I don’t know what it is about me, but I tend to always go out too fast. It doesn’t really matter if I’m swimming, biking, or running (or for that matter practically anything) – for whatever reason I always seem to go out way too fast.
Back in high school, I ran track and cross country. I remember one race in particular during my senior year. It was the 800 meters against Durham (NC) Hillside High. Hillside had two of the fastest runners in the state on their team – they were twins, no less, and they both were in the 800. I seem to recall that these guys could run about 1:50 or so. Which – if you’re wondering, is blazing fast for a high school kid (or at least it was back in 1986). My 800 PR? Something like 2:08. Glacially slower than those guys.
And yet – when we raced against Hillside, where was I lined up and running during the first 400? Where do you think? Right on those boys’ heels. I think we went out in something like 55 seconds. Waaaaaaaayyyyyy too fast for me. So what happened? Of course, I died. I slowed down significantly, didn’t come within two states of beating them, and probably felt like utter crap by the end of the race.
Did I learn anything? Not likely.
I still go out too fast. I do it in the pool. When I run. When I bike. I’m not sure why. Maybe I’m just anxious. Maybe I have the pacing skills of a cheetah.
Take yesterday’s run, for example. Four easy miles. Should have taken about 37 minutes (which ultimately it did). Should have been even splits around 9:15. Did I accomplish that? (Duh – if I did, would I be writing about it?)
So…my first mile was 8:14. It felt really good, but as soon as Mr. Garmin beeped at one mile and I glanced down to see my time, I thought, “That’s not good!” I tried to slow down purposefully. Instead, I crashed. My heartrate exploded, I sounded like Darth Vader, and had to walk. Seriously?! It was a short run, and here I was, reduced to walking at 1.1 miles. WTF?
Proof that I never learned how to pace myself. You’d think with my advanced age, wisdom would descend upon me and grant me the cognitive ability to start slow and finish fast, rather than the other way around.
I guess I should go back to school…