Saturday, May 14, 2011

TC 1 Mile Race Report

It'd been around 9 years since I'd raced anything resembling a mile--a 1500 in May, 2002 while running track for a small college in Nebraska. It was at the conference championship meet in the slower of two heats. I ran well, hitting 4:20, a PR at the time. Little did I know it'd be a PR for probably the next 10 years. I was hurt the next season and didn't run anything longer than the 800. The next year I retired from college track and field.

So this year I decided to race another mile. I was coming off 2 marathons, racing Boston and pacing Brainerd, and pacing a half marathon--all within a month. I also had done about 1/2 a speed workout. Still, I was hoping to break 5 minutes, thinking maybe my endurance would take care of my total lack of anything resembling speed work.

After finding parking in downtown Minneapolis and somehow making it to the start, Laura wished me luck, took my sweats, and tried to convince me to wear a long sleeve. It was pretty cool and a little windy but I was sure I'd be faster in a singlet. It wasn't raining but there was a bit of a mist coming down. Perfect weather for a marathon but not so much for a mile.

I jogged to the start and saw Sam Ryder, the MN Pacers ringleader. He wished me luck before I headed off to see some MN Running Wild folks and chatted with them before doing some strides.

There were several waves of the mile before the start of the Open Wave. I chatted with Scott, a fellow MN Running Wild member as well as Ben, Candice, Tom, and Adam. I lined up near the front of the pack and waited about 15 minutes for the race to get underway.

The start was pretty congested and it was hard to get in a good rhythm once things got going. There was only one layer in front of me but it was apparent that they were going to go just a little slower than I wanted to. After getting around them I got a little too excited and started moving too fast. I believe I came across the quarter mile mark at about 68-70 seconds depending on the difference between gun time and chip time.

I tried to relax at this point but I was still moving too fast at the halfway point and crossed at around 2:22. After that I don't really remember my 3/4 split, but I think it was around 3:47-3:50. At that point I was trying to hang on. I could feel my form falling apart and my lungs getting ready to explode.

As I rounded the curve the finishing clock came into view. It was going to be close--4:22--I tried to sprint--4:40--tried to pick it up a little more--4:50--maybe, I stop my Garmin and it tells me 5:01. My official time was 5:02. I watched a video of the finish and it was some consolation that I beat the guy wearing a shirt that said, "Sub-5:00 or Bust."

I was right at the puke threshold when another MN Running Wild member, Don, came up and congratulated me. I thanked him and then informed him that I was trying to decide if I was going to puke or not. I had a terrible taste in my mouth and it was watering profusely. He pardoned my rudeness as I walked away to spit down a storm drain. Fortunately I managed to keep everything down besides unholy amounts of phlegm and saliva. I then went and congratulated a couple of other runners, although that might have happened before I saw Don. The order of events is a little hazy at this point.

I found Laura in the bleachers by the finish to watch the elite women and elite men run their miles much faster than I ran mine. My lungs were grocery bags filled with fire by then and my breathing had a curious wheezing sound. It seemed that whatever mucus I didn't manage to spit down the storm drain was gurgling in my trachea.

The finish of the women's mile was pretty sweet, but if you're a running fan I won't spoil it for you if you haven't seen the results. Same with the men's, though I will say that I gave David Torrence a high five. Both the men's and women's mile can be watched here: USA One Mile Road Championships.

This morning I paced a 30k up in White Bear Lake. I'll put up a pace report for that one approximately whenever I feel like it. Tomorrow I'm hoping to hit Lebanon Hills for some trail miles. It was a good week of running with 66+ miles. Next week I'll enjoy my first weekend in about a month without racing or pacing some event.

Here I am coming to the finish:

Must... break... five... minutes... dang.

David Torrence pumping up the crowd:

Sara Hall finishing:

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