Run a Mile (Three Times)

Last night Dave had us run three one-mile runs, the first one as a warm-up and the last two for time. My first timed mile came in at 6:40 and my second one at 7:20.
We did this back in June, I think, although I can’t find it in the blog. My mile time then was just under 7:30 for both runs; I remember that because Dave said it looked like I was a solid seven-and-a-half-minute miler, not really fast but not slow either. Last night, I was happy to have cut 50 seconds off of that for my first run, but it was no less miserable and I had no sense of whether I was going any faster.
I have a hard time running anything longer than a sprint. I’ve been trying to focus on some of the Pose Method running tips that Dave’s been giving us: lean forward slightly to work with gravity; emphasize the front of the foot instead of crashing the heel into the ground way out in front of the body; pick up the foot again the instant it hits the ground. This does help me run more smoothly and apparently faster, and it possibly doesn’t wear out my upper hamstrings quite as much.
I also focus on breathing by purposely sucking my diaphragm down instead of lifting my chest and shoulders. People say this can help stave off side cramps, which I have a big problem with when I’m tired. Last night, in addition to trying to stick with that breathing technique, I consciously speeded up my breathing right from the start to double the rate I naturally wanted to use (especially while we were just jogging). I wanted to see if faster breathing–in two steps, out two steps, instead of four–would help keep the cramps away a bit longer. It worked. I didn’t have any cramping until the final run, which was my slowest by 40 seconds.
Last Friday, the 14th, we ran several relay sprints around a loop. We split into two teams and raced each other. I love to sprint. In the final relay, Sean and I took off at the same time and I finished first, so I was a little puffed up about that. It was a lot of fun. Strangely, while we were out there, a covered wagon went by pulled by two big-footed brown horses! It was full of passengers. We though they must have been giving rides around the park as part of some event at the community center. We saw the horses and wagon three times that night. Their clip-clopping shoes sounded great on the pavement. I’m glad I don’t have to wear metal running shoes, though!