I haven’t had very many race recaps this year because all of my races have either been moved to virtual or have been cancelled. I didn’t think that I would be a fan of virtual races because the race environment is what makes races special and fun. But, after months of running without any challenge, virtual races are better than nothing!
The Twin Cities One Mile race is always a fun one for me. I never run just a mile for speed, so I never know how it will turn out. I was really nervous about running this one virtually, because in previous years, the crowd and competition have definitely been a huge help.
As I have shared, I have been working really hard with training for a virtual marathon. When you’re in the middle of training for a marathon, its hard to know what your body can do in shorter distances. You’re sort of just always running slow and long! I was really excited for the change of pace to race one mile.
The one benefit to running virtual races is that you can set the time and location for you to do your best. For me, this meant running in the afternoon when I’m always the fastest and feel the best, as well as finding a route that had no interruptions and a nice little downhill in it.
Running the virtual race also allowed me to do more of a proper warm up and start running when I was ready. I got my “fast” songs cued up, and was ready to start. The day was pretty hot and humid, so I took a little extra time to get my heart rate down and hydrate before running.
I took off on the downhill going SO fast. I’m sure there are more proper ways to pace a mile, but I always start as fast as I can go, and hang on as long as I can. I remember looking at my watch to check my pace and saw I was .1 mile into it. I carried my super fast pace until about 0.25, when I checked my watch again. I was running close to a 5:00 pace, and was shocked to see I was going that fast.
It started to get really hard after the first quarter mile. I knew I had to adjust my speed a little in order to hold on, but didn’t want to lose what I had done so far. I kept dividing up how far I had run– 1/3 mile, 1/2 mile, 3/4 mile. For me it really helps mentally to check off little increments. I actually do this with my long runs too! Maybe the math just keeps my mind busy.
The last 1/4 mile was so hard. At one point I actually wanted to stop, but I told myself that I wasn’t going to lose this effort. I was definitely running as hard as I possibly could and just tried to hold on! Then I was at 0.9 miles, but the last tenth of a mile felt like it took forever. I eyed the stoplight up ahead and knew I just needed to reach that and I would probably hit the mile.
I was right and was elated that it was over. I had to sit down before I even checked my watch! I was so happy to see 5:29! My PR from the previous year was 5:51, and I was actually just hoping to beat that, thinking I could maybe run a 5:49. I had thought the heat and humidity would have bothered me more than it did. Maybe because it was such a fast, all out effort, there wasn’t time to overheat!
I was so happy with the result, and how strong I had been when it got tough. Especially when I was all alone. The course definitely helped me with the downhill at the beginning, but I am excited to see what I can do next year (hoping there is a real race!).
The race made me feel strong and inspired to keep training. Even when you feel like you aren’t making progress, you really are if you keep putting in that work!