One week ago today, I returned to Des Moines from my overseas adventure and realized that, oh crap, I was running a mile race in seven days and a half marathon in seven weeks.
And it was with some trepidation that I set out on my first run since the March 30 5K last Wednesday — how much fitness had I lost, and how much of a waste of registration would today's Grand Blue Mile be?
We can look at the result of that run and the subsequent mile test (7:41) in two ways: Either I didn't lose as much fitness as I thought, hooray!; or I didn't have any real fitness to lose, boo.
I've clocked that pace during successful 5Ks, and I finished a test mile in 7:33 before rolling out to Italy, though, so I think it's fair and accurate to interpret 7:41 as not having lost much fitness.
So tonight, I know I can go sub-8:00; I expect to do around 7:45, give or take a few seconds; and I hope I can do around 7:30.
If I break 7:30 this year without training specifically at all, well, first round of beer at the post-race gathering is on me.
And maybe then this fall at the Brew Mile or next spring at the Grand Blue Mile, after making time for race-specific training, I can shatter the automatic personal record I set tonight.