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how fast is your "fast"?

It will be my 4th year anniversary with running this coming July 2017. I’ve learned so much throughout the process, not just about running, but also so much about myself. When I first started running, I wanted so bad to be “fast”. I started at a 12:30 minute per mile pace and I remember thinking how bad I wanted to get to 10 minute per mile pace… That was my definition of “fast". Anything faster than that was just at professional level. I realized quickly that I didn’t know much about pacing at that point.. lol!
Everyone has different definitions of what “fast” means. For a 12 min miler, a 10 min miler is “fast". For a 10 min miler, an 8 min miler is “fast”. At the end of the day, does it really matter how “fast” we go? For some people, yes, and for others, not so much. It took me awhile to realize that it’s okay to be “not as fast”. It’s okay to be “slow”. Going through the process, I learned that I needed to define what “fast” meant for me and to set my own personal goals.
Two years ago, I sought to go after that sub 2 hours for a half marathon. This meant that I needed to consistently pace at a 9:09 min per mile for 13.1 miles OR faster. I consistently trained to get ‘faster’ and stronger. Thankfully, after about 4 months of training speed and hill work, I was able to finally run a half marathon race at a sub 2! It was 1:59 to be exact, and boy, was it tough!!! But that finish line was pure bliss and felt AMAZING to finally achieve my goal. All of my hard work to get to that very tough sub 2 hour half marathon had finally paid off!!! That was November 2015…
The thing with running (and many other things in life, for that matter), is that if you don’t maintain and keep up with it, you WILL lose your speed. I’m currently at about a 9:50 min per mile pace comfortably. I used to be so bummed about my pace, and sad I lost my speed from 2015, but I learned that you get what you put into it. I’ve learned that my definition of “fast” will change, as my goals change. It is our downfall when we start comparing ourselves to others. If you’re not happy with your pace, then do something about it and put time and work in to become “faster”. If you’re happy with your pace, then appreciate everything about it and be grateful that you’re able to run still.
As an adult-onset runner, it is so intimidating to start running because growing up, it’s always been engrained in our heads to “run fast”, and to go “as fast as we can” running a mile, etc. etc… We MUST get over this mindset. We must set personal goals, big and small. And on those days when it is so tough to put one foot in front of the other, set goals as small as they are (ie. run from this light post to that stop sign), and set ourselves up for success. Not every run has to be perfect, or fast, or slow. But I do believe that every run should have purpose. Run happy. Just Run.. And get it done. We must define our “fast” and be happy that we’re still able to do all of this… Because one day, there will come a time when we won’t be able to anymore… So tell me, how “fast” is your “fast”??

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