Prepping for the Run Test

So today we had a sort of trial run to prep for the run test we’ll be having in a few weeks. The test will be held at Sunnyside and all of our runs so far have been at High Park, so today’s practice was held at Sunnyside so we could get a feel for the route, get to know the landmarks, figure out our pace, and so on. I also realized that I used the word “so” five times in two sentences, and that’s really just poor writing, so I apologize for that.

The workout today was to run the test distance three times. The first time we ran it was at a slow warm-up pace and we all ran together in a large group, pausing at the halfway point so Ben could show us where to turn around. We then ran back at a slightly faster pace, something like a 70%. The second run was supposed to be at 80%; a hard push, but not so much that you’d kill yourself. I think several people here went really hard, maybe a little too much so. I picked it up from the first one and tried to keep pace with Calvin for most of it, but in the last quarter he picked it up and I couldn’t keep up, so got left behind.

The third and final run was supposed to be a 90% effort, something of a mock test so we could figure out our testing pace. I started hard and made a strong push at the beginning, though I got easily outstripped by the fast runners (Steph, Rebecca, and the like). I somehow managed to maintain that pace, I don’t know how, and ended up doing fairly decently. I ran by myself for the most part, though in the second half Melissa started catching up to me. She’s the type to accelerate throughout the run, thus running the second half faster than the first. She caught up to me and then I tried to keep pace with her for a little while, until it was too much and I died. Essentially I had a running commentary (heheh) in my head going “okay, I can do this, got it, got it…okay, don’t got it, never mind, bye Melissa.” Apparently Marcella had a similar thing going and also died trying to keep up with Melissa, so Melissa defeated both of us. I don’t know how she does it.

I ended up finishing somewhere in the middle of the pack, well ahead of my usual last (or near last) place, which I think baffled everyone, particularly me. My time was 11:05, which is significantly faster than I’ve ever run before for a similar distance. I think my previous personal record was something like 12 minutes for 2 km, and this distance was 2.2 km. While perhaps not particularly fast for the actually fast people, 5:02/km is a very fast speed for me. It didn’t make any sense, so I tried to think about how it happened. My theory is that a combination of factors led to this occurrence. In no particular order:

  1. Everybody else went much harder than I did during the second run and was therefore much more tired for the third run, going at either the same speed or even slower. I ramped up and was thus less tired and had more energy for the third run.
  2. I started near the front of the pack at the start and therefore had a little bit of a head start compared to people that started at the back of the group.
  3. I was quite warmed up for the third run, compared to the first, where my muscles felt cold and stiff and it was hard to move efficiently. I think I take a while to warm up, and thus if I were to start fresh (and cold), I might in fact be slower than I would be even after running the distance twice prior.
  4. I am not an amazing sprinter and am in fact quite terrible at long distances, but am guessing that I might perhaps be a decently mediocre middle-distance runner.
  5. I recently got a temporary inhaler that has significantly improved my breathing and asthma issues. Unfortunately, this inhaler prescription ends tomorrow morning so unless it has long-term effects, it won’t help me for much longer.
  6. I had gone drinking last night with Rachel and was feeling a little dehydrated in the morning so I drank a glass of orange juice before leaving home. I typically don’t eat or drink before the run, so perhaps this bit of hydration gave me more energy than usual.
  7. It was a Palm Sunday miracle. Think of something like a Christmas miracle, but not Christmas. I’d also like to mention that I don’t actually know what Palm Sunday is or its significance. Navarro explained it as “something something palm leaves and something something crucifixion yo dawg don’t worry and something something coming back to life.” (He didn’t actually say “something something,” but I forgot those parts).
  8. Some fluke that won’t happen again.

Regardless of the reasoning, I have a very real fear I won’t be able to be as fast or do as well for the actual run test. And I’m not sure what to do about that. Please note that I also really hope this post doesn’t come across as pompous or pretentious, but I was pleasantly surprised at today’s practice and wanted to commemorate it.

Additionally, the unfortunate side effect of this sudden success is that now I think everybody else thinks I’ve been sandbagging the runs up until now…

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