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Like taking a retired greyhound to a racetrack

So the other night I had a blazing fast run. When I say blazing fast, here are my splits from Claude,

 

6:51

6:58

7:10

6:41

Now, before you all comment and tell me how fast that is and how great I am, which is totally not true, I want to discuss how I can run that fast and how I view the marathon and some other racing things that I just feel like I have to talk about. So maybe you know this, maybe you don’t, but I ran cross country, played soccer and ran track in the spring. I was fast in high school, and really worked hard to get faster, and be the best that I could be, and even know, looking back I know I could have gone faster. I have a box of medals that sits in my closet and every time I take it out and look at them all I think to myself that it seems so long ago that I got all those medals, but I remember all the hard work that I poured into each race. Some people don’t understand running. Every single one of my friends in high school was a cheerleader, and I was the ‘sporty one’, and even then, was running a sport? The fastest time I ran in high school was 19:56 on a super flat fast course at the end of the season my junior year. I would never trade cross country for anything and that season I was on fire and I truly loved racing. That being said, when I run short distances, like the four miler I did Wednesday night, I can force myself to run it like my coach is right on my tail screaming at me like he used to. I was trained for four years to run all out for 3-5 miles on our ‘faster’ days during training. I was trained to know how hard I can push myself and how fast I can go.

During track it was the same thing, I ran the 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles, the 4×4 and sometimes the mile. I trained my butt off to go to CIF and big meets and did fairly well, but it was the same mentality of the coaches breathing down my neck and making me go faster than I thought I could. I think having that instilled in me makes me able to pull something out of nowhere and hustle for those shorter distances that I run now. I also think upping my mileage has made a big difference in my speed. I can still feel the coaches pushing me on those runs. Maybe it’s just in my blood but I contribute most of it to those training seasons in high school.

Now, some of you see these numbers and immediately think I can run that fast for long periods of time. NOT TRUE. I was DYING after this run. I was shaky and breathing so hard and my little heart was pounding so hard I thought it would explode. I can’t run like that for more than four miles. It’s SO fast, it really is, especially for me. My legs were barely functioning once I got home as well. It’s NOT easy for me, and I couldn’t run any farther at that pace at all.

I do think I can run this fast because of my past running experiences in high school. When I run like this it’s really all just mental. I am literally yelling at myself in my head just like my coach used to in high school. There are a string of explicit words directed at myself, me talking to myself and telling myself I CAN do this, and then me yelling at myself to push through and keep going. I just keep thinking about the time on Claude ticking down, and how many more ‘laps’ around the track it is.  That’s how I spent a lot of my ‘high school life’ training, running and pushing my body. When I run these shorter distances, it’s like I can tap into those same feelings and push myself like how my coaches taught me to. It’s definitely not something I can do every time I go out and run, nor something that I want to do every time when I go out and run, BUT  every now and then it feels so stinkin’ good to just go and kill myself and run as hard and as fast as I can, just like I did in high school.

I’m making a weird analogy here, but it’s like comparing myself to a greyhound. A greyhound knows how to race, and I’m pretty sure if you took a  retired greyhound to a racetrack, it would get all ansty in it’s pansty and want to race again. It’s like the sights and the smells would all come back to him, and off he would go down the track, just like he used too. I get those same feelings. I think about three miles, and think this is short, this is just like high school. You can do this. Let’s see how fast you can do it. How fast can you go today? What can you do today? Then before I know it I’m checking off the miles and pushing myself beyond my limits and it’s exhilarating.

I remember when I was a cross country coach for a high school program my senior year in college. I remember the first race we went too, it was a huge night race. I hadn’t been to a race since I stopped racing in high school. I remember our girl was running in the big sweepstakes race because she was really fast, and I got her all ready to go and prayed with her at the starting line and then told her some words of wisdom (? weird right!) and then I took off to go get her splits at other locations along the course, first I wanted to watch the start though. As I watched all the girls lined up with their school colored fabric bows in their hair, and their brand new racing flats, their uniform tops tucked in, their ponytails bobbing as they were closely huddled together, I almost started crying. Once the gun went off, my heart skipped a beat and my eyes teared up. All the love for running I had came back to me and I knew one day I would race again soon. I knew I HAD to race again and shortly after that season was over and I graduated from college, I signed up for my first half marathon, in Long Beach.

Every now and then when I pull out those splits it hurts but it feels so good. I can feel my coach yelling at me, I can see the finish line and the crowds in the stands just like at the track meets. I can see the little flags dotting the finish chute and I feel the same pains my body experienced in high school. The exhaustion, the dry lips, my heart pounding, my legs aching, my arms reaching for the finish line,  my nose running, the sweat dripping down my face and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

xoxo

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26 Comments

  • Reply Jayon Park

    Its good to see that you can still push yourself. Do you still keep a healthy diet. I was a football player in HS and did four years in the marine corp so I was always in shape but now I have noooo damn motivation lol. Thanks for inspiring!

    -Jayon

    http://Www.JayonPark.com

    September 3, 2009 at 9:34 am
  • Reply Kristen

    I wish I could run faster, I can only seem to get out 11 minute miles. I know I need to work on my speed, but I am not sure where to start.
    Maybe you could share that wisdom!

    September 3, 2009 at 9:49 am
  • Reply ShutupandRun

    Thanks for a great post. Those numbers totally intimidated me, but then to hear the story behind them was interesting and touching – I didn’t run in high school or college and really didn’t start until I turned 40. So your path is different than mine, but now we are both kinda in similar spots – training for longer races, blogging about it. I love hearing people’s stories.

    September 3, 2009 at 10:10 am
  • Reply Rebekah

    Those are some awesome splits! Thank you for sharing your memories, and I think it’s great that you used your past experiences to inspire and teach younger girls by coaching.

    Things like this make me wish I’d run in high school. I played soccer instead, and I was terrible at it–I wasn’t coordinated enough. But I was always one of the faster girls on the team, and I wonder what could have been.

    September 3, 2009 at 10:18 am
  • Reply carolina girl

    Girl, I can’t wait for the day I can say I ran 4 miles period! hahaha You are awesome, keep inspiring us!! :)

    September 3, 2009 at 10:45 am
  • Reply Amanda

    One word – AMAZING!

    September 3, 2009 at 11:20 am
  • Reply Marlene

    Have you read Once a Runner? You would LOVE it! It’s a novel about competitive college track. It starts slow, but the last third or so is totally worth it!

    September 3, 2009 at 12:12 pm
  • Reply Nicole

    Oh the days of HS running… :) were on the same page girl! so glad we can have the same good memories of running through the years! :)

    September 3, 2009 at 12:56 pm
  • Reply J

    I feel that everyone has their special distance that they can run well and fast. I know that there is a point where running really fast just hurts my body. but for those 3-5 milers running fast can be fun and I agree its easier to make yourself run fast if you have had that training and mental drive!

    September 3, 2009 at 1:24 pm
  • Reply cindy

    it really is a mental thing isn’t it? sometimes i feel like i know my body can do it (even though it will feel very very bad), i just have to get my brain to make me. even still, i can’t run those kinds of splits. very nice job !

    September 3, 2009 at 3:10 pm
  • Reply Felice

    That IS blazing fast! Enjoy your ability :-)

    September 3, 2009 at 4:19 pm
  • Reply Nicole

    Okay, you have totally inspired me to run my ass off tonight! I love how you’re able to channel your past and use it to motivate you today. Congrats on a really solid 4 miles!

    September 3, 2009 at 5:08 pm
  • Reply Kerrie

    Fabulous post! I only ran XC for one year in high school. I loved it and wished I’d discovered it sooner. Like you, I also ran track, played soccer and I was on a year-round swim team. Man, I remember running a XC race in the morning and then immediately going to a soccer game right after. (I bet you did the same thing.) And, I’m not trying to brag, but I was a good soccer player so I was in for the entire game! XC only made me better because I was all warmed up…and pumped up! I’m so glad I’ve found my love of running again. I don’t know why I waited so long. Thanks for your inspiring stories!

    September 3, 2009 at 9:27 pm
  • Reply Lupe

    Great Job! I hope you’re not too sore tomorrow but if you are you know it was worth it. I think it’s great to throw fast runs in, it totally helps make you a better runner. All I have to say is…look out Sanya Richards. ;)

    September 3, 2009 at 11:01 pm
  • Reply Gina

    WOW, that is REALLY fast! Way to go!

    September 4, 2009 at 4:28 am
  • Reply The Laminator

    You know I’m in your corner so don’t take this the wrong way, but please don’t put limits on your running potential. The fact that you were able to pull off those splits means there are a lot of talent that has yet to be explored. I don’t see what you did in XC as a ceiling but as the floor of what you can achieve, even now.

    You know, Dani girl, that some ladies can train themselves for an entire lifetime and still not run the splits you did spontaneously last night. So don’t take your speed lightly.

    No one says it’s easy to run fast just because you have the talent for it, believe me, I know. But you have lots of room to be better, stronger as you build distance that I think should not look at your speedy old self as a failure (because you didn’t pursue it further in college) but as a starting point for bigger and better things. Don’t believe me, okay – take a look at all the great women marathoners of the past few years – Kara, Paula, and others. All over 30…so yeah, you have a bright future in this sport, if you don’t let your self-doubts and past failures stop you from getting there!

    Run well, my dear friend!

    September 4, 2009 at 5:05 am
  • Reply aron

    awesome post girl and AWESOME run!!! thats so cool about your HS days… i mean i knew you ran and stuff but i am sure that plays a huge part in being able to pull off those fast runs like that. i need to have a coach in my head telling me to go faster!

    September 4, 2009 at 10:23 am
  • Reply Legallyblondemel

    You were a soccer chick too! Of course you were. I’ll bet you were a forward since you’re such a quick runner.

    Well written post; I really felt like I was coaching along with you.

    September 4, 2009 at 11:03 am
  • Reply SDrunner

    What an awesome post! First of all, I can totally relate to so much you said. I ran XC and Track in HS, but took a..5 year hiatus, at least!! But I’m so glad I started again this year. I’ve been able to pull off those fast short runs recently too bc of XC, but now I’m training for a half which is like 4X longer!! Sounds like you had some intense coaches, yelling down your throat like that. But I think that made you an even stronger runner than you know. Lucky..

    September 4, 2009 at 4:54 pm
  • Reply Perfectly Imperfect

    I love that you’re a soccer player too! What position did you play?

    You are fast. This post made me winded. =)

    September 5, 2009 at 5:42 pm
  • Reply Rosie

    You’re F*ing awesome!!!

    September 6, 2009 at 6:55 pm
  • Reply Adam Dopps

    Wow! I haven’t run times like that in a decade, but am trying to get them back. Thanks for the inspiration, and the reminder that those kind of numbers require kick a$$ hard work.

    September 6, 2009 at 9:29 pm
  • Reply Punk Rock Runner

    Your slowest mile is faster than my fastest single mile ever. Amazing.

    September 8, 2009 at 10:21 am
  • Reply Tara

    you speedy lil snake bumble bee you! haha great job and I think I need ot try and run all out one of these days for 3 miles. I always feel like I am holding back a bit, but I think I just need to say eff it and run HARD!

    September 9, 2009 at 9:17 am
  • Reply Stuart

    Nice splits – with some solid speedwork you could easily extend your range to a 10k and even a half

    September 10, 2009 at 1:03 pm
  • Reply Me? Competitive? NEVER! | Chic Runner

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