A few summers ago, one of my best friends from high school, David, decided to run a mile to see if he could still take down the 5-minute barrier. We were juniors in college and his best time from high school was a 4:57. David may have been bigger and stronger than his high school self, but he certainly wasn’t in as good of running shape. As he describes it now, the mile was “off of no training at all” – which most likely consisted of a couple 3 or 4 mile runs per week, a few ultimate frisbee games, and some sauna sessions up in the lifeguard chair of the neighborhood pool (S/o the Shire).
The night run life was a staple for me during my college summers so I suggested we do it around 10pm to avoid the 90 degree Indiana heat. We had a few friends show up– which resulted in a pacer or two, a couple of others who wanted to see someone suffer for less than five minutes, and a few that liked their chances of seeing David leave his dinner on the track. The problem on this night was that two Carmel Police offers on patrol noticed that there were people on the track, and came to kick us off. They had received a call about some kids making some loud noises over by the high school. At this point in the evening David and I had warmed up, he had laced up his dust-collecting spikes, and he was ready to go. Thinking on our feet, we told the officers that we knew nothing of the loud noises and exactly what we were there to do, which I assume was about the last thing they expected. After listening to our explanation, we were told to hang tight as they walked across the football field and out of earshot.
What happened during that conversation on the field remains a mystery. Perhaps they called dispatch and found out who was actually making the loud noises. Maybe our lack of hesitation telling our story and the randomness of it persuaded them to believe us. Who knows? What isn’t a mystery is what happened next.
To our surprise, the officers re-approached us and told us we could stay to run the time trial. We figured that we would thank them and they would be on their way. Instead, they stayed and timed the race because they were impressed with the prospect of a sub 5-minute mile.
It was time to deliver. The commands were said and the start button was pressed on the iPhone of the timer. I assumed the lead at the front and David filed right behind me. First three laps were perfect: 74, 75, 74. He may have felt the opposite on the inside, but he made it look easy. Digging for every inch in the last lap, he held strong. 4:57. Like clockwork. He tied his high school PR and the police officers got to see a sub 5 mile.
“Lol, had the best race of my life,” David recalls. “They (officers) were probably so confused when we actually did what we said we were going to do.” Assuming he was joking about it being the best race of his life David continued, “that night was seriously the most amazing running thing I have ever done…”
Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself in 2018. The person who holds you back the most is often yourself.