I’m not a good runner.
While I have played sports my entire life, running has never been the sole focus of my training. I used it as a way to complement my normal practice/training schedules for basketball and lacrosse. It was a way to get better, faster, and stronger — ultimately to perform when the game was on the line.
However, when my team sports career came to an abrupt end, I was forced to find a new outlet. Sure, I wasn’t great at it, but I already had a little experience with running. And it was a great way to keep my competitive spirit alive.
First, it was a 5k. Then a half marathon. Then eventually a marathon.
The races I ran were great and I really enjoyed them. But what really got me going was competing against myself. Setting new PR’s and crushing longer, and longer distances.
The process of setting lofty goals and working towards them was addicting. And once I accomplished those races (over the course of a couple of years), I needed a new goal. Something I could work towards. Something that I’ve always wanted to accomplish.
The 6-minute mile.
The 6-minute mile is a time that has always been out of reach for me. At this point in my running career, I was barely able to dip below an 8 minute/mile pace. Granted, I was racing longer distances, but nonetheless, the 6-minute mile continued to evade me.
To me, the 6-minute mile was the ultimate sign of a fast runner. Moreover, a sign of a good runner. Something I’ve desperately wanted since I was played high school sports.
I wanted that title. And I wanted the satisfaction that would come after working hard to achieve it.
One Friday afternoon, while my girlfriend was at work, I snuck into Drake Stadium at UCLA and gave it a try. To be honest, I didn’t really do much training specifically for the time-trial.
I kind of just went in and did it. I was already in pretty good shape after just completing the Pittsburgh Marathon several months prior.
And the results were better than I could have hoped:
5 minutes, 43 seconds
What an amazing feeling. I’ve always wanted to be considered a fast runner, but never actually tried running the mile, for fear of not being able to accomplish my goal.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that you won’t ever know if you don’t try it.
I always considered the 6-minute mile out of reach. But one day, I just decided to do it. To give it a try and ‘see what happens’. And to my surprise, it went pretty darn well.
I think this can apply to a lot of things in life. Relationships, career, fitness, spirituality, life experiences.
A lot of times we just don’t know if we can or can’t. But one thing is for sure, If we don’t try, we are never going to find out.