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6 minute mile


This weekend at Mom's house, I picked up the copy of Outside magazine that was on their coffee table. I used to subscribe to the magazine, but stopped when I realized that Jon Krakauer wasn't writing for the magazine any longer. His were the stories I read even when I cared very, very little about the subject, as his writing is so engaging it made me care about the subject. Few are those talented writers.

The issue I picked up was an anniversary issue - 20 years or 30 years, something like that. In it, it had a large number of quotes from previous issues. The one that caught my attention when something like,

"A person cranking out 7 minute miles never learns how to move his arms and legs fast enough to run a 6 minute mile."

"Huh. Yeah, I guess that's true," was pretty much my thought when I read it. It reminded me of a conversation with Keebler from 5-6 years ago. We were talking about team workouts, which the previous year had included a lot of stadium runs. Keebler commented that one season past, the person designing his team's workouts was a big fan of stadium workouts, having the team run multiple stadium training runs in a week sometimes. At the end of the season, Keebler said, he was in shape, sure, but not really ultimate shape, "I could run stadiums really, really well!"

Both thoughts made me think, yeah, you play like you practice. Until I started playing ultimate, I fairly much abhorred exercise. I dodged recess as a kid, preferring to stay indoors hiding out in the bathrooms reading when everyone else was outside playing. Even junior high and high school when I ran track, it was more because I was supposed to ("Sports or a job, those are your choices," was the rule in the house), not because I wanted to (well, until someone told me I couldn't, then I wanted to, of course). Yet, in high school and then in college, I approached athletics as I approached academics: all I had to do was complete the activity, and then I'd be better. With schoolwork, if I read the material, did the exercises, and finished my homework, I learned. There wasn't any extra activity, just do the work. I figured sports were the same: if I ran the track workouts, I'd be faster in the meets.

Except that I didn't really care about being faster in the meets. There was the mental aspect of sports that I ignored. Just because you do the workout doesn't mean you'll be better, faster, stronger. It just means you're able to finish the workout at the effort level you finished the workout in.

These last few years, though, even through injury, I've realized that it's not about doing the workouts, it's about doing the workouts well, and doing them with the maximum effort I can. It's about pushing myself harder than I thought I could. It's about pretending I'm Lisa and I can run forever. Or pretending I'm Kris and can run relaxed. Or dreaming I'm Adam and can run like the... Oh, wait, no, I never have that dream.

It's about moving my arms and legs fast enough to know how to run a 6 minute mile. Or, in my case, catch a Smith huck.