sub-8 minute mile!

I decided to run a timed mile, since I think it’s a pretty fun (but probably inaccurate) measure of general fitness, and it’s pretty accessible, and what’s not to love about collecting data over the span of one’s life? The last time I ran a timed mile was 201 blog posts ago in 2012 and my time was 8:55. Today, I ran it in 7:53!! Which is GREAT. I was expecting an improvement since my last mile, since I feel much more physically fit than I used to be, but I wasn’t expecting under 8 minutes! Here were my splits:

Lap 1 – 1:39
Lap 2 – 2:07
Lap 3 – 2:10
Lap 4 – 1:55

I think the main thing I struggled with with this mile was my running gait. For the last few years (3?) since I started running regularly in norcal, I’ve been wearing barefoot shoes and running on my toes. I initially started doing this to alleviate knee pain, and I do think it’s helped because impact force is taken by ankles and calves rather than purely by the knee. On my typical runs and on my half marathon training last year I never ran for time and just took my own pace. So this was the first time in a long time where I wanted to go fast. I found after my first few steps that it was basically impossible for me to run fast on my toes! I switched to heel striking/running with my entire foot and my pace was definitely faster with longer strides for the first lap. But, I think I overdid the speed and I was pooped after lap 1. Lap 2 and 3 I switched back to toe-running for comfort and ease, but it obviously slowed down my pace. For my last lap I went back to running on my full foot for the speed, but I was so tired!

It’s crazy how exhausted you can be after just a few minutes of high intensity cardio breathing. I was sooo pooped. I felt like I tasted iron in my mouth, and even now a few hours later my throat is still dry. (Or maybe I’m coming down with a cold.) I do think I tried very hard in this mile, though in hindsight I probably could have stepped it up just a tiny notch on lap 2 and 3 by changing my gait – maybe cutting my time down 10-15 seconds? Mentally it was a bit of a struggle because I wanted to practice ahimsa (non-hurting) but also tapas (commitment) lol. So conflicting! But we did it and it was great and exhausting. Again in 2020!

my feet hurt

I can’t wait to begin and attempt completion of my 13.1 miles on Sunday so I can be less obligated to run three times a week. My feet hurt as if I just spent the entire day at Disneyland waiting in lines… Weird that I’m only just starting to feel this? Or maybe my running posture has been changing slightly. Whatever six more days!!!!

labor day weekend

Someone said that in 2015, Memorial Day was at the earliest day possible and Labor Day was at the latest day possible, defining the longest unofficial summer, but in my mind the longest time between paid holidays/free 3-day weekends at work. Certainly felt like a breath of fresh air. It’s amazing how much just a single day of disruption to the norm of working life can feel so liberating.

I didn’t do much this weekend – it was great. Took a couple naps. Normal weekend activities like running, yoga, farmer’s market. We went to the mall on Saturday to browse and run errands; I bought a pair of shoes from the Nordstrom sale to consider for a few weeks. (Still the best return policy ever.) Yesterday I went hiking with Kristen, Rose and Yvonne at Sanborn County Park, which was recommended by Eric(‘s dad) as his favorite hike because of the full shade. It was pretty nice, only about 30 minutes away and mostly flat. I think hiking a loop is typically more fun than an out-and-back, plus the trail we took (from Sunnyvale Mountain Trailhead to Indian Rock and back) didn’t have a lot of vista points nor was the rock at the end that exciting. But the walk was nice, and the shade was super appreciated on the 96 deg F high day. I carried an extra 10-15 lbs of water, snacks, camera, miscellany, for a cross-training day instead of running per my half marathon plan. It was totally fine and I’d like to potentially carry more next time if the trail was similarly flat (~600 ft gain/3 miles one way).

Yesterday afternoon Nancy and I dropped by Fitgeek (running shoe store by Ike’s in Cupertino) to chat with the experts about running shoes and methods, and to get “gait analysis” done on our running form. As expected, my running form is good (mid-foot strike, no over- or under-pronation) but my feet do land a little more centerlined under my body than ideal. Best joint alignment is for the feet to land directly under the hips. I’ll try being more conscious about my running form next time, and see if it makes any difference. I run in near-barefoot shoes, and I asked the guy if there was anything I could do about arch soreness. He basically said if it’s not pain, my body will probably adjust to it, but if it bothered me I should try a shoe with a little more stiffness. I’m going to try putting heel/arch half inserts into my shoes during my next run, too, to see if my plantar-whatever gets less sore.

It was fun to watch my feet and legs running in super slow motion, to see how the feet land and legs adjust and absorb motion. Somewhat disappointing that they didn’t have any magical fix solutions for my miniscule complaints, but grateful that I don’t have actual aches and pains that would keep me from my goals. Nancy’s analysis was about the same, lol.