I remember the first time I realized I had a little speed. It was my senior year of high school, after I’d finally started my growth spurt and lost most of the extra weight I’d carried as a kid who read more than he ran. During a pickup football game I intercepted a deep pass. As a few players chased me, I found another gear, outrunning everybody and scoring a touchdown. “Holy crap, Dilger, where did that come from?” someone said to me in the end zone. I remember the feeling of acceleration, the wind in my ears, then panting and smiling and thinking, yeah, let’s go, let’s do it again. To this day that’s what I love most about playing football: those bursts of all-out speed, of chest-burning and leg-pounding effort.
About two weeks ago I decided to push myself more in the pool, and I started swimming every third or fourth lap faster. Once again, I’ve found another gear, realizing I can swim 50 yard laps under a minute if I alternate strokes and slow down for recovery laps. My last two swims, my time has dropped to 45:31 and 44:18 from around 47:00. Like on the track, I love the feeling of speed, riding high on the water as I push myself.
As I continue to recover from my Achilles injury, I’ve added some speed-oriented runs as well, with 5 mile tempo runs today (41:07, 8:11/mi) and last week (42:18, 8:14/mi), and intervals too: last Sunday, 7 x 800 @ 3:43 or faster (7:20/mi). There’s quite a few races around here in the next month, and I hope to match that 7:20/mi pace for a 5K or two.