Why Would I Spend Money To Do A One Mile Race In The Cold?

Every May for the last three years I’ve paid $20 to enter a 1 mile sprint race in Minneapolis called the Medtronic 1 Mile put on by Twin Cities in Motion. Three out of the three years it’s been windy and cold. And yet I keep coming back each year. “But why” people ask me, “would you spend money to run one ridiculous mile?” I can understand their skepticism. There’s rush hour traffic to battle, anxiety about finding a parking spot, and standing out in the cold waiting for the race to begin. It’s at night, so I’m tired and  my legs aren’t exactly fresh.

But here’s the thing: each year I set a new goal for myself (sometimes it’s a PR and sometimes it’s to finish strong), and it’s a really fun way of pushing a different kind of exercise. Normally I don’t train for sprints. If I’m training for a run it’s usually a 5k or 10k, which is about pacing and tempo. With a 5k or longer race, you take the first mile to get into a rhythm and adjust your thoughts from “why did I do this” to “I’ve got this”. With a mile, it all has to gel very quickly and you can’t spend any time in that negative mental space. This year I failed to train much for the sprint and I spent the entire time cursing my jagged breath and my bad form. I also slowed down just before the finish. Why would I do that?! Next time I will make sure to go strong till the very end.

So will I be back next year? You betcha. It pushes me to use a completely different set of skills that I rarely put into action. Plus, it’s super fun to watch the professional runners crush a mile in 4:03. My phone died as I was recording the women, but here’s what it looks like when you’ve just run a mile in 4:03 (p.s. I look the same way after I run my mile. Professional athletes, they’re just like us!)

My friend Deb and I have been doing the race together the last two years, and while the first year she was super skeptical about it, as soon as she completed her mile she was hooked. She crushed her PR last night and got to ring the bell! Deb was diagnosed with breast cancer during her very first mammogram at age 40 and has been through so much over the past couple of years. She has used running as a tool to deal with all the challenges a cancer diagnoses comes with, and I really couldn’t be prouder of her grit and determination. Deb tells me “The one mile is a ton of fun. And while I’ll never be fast, it’s inspired me to be faster and has made me push myself a little harder in longer runs as well.”  Well, Deb, YOU inspire ME!

Deb ringing the PR bell
Deb ringing the PR Bell

This month, I am calling for you to come up with a challenge that gets you out of your comfort zone. Is it speaking in public? Or trying a new sport? Maybe it’s something as simple as trying to cook a new meal (here’s an easy one if you are new to cooking but want to nail it on the first try). Just pick one thing and give it a go. I want to hear from you: What did you choose? And how did it turn out for you?

Maybe Deb and I will see you next year in the Twin Cities for the 1 Mile!

MEL AND DEB MEDRONIC 1 MILE VERSION 2

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My Summer Fitness Plan

Run, jog, slog

Run, jog, slog

Last night, after dinner, I admitted that I had put off my training run all day.  I had gotten caught up in fun summer activities with my 10 year old and her friend. So, instead of putting on my pajamas and sitting on the couch with my husband for an episode of Orange Is The New Black, I had to put on my running clothes and get out there.  The positives: it was a nice, cool night.  There’s a beautiful lake nearby. I would be inspired by everyone else who would inevitably also be out there running.  The negatives: RUNNING.   I’m not a natural runner.  Even at my most fit, as a high school athlete, I hated running.  I do it now because it keeps me challenged. I love that even after months of not running, I can revisit it anytime I want. It’s free.  It’s empowering. I’m never alone out there.

Three years ago I heard about a new race series called Esprit De She.  It’s a series just for women and it’s open to ALL women, runners, joggers, sloggers and walkers alike.  I say that I run but really it’s a mix between jogging and slogging.  It’s not pretty and it’s not fast. Anyway, I became a “founding finisher” of the two races in my area that summer, and I haven’t missed one since.  In fact, this year they made me an Ambassador because of my enthusiasm for this race.  I would be lying if I didn’t admit that a good portion of my enthusiasm comes from the free wine and dinner provided after each race.

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You get two free glasses of wine and a keepsake glass after each race!

Also there is so much swag it’s insane.  I love all the samples. I love the cute tank I get every year.  I’m serious, but also I really love that it’s such an empowering event for women.  I see ladies of all ages, shapes, sizes and ability out there, and they are all proud of their accomplishments.  They are smiling and hugging and high-fiving each other.  It gives me all the feelings.

 I’ve made brand new running friends at the Esprit de She events, and I’ve brought along lots of good pals too.

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Good friends sweat together.
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One of these ladies is a good friend and one is a brand new one! Yay for friends.

I love that I’m showing my 10 year old daughter that I care about staying healthy, engaged in the community, and that friendships are important.

esprit de she 7

Esprit de She events are held all over the country.  And they really are so much fun.  Click on the link if you want to find one near you.  If you want a discount of 10% you can enter my code which is EDS074.  If you haven’t run or it’s been a long time and you need some structure and a training schedule, I really like Hal Higdon’s plans. They are easy to follow and will help you stay motivated.

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If you are in the Twin Cities area, please let me know that you are registered and we will meet up and start together! And have a glass of wine after! There is a Maple Grove race on September 17! 

Whatever you choose to do, I guess I would just like to say GET OUT THERE.  STAY ACTIVE. FIND SOMETHING YOU LOVE.  MAKE TIME FOR IT. As someone once said to me, “You don’t have to exercise, you get to exercise”.  And they were right.