Saturday, July 7, 2007

PVTC Outdoor Track & Field Meet

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.

1st lap:
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.

2nd lap:
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.

3rd 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.

Final 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.


Yellow Scuba said...

It has been more years than I am willing to admit since I have been to a track meet, so this was fun to watch. The age range was awesome. I'm sure with a little speedwork and perhaps temps more conducive to racing, you'll hit your goals soon. I know you'll keep trying. Good job!

Oh 2 Run said...

Wow - quite a goal to work on so many distances. Good luck with your challenge this year!

dave-o said...

For some strange reason, I feel like certain comments in this report were directed to me.

I'm flattered Dane.

Nice mile. I look forward to seeing what you can do with the second go-round.

Dane said...

Flattered by your comments given the fact you may have run a 4:30 mile or something at some point.

Texas Transplant said...

The 400 is my kind of race. Hell, for exactly one lap. No more, no less. It's pretty much perfect.