Do you ever think to yourself, “What if I could do ….”?
What I find completely surprising is that people who I’ve just met or just started reading my blog think that I’ve always been —dare I say athletic? They think that I’ve always been able to maintain at least an 8:15 min/mile pace for 7 miles like the other day or maintain a 7:58 average min/mile pace for the 10K portion of an olympic triathlon. I’m not saying those are fast times by any means, but it is all relative, right?
I used to think a 9:30 pace was fast. Heck, I used to think a 10:30 pace was fast. When I started running 8 years ago, I could barely run a mile on the treadmill at the gym without walking. I would get frustrated after being on there for 10 minutes and jump on the elliptical instead. Time passed, and soon I was able to run on a treadmill for a while averaging a 10 minute/mile pace for a few miles. I was (and still am) proud of that accomplishment. I kept adding miles little by little. Then, I started running outside. BIG change. I was focused more on the distance I could go. Who would have thought I would run my first marathon well under 4 hours let alone run one at all?
My boyfriend, now hubs, bought me a bike for Christmas one year, and I started riding that to my college classes a few times a week averaging a 25 mile round trip each time. Pace was not my main concern. I just wanted to make it up the massive hills back up to my parent’s house without falling over or dying at the end of the day!
Swimming, well, let’s just say that while my high school swim team was basically taking anyone who could float, they didn’t take me. However, I managed to survive my first half Ironman last year and didn’t drown!
For the majority of the last 8 years, I have focused on distance. The last couple of years, I have started to realize the importance of speedwork. If I would have recognized this importance a few years ago, who knows how fast I would be right now? But, I can’t go back in time, and you know what? I wouldn’t want to. I enjoyed going for the distance on races just to see if I could do them. It started to open my eyes to the fact that I AM capable of anything I put my mind to.
I think that I might be past the point of just being thankful that I can run a 5K or a marathon at a “whatever” pace. I want more. I’m sick of being scared of my potential. I wonder how fast I could be if I tried even 50% more than what I’ve done in years past?
- I joined a running group that is faster than me even though it scared the crap out of me.
- I joined a tri club because of the same reason above. Masters swimming! Ack!
- I will try to be as consistent as I can with my training plan. I wonder how fast I could be if I actually hit at least 85% of my workouts that I’m supposed to.
Here is the point: Keep moving forward with your goals. Don’t ever become stagnant. Otherwise, what is the point? Of course, none of this would even be relevant if I wasn’t having fun in the process. My body, and more importantly, my mind continues to surprise me with the obstacles they are able to accomplish when working together seamlessly.
For those of you who are just starting out, getting back on workout wagon, or have been working out for years, keep trucking along. Focus on what you can do, and start adding more distance (or speed if you want). You just might surprise yourself with how far you can go if you really focus on the strength within yourself.
For those of you who are faster than me, I’m coming to get you. It may not be this year or the next, but I’ll get you.