Tuesday evening I broke 8 minutes for the first time in my ampdom. This was my track workout for 7 miles total:
1.5 mi at home on tmill warm-up
0.5 mi at track, then light stretches
4x1 mi w/ 0.25 mi rest laps
After my track warm-up, a man came up and introduced himself and we talked about amputee running some. He had seen me running in the area in the past (I stick out like the proverbial green sore thumb) and then had not noticed me in a while. Among many things we chatted about Oscar Pistorius' "advantage," how the bilateral amputee having no lower legs at all sets world records no able-bodied trackster can touch. No wait, he doesn't. This never ceases to amaze me, the power of negative/juvenile reporting always seems to triumph the good and the truth and sticks in minds like flypaper.
I am wearing my new carbon fiber socket that has already had one adjustment as it gave me 3 cuts and a blister. For this run I applied a layer of Aquaphor to see if it would make a difference. I have used this product for many years for other friction related problems, like where the hydration pack rubs my back and various body parts at times. I also have a new air value in this socket that so far works far better than any of the other ones my CP has tried. I believe it is made by Alps although I would need to confirm it. This valve really sucks the air out of my socket and the sleeve stays nice and taut on my leg, not giving sweat a chance to creep in from a pucker.
At the end of the first lap of my initial mile I see 1:53 on my watch...dang, it was not so long ago that I was running 400 intervals at this pace. A little fast, but the next 3 laps average at 2:00 so I run this mile in 7:53, the first time I have gone under 8 minutes since becoming an amputee.
My next 2 miles are a tad over 8 minutes and my last is much easier around 9 minute pace.
I have not done any mile time trials or any other all-out running for a couple of reasons. First, being a long time runner I know my approximate ability and am confident I do not need a time trial to confirm it. Secondly, I do not want to do a time trial that puts the thought in my head "this is a limit." As I get more fit my times will naturally drop and I will know what an honest pace is; I won't worry that I am slow or that I need to work even harder. In runner's jargon, I am listening to my body as best I can.
This run gave me a peek at my running future and I was happy for a couple of other reasons. I can finally see a runner in the distance that I am gaining on...the old able-bodied runner known as me. Also, during my third mile interval, I was expecting to struggle more, but I felt my body move to a new fitness level and the effort felt...easier. It was a minor shift but anytime you are running hard and it gets easier you notice it. I am sure I smiled too.
Thinking to myself...if I could cut 4 more minutes off my mile time now that would be something. No, that is just a fantasy, but it did make me wonder if an amputee will have a shot at this old barrier some time soon? Now that would be a cool thing to see and an amazing accomplishment. Hopefully the press won't drag up the myth of Oscar's advantage when it does.