Harder, better, faster, stronger.
After summing up my year of running last week I’ve started to empty my race bib holder in preparation for the new year. And also finally started to do some goal setting. Lesson learned in 2013? This former fat kid CAN actually run. Which in 2014 leads to the question: can this former fat kid run …fast?
The concept of “getting fast” raises a lot of questions in my head. What exactly does that mean? Does fast mean 9 minute miles? Does it mean 6 minute miles? Who determines when I’m fast? Let me be clear- I don’t ever expect to win any races, and I certainly don’t expect to ever be faster than some of my friends… but does it mean I could someday catch up and keep up with them? So many questions.
When this new goal was first being discussed it came along with a lot of other stipulations. Am I ready to get uncomfortable? To feel like I want to throw up? To move out of my safe little world of running?
And as much as hearing those things scared the living be-Jesus out of me, I was nodding yes while my stomach tied itself into knots. It scares me but at the same time I want to know what it’s like to train and push yourself that hard. So badly. Is this normal?
I guess it is. When you think about it – it’s why as babies we touch things that are dangerous, as teenagers we drive recklessly, as adults we bungee jump and skydive. As humans the thrill of curiosity often outweighs the fear of the unknown. I want to touch sharp objects drive recklessly, bungee jump and skydive – in terms of running of course.
So it began. Step one: a timed mile. On a cold, rainy night we headed down to the track to see in fact just how fast I can run. I should mention that I have this irrational fear of tracks- I don’t know if it reminds me of high school gym class, or if it’s because I hate being told to stay between two lines, but tracks and I don’t get along. So to be told that I had to run a mile as fast as I could was kind of nerve wracking. I was told not to look at my watch and to just keep going but I kept asking myself “Is this fast? Am I going as fast as I can right now?”. When I finished I was gasping for air and wondering if I was going to throw up but as quickly as those feelings came on, they went away just as fast. And as soon as I was able to breathe again and confident I WASN’T going to puke I was eager to know what’s next.
With my mile at the track “Operation Make Kathleen Faster” (I’m really loving the code name I’ve given it) has officially begun. I know there are days that are going to suck, runs that are going to hurt, and at least two times when I cry and say “Why the HELL am I doing this?”. But I’m ready to get better, ready to be faster, ready to feel stronger. I want to take everything I did in 2013- and knock it socks off. I want to cross each finish line this year with my face hurting because I’m that proud of myself. Something tells me that track and I are going to become well acquainted. And it also tells me- it will be worth it.