i’m the slowest person in the fast lane

last night i finally showed up for the tuesday night tempo/speed workout with the running group. i am so glad i did. it took me over half an hour to get past feeling too slow, new, and stupid for being there. i spent the first 15 minutes of the workout planning to duck out and just go for my own run, but by that point we were well into the speed intervals and someone running past me said ‘good job toni’ and i figured i was in the right place.


i got to the track at 7:30, everyone knew everyone, there were about 12 of us. there was one new guy, but his tempo pace was about a 6mm, so he made fast friends. i kept my mouth shut and cursed myself for wearing my marathon jacket. i felt too fat to have run a marathon (ok, i ran three last year, but a lot slower than these people).

we jogged over to the speedway (which is a long stretch in williamsburg without stoplights) and broke into pace groups. the pace groups were 6mm, 6:30’s and 7mm. Great. my tempo pace is 7:50 at best. i figured i would just do my best and try not to die.

the workout went like this:

10 minute temp0, 2 min recovery 1×6 mile @ 5k pace, with 1 min recovery between, 10 minute tempo.

so i’m running a 7:50 pace down the speedway, i am about a block behind the last of the runners. i’m feeling stupid. and slow. i’m feeling slow even though i’m running faster than i ever run. i’m feeling slow even though i’m consistently at a sub 8mm pace and maintaining it. i feel stupid. who am i kidding. why do i spend so much time running. and thinking about running. who cares if i run a 3:59 marathon. that’s nothing. i’m trying to run with people that run sub 3:25’s. WHAT AM I DOING. FIND A NEW HOBBY. YOU DONT BELONG HERE.

i see the guy in front of me jogging, it must be time for intervals, i jog for a minute, i still feel strong, minutes up, i’m sprinting at my 5k pace now, it’s just for a minute. hey this isn’t that bad. why don’t i ever do workouts like this? maybe i really can get faster? man this minute feels long. i wonder what my 5k time is now? oh sweet, it’s time to rest. and i jogged for a minute.

the nice thing about doing this workout with a group is that everyone finishes at more or less the same time, regardless of pace. it’s a timed workout. the faster people just cover more mileage.

by the time we had turned around and i was on my second tempo, i was feeling pretty happy with myself. i had not bailed on a workout that scared me. i hadn’t shy’d away from a team a really want to run with. if this year has taught me anything it’s that i truly am getting better and that my hard work is paying off. i am still not feeling quite ‘in’ with the fast tuesday crew, but i will keep showing up, and my times will improve.

for now i am absolutely the slowest person on the fast lane, but i am not that slow anymore and i am going to run a sub 4 hour marathon, and i’m going to be really really proud over it.



  1. Great job getting out of your comfort zone. There is that saying, to get faster, you have to run with people that are faster than you. Its uncomfortable but they pull you along and the environment makes you work harder. Like Helly said, I’ve seen huge improvements from running with groups. Stick it out, you will see the benefits

    Liked by 1 person

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