I go on a run almost every Wednesday with someone at work. We’ve been going outside for the most part, though I expect that to change as the weather continues to get colder. He and I tend to run between 10 and 10:30 minute miles on the outdoor run, which is faster than I have been running by myself, so I consider the Wednesday run my fast one.

Last week, my running buddy was not at work. I had all of my stuff ready for running, so I decided to go anyway, but since I’ve been getting through a cold and the weather wasn’t great I’d run indoors. I also planned on going nice and slow, taking it easy since I wouldn’t have anyone to goad me into running faster.

Once I got to the gym and changed into my running clothes, I headed upstairs to the track. I made a detour to swing on a pull up bar and remind my callouses why I don’t want them to disappear. Then, atypically for me, I walked a lap before starting to run.

And when I started to run, I was running fast.

Now, I have no illusions about being an actually fast runner. When I write fast, I mean, fast for me. The outer lane of the track is a hair over a tenth of a mile in length (1 mile is 10.09 laps), and I found myself running each lap in under a minute. When I’m doing my slow runs, I tend to run laps at about 1:08 to 1:20 minutes per lap.

Even though people passed me on the track, I still was going fast for me, faster than I’ve gone in a long time. And while I was uncomfortable, I wasn’t panicky. Even with my chest still feeling tight from being sick, I was making it work. I decided I would do my fastest 23 laps and stop. 23 because the route we usually run outdoors is about 2.25 miles and that would get me close to that distance.

I wasn’t quite sure when I started, but it was approximately 10 seconds to 11:48 (or that’s how I counted it), so I was quite happy to find that my first 10 laps were done in under 10 minutes. And I started pushing a bit harder and counted out my last 10 laps at just under 9 minutes (8:54). Since 10 laps is technically only 0.99 miles, I calculated out the pace to an 8:59 minute mile pace for the last mile. It’s still sub-9, and I’m counting it as a major win. That’s only the second sub-9 I’ve ever recorded and my first in about three years.

I guess maybe this running faster to run faster thing might be working.

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