and throwing all sorts of mini-tantrums – legs were stiff, glutes were burning at the top of the first incline, lungs gasping for air… and I was reminded of something a friend used to say about running.  “The first mile is always the hardest.” (Thanks Rob)  Once I got through the first mile, it really did get a little easier, and I took a full minute off my time for the second mile.  And during the second mile, I thought, “hmm, maybe I could just get by with two miles today…”  But two miles isn’t much of a work out.  (I can’t believe I just typed that! Once upon a time, two miles was a goal!)

So… I reprimanded myself for laziness and added an extra mile to the workout – today it would be four miles, whether we liked it or not, and an extra set of steps.  All the while my inner child was complaining, “Four Miles?!  It’s so far!  It’s so hard!  I don’t want to!!!  And as I did so, I was reminded of a quote that was on the wall of my martial arts school.
“If you can’t [or won’t, in this case], you must.  If you must, you will.”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used this mantra to get through tough workouts that I thought I wasn’t strong enough to finish.

My third mile wasn’t very good – I was slower than my second mile (more sulking, perhaps?). Side-note: I’m happiest with my competitive self when I drop time each mile (negative splits). If I was going to have a fourth mile, it was going to be a good one, even if my time went up again. Mile four started with “The Steps” and I ran the first half.    UGH!  Those steps… I thought my lungs and heart might explode at the top.  But they didn’t. 🙂  I walked (and jogged) a half-mile or so on the bike path – nice, easy, level ground – and then back down the steps into the Glen for the rest of my mile. Which meant that I would have to make a final climb up those Steps at some point, whether it was before or after I finished my workout.  Being the glutton for punishment that I am, I decided to finish with it.  And a partial run.  Oh, joy.

Into the Glen for a quarter mile, and then back to the steps with determination – Run the first half, try not to collapse on the second half!  I made it to the top and into the parking lot just as my app told me that I’d completed 4 miles in 1:13:53.  Yay me.  But what made me really, really happy was hearing my ‘lap time’ or mile time.  I’d dropped again.  Even with those two – count ’em, TWO – sets of stairs, I dropped into the seventeens for my last mile.  I might be tired, and I might want to nap the rest of the day away, but I am a rock star!  I can do anything I put my mind to, and I am one tough girl.

For the curious, and also so that in a year, I can come back and remember, here are my splits:

Mile 1 – 19:16
Mile 2 – 18:13
Mile 3 – 18:33
Mile 4 – 17:31

are these the best times ever? no.
but they’re mine, I worked hard for them, and I am proud of them.


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