Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Old Fast is the New Slow

Dammit! Forgot the sunblock again! I thought as I jumped into the pool. A colleague had stopped by to "borrow" some lab supplies and wanted to talk about data, probably trying to scoop some of my ideas, but that's another story for another day. I had been irritated about the delay. I ran the 1/4 mile to the truck at noon. Luckily, I was wearing my running shoes anyway. Techincally, the workout started at noon but I know Terri wouldn't blow the horn until 12:15. I made it to the pool parking lot at 12:08 and, upon finding no open visitor spots, desperately parked illegally in a student parking space. Ran people strollnig down the sidewalk over on the way to the pool, slipped into my suit in the locker room and made it into my own lane with enough time to spare for a quick 100 before the horn blew.

Swimming at noon is always so hectic. Sometimes I wonder if it's worth it. But as I streamed through the warm water with the sunlight kissing my brown skin, I sighed. I could hear nothing but the sound of bubbles as I exhaled rhythmically with each stroke. I diligently focused on each set, forgetting about work, home, life; everything else slipped away as I slipped through the water. As the sets got longer, and I got further and further into the workout, I felt everything click. My core muscles engaged, and in a coordinated swoop, my body twisted me forward through the water like a drill. I swam a 300 in 5:32, my fastest ever. Funny. It didn't feel that fast. If I had been wondering before, I wasn't anymore: it's totally worth it.

After work today, I slipped into my running shoes and set out for my usual, post-work 4-mile run with my trusty GPS acting as my coach. I had no real plan except to go with how my body felt. After the first mile, I realized my legs felt fresh and springy. I went with it. The cadence of my feet increased with a light quickness on the gentle slope out to Torrey Pines. I checked my watch. 6:53. 6:53? I had never gone that fast! It didn't feel like 6:53. I held it for as long as I could. Maybe the idea that I'm slow is all in my head. Maybe I'm not slow. Maybe it's all mental. Mabye my brain is holding me back, not my body. This totally new concept dawned on me as I focused on maintaining a light, quick rhythm with my feet. My easy 4-mile run had turned into a speed workout. And I loved it. So much more fun than the track. Even though I was returning and was having to work hard, I was still eeking out 7:20 min/miles. At one point, I slowed to catch my breath a little. I was going to have to let it go. Looking down, I saw I was still going 7:35...still pretty fast! Since when does 7:35 feel slow. Maybe it's all in my head and I just have to show my brain that the old fast is the new slow.

16 comments:

Sherry said...

Oh, that's so awesome!!! I'm nowhere near the 7's for daily training, but I can relate to what you've written when I reflect on my own progress during my first year of training.

It really is amazing how the old fast, does become the new slow! :o)

Keep up the GREAT work!

Grey Beard said...

Hummm, I seem to remember someone predicting this would happen after those long, 4hr + bike rides... :D
Congrats Rachel. You GO girl!!!

Grey Beard said...

Rachel, look at your training charts. What's changed?

Jack said...

Great job Rachel, it's going to be a good year at this rate!

Trey said...

I loved this post, it was a great read and reminds me of why we do this. - - Keep up the training.

Pamela said...

congrats!!!

Krista said...

Great job!! I love those days!

Wes said...

Sounds like your recovery week served you well! Very nice!!

Chad in the AZ Desert said...

Sounds like you have broken through some training barriers. Great job!

Caroline said...

What an awesome breakthrough!! The best is when it almost is feeling easy too. I actually had to reread that you were indeed speaking about a 6:53 mile, not kilometer!!!

Bob D said...

Nice. Think the recovery time made the difference?

Diana said...

This sounds like the beginning of a "bangor" season-can't wait to read more as it unfolds!

Formulaic said...

Sounds like recovery week worked like a charm for you.

Keep it up and 6:30's will be slow.

I can only hope that my body follows your example.

Benson said...

Wow,
Nice job
keep it up

Ordinarylife said...

I had a similar experience! I said I was going out for slow run, just using a race as training, but not racing it. What happened. I shattered my old times - now done it twice (thought the first time was pure luck or something! It is a wonderful feeling.

untpawgal02 said...

Nice job on those speedy workouts girl :) Keep it up!