A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 2; 21st Edition
386.82 miles raced in 2007
Race: One Hour Track Run
Place: Alexandria, VA
Miles from home: 10
Course Difficulty: 1
Course Enjoyability: 5 out of 10
Weather: Mid 90s; humid
Finishers' Medal: N/A
I was discussing races with the winner of the Downhill Mile from a few weeks ago, Charlie Mercer, when he mentioned the One Hour Track Race to be held at a local high school. The simple premise was to run as far as you can on a track in one hour. This sort of thing is right up my alley. A great many runners find the track boring and repetitive but it fits right into my psyche of falling into a pace and cranking out the miles.
So, even though a look at the forecast called for yet another high 90s temperature race (even at its starting time of 7 PM), I was all kinds of ready. Then I got sick on Monday night. Damn it. I actually took off work on Wednesday in the hopes of fighting back the head cold I had but it only kept it at a moderate level. Upon waking Thursday morning, I felt well enough to trudge to work but figured the race would be off. Besides, there was a call for thunderstorms in the area anyway. It would be best not to run.
However, the storms passed through the area earlier in the day and as the afternoon wore on I felt progressively better. I thought perhaps I could at least go down and muscle out a few miles. My original plan was to join the ten mile club by averaging a 6 minute mile for the hour but I knew that was out the window. Even if I did decide to race, 10 miles was not a possibility for the day.
I got home from work and knew how I felt after my shower would determine my next move. (Yep, I shower before runs. I heart showers.) Hopping out of the steamy bathtub I knew I could at least give it a shot. I laced up my shoes, grabbed a few Gatorades and headed on down to the St. Stephens and St. Agnes school track
(Their school’s mascot? Wait for it. “The Saints”).
Getting down to the track, I saw some familiar faces including two rivals of mine. Well, one friendly rival (Karsten) and one guy who can routinely kick my ass hopping (Rob). Karsten has better PRs in just about every distance but we have a head-to-head record of probably just about even. For no rhyme or reason one of us will beat the other on any given day (case in point, Karsten beat me by about a minute or so in the Leesburg 20k on Sunday). Rob, however, is a 2:40 is marathoner and a heck of a runner. So, without knowing anyone else there I could tell I was probably finishing third at best!
We chatted for a bit and I got to meet a few new runners, which I am always pleased to do. I also saw Tim Ramsey who I met at the Downhill Mile. We exchanged pleasantries and I mentioned how there is a good chance I will be running the Downhill Mile again August 28th.
Tentative Date for the Downhill Mile is Tuesday August 28th at 7 PM. Local runner and Race Director Jay Wind and I will set to measuring the course to assure it is a full mile. At best estimate, it may have been ~ 50 yards short the last time it was run, so times, while not as skewed as some were suggesting, may have been off by about 8 seconds or so. Ergo, we will remedy this and I really hope that runners will come out to crush their mile PR!
*RACE ALERT OVER*.
Also present was my friend Anne who had just deplaned from Atlanta and was going to be my personal handing-me-my-water-bottler. Little did she know she would be roped into handing out water to all the runners, while she stood there in her work clothes. But she got a DC road runner shoe bag out of it, so win-win.
To the race. I always forget that 4 times around a track is not a true mile. You need 9.3 more meters to get the whole distance. We were reminded of this when Bob Platt, the RD of the race, said in order to get 10 full miles, we need to complete 40 laps and then an additional 93 yards. I figured I would worry about that if it came down to the last mile or so. With those instructions under our belt, away we went.
1st 1600 meters: 5:55 (Lap splits of: 1:30; 1:30; 1:28; 1:27)
Hey, maybe this isn’t impossible anyway. Rob and I ran shoulder for shoulder and it was feeling good.
2nd 1600 meters: 6:12 (Lap splits of: 1:31; 1:33; 1:33; 1:35)
Not too bad. I let Rob go and decided to just do my best to hold on to 6:10 miles.
3rd 1600 meters: 6:30 (Lap splits of: 1:35; 1:38; 1:38; 1:39)
There that goes. Let Karsten go too. Looks like 3rd at bst for me today.
4th 1600 meters: 6:52 (Lap splits of: 1:40; 1:37; 1:40; 1:55)
On my third lap around, I actually stopped and walked for about 10 seconds. Had serious thoughts of calling it a day. But then again, I figured I paid $5 (well, $20 since I joined the club that night) I might as well tough it out.
5th 1600 meters: 7:03 (Lap splits of: 1:45; 1:46; 1:45; 1:47)
Crap. First 7 minute “mile” of the night. But wait. Is Karsten slowing down?
6th 1600 meters: 6:56 (Lap splits of: 1:47; 1:42; 1:43; 1:44)
He is. If I just make up about 5 seconds per lap I can take him soon.
7th 1600 meters: 7:07 (Lap splits of: 1:43; 1:40; 1:44; 2:00)
I passed Karsten and build a sizable lead. I then took about 15 seconds of walking and drinking on my last lap of this mile to build up my energy for the last 13 minutes or so of running.
8th 1600 meters: 6:50 (Lap splits of: 1:47; 1:42; 1:41; 1:40)
I’m in a zone now. Can I make 4 more laps in the remaining time? My math skills are failing me. I think I can!
9th 1600 meters: 6:34 (Lap splits of: 1:41; 1:42; 1:36; 1:35)
I was wrong. When the gun for one hour sounded I was 14 seconds from finishing my 36th lap. But I dropped my popsicle stick (which is how they measured how many meters you ran) and finished my lap anyway just to see what it would take me. It took me 1:00:14 seconds to run 36 laps. But my real total meters was 14, 373. I took second overall to Rob’s great 15,655.
Here are the rest of the runners. CLICK!
Honestly, it was a poor showing for me on a typical day (I averaged a 6:46 mile for ~9 miles when just Sunday I averaged 6:26 for 12.4 miles on a much harder course). But given my sickness I was quite pleased I even showed up and I got a nice little workout in.
No races planned until the Erie Marathon September 9th. Don’t hold me to that.