This past week has been an eye opener for me in my training. All of my mantras and hard training are finally getting through to my thoughts and beliefs. In swimming I have seen my pace improve to the level that when I am swimming 100 meter repeats at race pace or better I expect to see my times under 2:00. When swimming endurance workouts, my goal is 2:05 per 100 meters and it feels as if I am using half the effort. The confidence has set in my mind and I expect paces much faster than last year.
Where I made the biggest leap this week was in my run. Tuesday began track season and even though snow flakes were in the forecast, a group of us jogged two miles from the gym to a local high school at 6 in the morning. The benefit of morning track workouts while it is still dark is that we had the track to ourselves. I ran the workout my coach had given me and my friends did a different workout. Just having others there helped keep the workout going. My pace on the track is much faster than on the treadmill. I was running my quarter mile repeats between 2:00 and 2:10. On a treadmill I wouldn’t think to set it that fast. Something clicked too – I really am able to see my ability to run faster. On Thursday I ran an interval set of six minutes at my desired half marathon race pace, which should be 10:15 per mile pace. I ran in a neighborhood by my home that has a circular main boulevard that is .55 of a mile around and relatively flat. By my second repeat I had to slow myself down – I was running 8:50 pace according to my GPS. I did a total of 5 intervals and averaged around 9:46 per mile pace. Today I put myself to the test and ran a five mile race on the towpath. I am happy to say I set a personal best and was able to stay under 10 minute per mile pace for the first three miles. A hill slowed me a little, but I finished in 50:02 with a pace of 10:00 on the nose. I also developed a new racing mantra when I am running hard and feeling it in my lungs – “This Won’t Kill Me, Push On.” I also had my inhaler with me… just in case.
See is believing. Believing makes all possible. And then there is a combination of both. I had to believe in myself before I could attempt to tackling the training I have. Seeing what I really am capable increased my faith in myself. Putting it to the test in a race only increased my confidence all the more. Like Indiana Jones did in the last crusade, I had to take the leap of faith first. And now I want to keep leaping to new levels.