I was sitting down to write my recap of a 25K road race that I ran up in Grand Rapids this past weekend, and I was halfway through when it dawned on me that I had neglected to summarize my OUTDOOR SPEEDY DAY from April 30th. With this past month’s OUTDOOR SPEED DAY coming just 2 days after I ran the fastest half-marathon of my life (by a lot), I’m not sure if I can put into words how little I wanted to gallop for a mile as fast as I could….however, there are very few hard-and-fast rules of this blog as it is, and I believe that OUTDOOR SPEED DAY is a rule that cannot be compromised.
THE RUN — 3.2 miles in 27:18 (08:32/mile pace — Fastest Mile of 06:04)
I learned two very important lessons from last month’s OUTDOOR SPEED DAY:
- Run with the wind, rather than against it. And;
- Don’t chug heavy beers.
While last month I set out for my fast run by taking a bus south (without checking the wind direction) and then running north back toward my apartment (into the teeth of the wind), so that I could finish near-ish to where I live, this time I jogged a half-mile out to the lake to at least check out the direction of the wind first. While the wind speed was more or less negligible, I noticed that it was blowing ever-so-slightly from north to south, and so I headed north to finish the remainder of my slo-o-o-w warmup mile (09:56, if you’re curious) into the wind, with the intention of turning south for my fast mile. At around the 0.9-mile mark, I turned around 180 degrees to head south, and once I hit the 0.97-mile mark, I made my move.
My MOTOACTV data shows that I didn’t ramp up to top speed until 0.07 miles into my mile, but I blame the satellites; I was in top gear shortly after my watch turned over to 1.01 miles. I won’t go into a lot of detail about what I thought while I was running as fast as I could, because pretty much the only thing I was thinking was, “Damn, this feels kind of fast, my lungs are burning, and my legs hurt.” It felt good knowing that I didn’t have to run for an especially long period of time, but it’s tough to do just about anything at maximum physical effort for 6-7 minutes when the only person you’re racing against is yourself. Fortunately, with the lake path being blissfully clear of other runners (and with the few runners on the path seeming to realize that I was on a f&#$ing mission), there was nothing in my way to break my stride. By the 0.75-mile mark, I felt I was in the clear, and I even mustered a mini-kick at the end. I logged my second mile split (the fast mile) in 06:18, and I was VERY happy with my efforts.
However, it wasn’t until I ended my workout that my MOTOACTV device informed me that while my fastest split was 6:18, my fastest running mile was actually 06:04; looking at the data, it must have occurred from about the 1.03 mark to the 2.03 mark. While my legs were burning, I hadn’t run that fast since high school, which was….oh God…10 years ago. That being said, I barely had anything left for the run home, and I was over a mile away from my apartment– after walking for a good spell, I limped home at around a 09:00/mile pace, ready for the CHUG…
THE CHUG — 12-oz. of Miller Lite in 4.15 seconds
I will admit that I actually felt a little bit homeless when I was out buying my beer for the chug. I was determined not to repeat the mistakes of last month’s speed chug, when all I had sitting in the ‘fridge was a heavy English-style porter to slam, and so I wanted to make sure that I had some sort of light beer at the ready. With no light beers to speak of in our ‘fridge again, I went to the store to pick up the smallest quantity that I could buy individually. See, I’m not a huge fan of American-style light beers in anything other than a bar/binge setting (Relevant joke: “How is Bud Light like sex on the beach? They’re both fucking close to water!”), I didn’t really want to buy a case, or even a 6-pack of light beers. And so that’s how I found myself at Binny’s, paying $1.19 for a 24-oz Miller Lite tallboy, like I was picking up a roadie to drink in the limo on the way to Prom. It wasn’t a fine moment. As I steeled my nerves for the chug, I poured exactly 12 oz. of Miller Lite into a measuring cup with the preciseness of Bryan Cranston in an episode ofBreaking Bad, except nobody died at the end of Season 4 in my kitchen when I poured from the measuring cup into a pint glass. It was on.
I’m pleased to report that I improved my chugging time from an adequate 4.59 seconds last month to a more respectable 4.15 seconds this month. With the same stopwatch operator as last time (my trusty roommate Cash), the near- half-second reduction in chugging time can mostly be attributed to the infinitely more chuggable beer that I had at my disposal, but I feel that my form improved as well. With luck, maybe I can break the vaunted 4-second barrier next month!
…It’s good to have goals.