Sunday, October 11, 2009

Something Special about the Mile

Ah, the four-minute mile: 4 laps in 4 minutes: simple, neat, balanced, clean. A sweep of the track in sync with a sweep of the watch, the 4-minute mile is an athletic standard know the world over. Even in today's metric age the challenge of a 4-minute mile continues to inspire young runners and excite sports fans everywhere. Indeed, a mile run in less than 4 minutes is a true test of an athlete's physical and mental capabilities. Unlike the burst of speed needed to cover the dashes, or the methodical sense of pacing required to endure the marathon, success as a miler enlists a sublime combination of speed and stamina, tactics and courage, and patience and spontaneity. The mile's four laps, four-beat rhythm also ideally suits the human attention span; it's a seductive four-act drama with a clear beginning, middle and end.

Oh, I ran another attempt yesterday. Unfortunately, under cool, windy conditions, and running by myself, I only managed 5:27, compared to my last attempt at 5:20.7.