My running roots go way back to high school, so some of my fondest memories were made on the track. Then for decades I hardly ever saw the track, just the occasional visit to do some intervals. But last year I joined a speedy group that does track workouts every week, and I rekindled the romance.
One of my goals for years has been
to do a one-mile race on the track, and see if I can get under six
minutes. Five years ago I was happy to do one under 7:00. In the last
few years I have done mile repeats in the 6:30-6:50 range. With the
increased track work lately, I figured it was just a matter of doing
enough speed work and then finding a race. Well, I haven't done a whole
lot of speed work this year, but when a race came along, I jumped on the
opportunity. I figured I could at least see where I was at.
our group is a pair of twins that are my age, the Silva brothers. They
have been racing since high school and are founding members of this
group that has been around for 30+ years. They have a tradition of
racing each other on their birthday for 1 mile. It has evolved into "The
Silva Brothers Mile" - a race open to all, and a fixture on the
calendar. All the top runners in the area show up (many near my age
group). There were about 50 people in the race - all running at the same
Coach Ed sent us through some warmup laps,
including 8 100s and 4 200s of pickups. I skipped some of these and
didn't push it too hard. No need to wear myself out! Total was 2.5 miles
of warmup. Then we all headed to the line and got ready to race. The
starting line was backed up 9 meters to make it a true 1 mile instead of
1600 meters. I got behind all the speedy types and found some of my
training partners that I knew were near my pace.
was sub-6, and my plan was to hit 90 seconds per lap and keep it there,
and see what I had left at the end. I never checked my watch, just went
by the coach reading splits each lap.
And we're off! It
was a little crowded around the first curve, but I amazingly found a
slot and moved into lane 1. Surprisingly everyone settled into place
very quickly and I didn't have to waste any energy passing or jostling. I
settled in behind a guy that I often train with - we are about the same
speed, and I know he's a good pacer. It felt just right. Quick, but not
too quick. I relaxed and stayed in position for the whole lap. I had no
idea of my pace, so I was hoping there would not be a surprise after
lap 1 (either too fast or too slow). I heard him counting out 1:22, 1:23
while I was still up the track. Sounded good. I hit lap 1 in about
Lap two I stayed behind my pacer who was
running strong. We were starting to pass some people who had gone out
too fast. I felt good and concentrated on maintaining form. Long way to
go still. It always feels good to be catching people - keeps the
momentum up. Came through lap 2 at 3:01. Perfect.
Lap 3 is
always the toughest in a mile. I remember them from high school as a
big suffer-fest, and it was always my slowest lap. But not today! I
still felt good, and when my pacer seemed to slow a little, I moved on
by. This gave me a little more momentum. I figured he did enough work
for today. I would lead for a while and he could chase me. My breathing
got heavier and I was working hard, but the legs were OK. No lactic acid
yet! Found a lady runner ahead of me to chase. Came through in 4:29.
OK, sub 6 was in the bag now. I knew I could run a
faster last lap. Now I was just having fun and racing! Just like in
workouts, I noticeably picked it up for the last lap and started chasing
people down. With about 200 meters left I was ready to pass a girl, but
we were catching the first lapped runners and it got a little crowded. I
weaved my way through and charged by her into the last curve at full
speed. Now I just had to sprint to the finish.
comes my pacer guy, blowing by me easily with 80 meters to go! Well,
good for him! I passed one more person on the way in and cruised through
the finish in 5:52. Sub-6 smashed! Garmin showed my last .05 miles at
Phew! I was wiped out, but once I caught my
breath I felt great! I never "really" suffered out there, so I know I
can go faster. No rigor mortis, no dry heaving, no wanting to die and
quit. So obviously I didn't go hard enough! But I nailed my plan and my
goal, so I was ecstatic! I cooled down with a few laps and chatted with
some people. Then watched as many people did a beer mile.
beer mile wasn't that exciting to watch actually. I don't really see
the point. But the winner ran 6:02, including beer drinking time, so
that was impressive. Nobody puked.
Anyway, I went home in a
great mood, which has lingered now into the next day. I love the track!
I'm tempted to go to the all-comers meet tonight at our other
neighborhood track, and do it again! But I guess I'll save it. I do have
a 10K in 2 days.