In a Flash


It’s a small thing.  No highlight is going to be shown on SportsCenter.  Nobody’s making room in the Guinness Book of World Records.  It’s certainly not going to trend on Twitter.  But for me, it was worth a fist pump and a little big of bragging:  I broke a fifteen minute mile on my walk this morning.

During the week I’m under a bit of a time crunch in the mornings thanks to having to get ready for work.  Doesn’t leave me a lot of time for a walk, maybe a good thirty minutes.  So I try to make up for in pace what I lack in time and distance.  My flat feet make running too much of a painful proposition, so I push myself to walk as fast as I can. When I first started all this, I’d average around eighteen minutes a mile.  If I sped up, I could get down to seventeen or so.  As time went on, I ramped it down to sixteen minutes, and then under sixteen, but no matter how I tried, I couldn’t get near that fifteen minute mark.

I don’t know what made this morning different.  I didn’t even feel like I was going particularly fast.  Maybe I lengthened my strides, maybe there’s just less of me to drag along the sidewalk, but when my walk tracker hit fifteen minutes, I didn’t hear it say 0.88 or 0.93 like I’ve been used to.  “One mile,” the lifeless voice said.  And I started laughing, the same laugh I let out when my weight dropped below 210 for the first time, a disbelieving, elated chuckle.  I nearly forgot that I had to turn around and head back home, or I might have ended up in Ocoee.

There was a brief temptation to let up, to be happy with I’d done so far.  But I haven’t gotten where I am right now by being happy with “so far.”  So I buckled down and tried to keep it going.  There’s a good stretch on the way back that goes up an incline that always smacks me pretty good, but I powered through it.  As I got close to my apartment, I looked at my walk tracker.  I had three minutes to hit the two-mile mark.  I must have looked a little ridiculous, stepping as quickly as I was, but I wanted this.  I didn’t want to see 1.99.  I wanted a nice even 2,00.

29:25,  Still not there.  29:36.  I was muttering to myself, “Come on, come on,” exhaling the words.  29:45.  So close. And then right before the clock hit 30:00, the counter rolled from 1.99 to 2.00 and I’d done it.  I stopped the tracker and immediately slowed down, barely feeling my legs at this point.  I still had a short walk back to my apartment, and I walked it like I’d just finished a marathon.

When I checked the split times when I got home, it was even better than I thought.  That first furious mile had come in at 14:56.  The second was 15:00 right on the dot.  An average of 14:58 per mile.  And while I definitely felt the effort, I didn’t feel tired or winded or wobbly.  I just felt good.  Yes, there are people who could run four miles in the time it took me to walk one.  But dammit, that’s my mile.  A mile that would have taken me twenty sweat-filled panting minutes six months ago.  Only a mile, but what feels like light years from where I was.

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