Tuesday night the word on the street was that some new guys were showing up for the Open Mile heat. Sure enough, John Compton made an appearance and provided a great rabbit for us to chase.
Well at least for a few people to chase, personally, I was battling my own demons because my legs didn't feel like they were in any mode to run. My legs consider anything beyond a slow job too much work.
Stan and I headed out for an easy warm up and met Paul, Alex, among others. They looked like a motley crew so we felt right at home hanging out in the back of the group.
Tom was keeping things moving along so the heats were going off right on schedule or in some cases really fast. I will explain further in just a bit.
Chuck and I did a few laps together and talked about pace. Chuck smoked me a few weeks ago so I was hoping that I was up to the task of chasing him down that night.
Tom called us to the line and we headed off. The open heat for those running 5:30 and under was smaller tonight and probably was an advantage for me. There were less people for me to maneuver around.
John and Paul sped away from the gun and I found myself going down the backstretch of the 1st lap just behind Chuck. It was now or never so I pushed hard for the rest of the lap. Passing Chuck, there were still several runners just in front of me that I thought I could close the gap.
The 2nd and 3rd laps passed, I was not getting any faster but I wasn't slowing down much.
Coming off the last turn, I didn't know who was behind and honestly, I didn't want to look. I kept my head pointed forward and made sure the legs and arms were churning for the finish.
5:12:41 for the mile isn't all that fast, but for me I was happy. The time was 3 second faster for me which is a big drop considering that less than 10 days ago, I ran a marathon.
Chuck made a valiant effort but he could not get those all valuable 3 seconds back.
With the open mile in the bag, I turned around and headed back to the starting line. Tom was quickly moving everyone into position for the 2nd heat. Last week, we had maybe 3 and 5 minutes between heats. So with less than a minute recovery, Tom blew the whistle to start the 2nd mile heat. My breathing hadn't returned to normal.
5:47 for the 2nd mile was my finish time. Maybe I could have run a little faster, but last night it was just about getting a hard effort out of my body.
Normally, this would have ended my night but this night I felt like I needed to get a 2 mile effort. There was a daily total that I was shooting to hit and the 2 mile event fit right into it.
Mainly, I just cruised around while Paul, Alex, and Jack (13 years old) made quick work of the 2 mile event.
After the event, some of us went up to the guys from Run for Your Life to get the scoop on next week.
Next week is to be the Championship Week. Loosely, this means if you have 1 of the top 8 times, you will have qualified to run. Largely, we had questions like how does one qualify and will there be any open events.
As of the conversations Tuesday night and this may change between our conversations and next week, but there will be "No"; I repeat "No" open events.
Qualifying meant that you had to have one of the top 8 times in each of the event from the 200 through the 5k.
Now, I understand the concept of Championship week and branding of it so that it is set apart.
What I am struggling with is the qualifying and the alternate selection process. While my times will not automatically qualify me for any of the events, I could get in as an alternate. After all, let's be realistic this is a small meet with small group of runners. There is a lot of overlap between the events. Runners may select to only run one or two events. For example, Paul qualified for mile, the 2 mile, and the 5k. Paul is in great running shape and could easily do all 3 events, but one only has so many all out efforts in one evening. If he gives an all out effort for the mile and the 2 miles, chances are that his 5k time will suffer.
The question that I am pondering is do I wait around all day and see if I get a chance to run in one of these events or do I just go for a morning run. Then, I am left with no pressure, waiting, and an opportunity to watch some great races. Right now, I am leaning toward just running in the morning. But who really knows; I may change my mind.
Maybe next year, I can get on the committee that organizes this event. There are some ideas floating around that I really like: having an open and masters mile heats for both men and women and in addition to having championship races, there would be one open matching event. For example, have the an open mile, master's mile, and the championship mile.
Just some random thoughts from the Cool Down Runner