In the summer of 2010 I decided to get in shape before I turned 40. I wanted to be able to run 5K in less than 30 minutes. Looking back, I can appreciate the determination but I have to shake my head at the specifics. I thought I'd lengthen my stride, so I didn't have to take as many strides per minute, when really the key to running faster is to increase your turnover. It's like I was trying to make more tender piecrust by kneading it longer. I didn't give myself enough lead time to meet the goal, and so I was working way too hard on the treadmill, with heartrates in the 170s. Because I was exerting myself so intensely, I would do some cheaterpants arm support some of the time, taking my pulse for much longer than necessary. It was so miserable that after I recorded my 29:52 time I didn't run for months and months.
You know that post I just wrote about being surprised by my archives? Just last week I stumbled across my post on getting down below 30 minutes. I had misremembered the required pace: I thought I needed to run a 9:21 pace. Huh, I thought to myself, I only have to run a 9:40 pace? I'm not far from that!
And I wasn't! Tonight I ran a 5K in 29:55 -- no misery, no cheaterpants arm action, and no injuries. (My hips were sore for weeks after the 2010 shenanigans, thanks to that stupid stride-lengthening idea.) According to this calculator, that puts me in the 51st percentile. Onward and upward!
I might need to create a fitness category one of these days, which is not something I ever envisioned when I started blogging.