A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 2; 13th Edition
292.25 miles raced in 2007
Race: Potomac Valley Track Club Outdoor Track & Field Meet
Place: McLean, VA
Miles from home: 8
Course Difficulty: Track
Course Enjoyability: Track
Weather: 90 degrees and slightly humid
Finishers' Medal: N/A
Since high school, I have run 5 separate one mile races (that I can recall): the Harrisburg mile in 2001 and 2002, (5:16 and 5:06, respectively) the Carlisle Mile in 2002 (5:18), the Edinboro Kilted Mile in 2003 (5:19) and the Pennsylvania Ave Mile in 2004 (5:21).
In my continuing goal to set a new personal best at every distance this year (yes, this is OBVIOUSLY not the best way to go about setting PRs. Proper specific training for a certain distance is usually needed to set a new best time or max out your potential at that distance. That is not what I am doing this year but I will still make claims, based on prior race experience, about what I FEEL I can do IF I proper train for a race, WHICH I may do in the near future. Clear?) I saw that a local high school hosts a track meet throughout the summer open to all-comers. So, I decided that since mile races are a little difficult to come by this would be my shot at beating either my high school PR of 4:50 or my “adult” record of 5:06.
Have I done speedwork? No. Am I rested and recovered from June? Most assuredly not. Is this the ideal way to tackle a PR attempt at a mile? No. One thousand times no. But I wanted to see if I could. (I also thought about running the 800 and the 3000 as well but as the day wore on and the time between heats lengthened, I saw that I might get to the 3000 by 2:30 PM [having been there sine 9 AM] and to the 800 maybe an hour after that and decided against it.)
All of this lead me to McLean at 9 AM already cursing the 84 degree weather, where I paid my $8 (I love these inexpensive races!!) and looked over the schedule for the day. I saw my friend Liz Jones and milled around for a bit discussing what we both planned on racing. Soon both Anne and Christine showed up to lend their cheering lungs and not too much longer after that I was getting ready to take on the mile.
I lined up in the fastest designated heat as one of the middle range runners. I could tell there were some sub-5 minute guys present, so I figured they would be the chaps to run with today. The gun went off and away we went.
Almost immediately two high-schoolish age girls pushed in from my right to try and get to the inside lanes, with a complete disregard for any track etiquette. “Hey, make sure you have room next time,” I said. “That’s what your elbows are for,” was her reply. Damn. I wondered two things. What sort of “lady” says that and how much would this little waif enjoyed it if I had used my elbows?
The first lap was basically about 15 of us jockeying for position with me getting boxed in a little bit. I tried to relax a bit but with those around me running so tightly knit it was hard to get into a groove. I hit the clock exactly where I wanted to be at 75 seconds.
The pack finally split up a little bit and I was able to hit my speed as I wanted to when the race started. Around the 600 meter mark, I felt a little cottonmouth. Ruh-roh Rorge! Nevertheless, I held on and hit a perfect 75 second lap.
The initial group of faster guys began to lengthen their lead on me and the rest of the group I was in. I was hoping for another perfect lap which would allow me to push it hard to the finish. However, I could tell I was slowing some as I ran the straightaway towards the clock. Sure enough, at 3:50 I had ran an 80 second 3rd lap.
Pretty sure I was not going to be able to go sub-5, I focused on holding the form together and running a good mile as a springboard to future miles. Another 80 second lap put me at 5:10.
While not content I would have been happy with a 5:09 today. But I will take the 5:10 and move forward. So with laps of 75, 75, 80, and 80 (as the race was a mile and not a 1600 the first lap was longer and therefore was actually faster), I would say I ran a pretty good race. Especially since this was the first time I had run a timed mile on a track in 13 years. I guess I didn’t put up but you can bet I won’t shut up.
Even though I passed on running the 3000 and 800 meter given the wait time, I decided to give the 400 a shot. (I also thought about the 100 meter but since I have never started off of blocks before I negated that idea).
Drawing lane 4 (*EXCUSE ALERT* This was a middle lane I would have not preferred.) I readied myself for the gun. *Bang* it went and a-sprinting I was a-going (or a slow distance runner facsimile thereof). I passed the runners in lane 5 and 6 with no problem and was running alone until we hit the 200 meter mark. I heard someone say “28 seconds!” which I assumed was the split time. On my left, the runners in Lanes 2 and 3 passed me on the inside. I did not care if they both beat me but rather was hoping to hold on for a sub-60 second time.
Hitting the straightaway, my legs turned to rubber. I had nothing left. Damn, this 400 stuff is hard! I hit the line in 63 seconds and exhaled. Whew.
So neither of my bigger goals were met but I felt this laid great groundwork for an assault on both distances again in two weeks at the next track meet. I will also be running a difficult 8k later that same day in Rockville, so it should make for an interesting day!
Full results, for the curious and those seeking verification, can be found HERE.