I rarely get down on myself about my pace. I’m not particularly fast at swimming, cycling or running, and that’s okay with me. I didn’t get into triathlon to win races. I do it because I genuinely love it.
That being said, this morning was one of those rare mornings when I found myself discouraged.
I set out to do 10 miles this morning before work. My run pace has been slower than normal the last couple of weeks. The first few miles of this morning were even slower and felt even harder than ever.
I worked an event until pretty late last night. It was early and I was tired. I’ve been training like a maniac lately, but I couldn’t rationalize any of that. I just felt bummed out.
Around mile 6, just outside of the Vinoy Hotel, I slowed my pace to a walk. I stood there for a minute and debated whether I should just call it a morning and cut the run short or if I should suck it up and keep going.
As I stood there a man walked out of the hotel and asked “are you a runner?”
Funny, I was just asking myself the same question.
I sheepishly nodded and he asked how much farther I was headed. I said about 4 more miles. He told me he was hoping to do a 4 mile loop and asked if he could tag along for a few miles. I said of course.
His name was Art, he was a rocket scientist from Texas, or something of the sort, and was staying at the hotel. He said he’d missed the St. Pete Road Runners group run that morning but still wanted to take advantage of a run on the beautiful waterfront.
Art asked me was my pace had been that morning. I looked down at my feet and muttered that I’d been averaging 12 minute miles all morning. I assumed he’d probably decide it was a bad idea to run with me, ask for some mile markers and get on his way. But instead, he replied “well, you’re going to go a little faster now”.
The ballsy statement took me by surprise but, I agreed. I needed that push.
We started our watches and were on our way. The pace felt faster but manageable. Like I said, I needed the push.
He had his Run Keeper app on his phone set to tell you, out loud, your time and pace every four minutes. A feature I would never enable by the way…
At our first 4-minute update my jaw nearly hit the ground when the voice told us we were half a mile in and running an 8:00 min per mile pace. It felt fast, but I wasn’t dying.
The next two miles we varied from an 8:00 to an 8:15 to 8:55. We parted ways after 2.5 miles and he head in the opposite direction as I finished my last mile and a half back home. Slightly slower, but still at a faster pace than I’d done on my own all morning.
Could I have kept up that pace any longer? Probably not. That’s faster than my 5k PR pace. But for those couple of miles I did, and that makes me proud.
I’ve been doing most of this training by myself. I forget how easy it is to get inside your head when you’re left alone with your thoughts and running for hours on end. This morning, I needed that little confidence boost, and I got it.
So yes, I am a runner. We all have good and bad days and I’m no exception. I do this because I love it. Fast or slow, I am a runner.