Thursday, July 4, 2013

Summer Track Series - Championship week.

Five weeks of summer track over six weeks just wrapped up on Tuesday night. We had runners ranging from the youngest just learning about running and track events to grizzly old veterans that come out and tested their abilities. They want to see if they still have it. Together this group of dedicated indivduals left behind a layer of sweat while they proved their metal. Everyone showed the heart that it takes to be a runner. New relationships were forged through the bonds of competition. Many walked away after setting PB and PR. Most runners walked away knowing that they would return next year more determined than ever.   

What a marvelous Summer Track Series it was. Watching Aaron knock out a fast time on the first week. Chris ran multiple weeks and always showed plenty of speed. Billy and John renewed their classic fight to the finish in the mile from a year ago. Matt ran several weeks and inched ever close to his elusive sub 5 minute barrier. “Fam”’s 1:53 800 and then a week or so later running a 4:08 mile.

The coolest race event was perhaps the store 4 x 400 relay challenge between Inside Out Sports, RFYL, TrySports, and Charlotte Running Company. With one lap to go, TrySports had the lead with Charlotte Running Company in second and RFYL in third. Going down the back stretch, TrySports was losing ground but ever so slightly. Coming off the last turn TrySports and Charlotte Running Company were neck and neck. Then, what seem like “out of nowhere” the RFYL runner hits the “NOS” and powers by Jason from TrySports and “Fam” from Charlotte Running Company. This was an amazing race and all should be congratulated on their efforts. Incidentally, RFYL’s victory allowed them to take home the jar of marbles. After all, doesn’t the winner usually take home “all of the marbles”?

I personally enjoyed this summer track season more than any in recent memory. My epic battles with Stan were awesome. It wasn’t about me winning or losing – although, I did most of the losing. It was about having someone there to make me run harder and pushing someone else to run harder than they believed possible. I cannot leave out a couple of other guys that jumped in with me: Clayton and Jeff. That’s what makes it special.

How did my final track night go? Well, the evening went well. However, I definitely didn’t have the evening that I wanted.

The clouds and rain throughout the day kept the temperature down but the humidity was actually worse. I am not sure exactly how to describe it other than to say – the air felt thick and heavy.  Each step felt like I had to work extra hard just to push through it.

I went into the mile race wanting to break 5:12. After the first lap, I was 74. On the second lap, I went through in 2:33/2:34. My third lap, I hit 3:52. As I passed by the clock, I thought that I can do this. I can run under 1:20 for the last quarter. 300 meter passed and the clock was ticking agonizingly close to my target while I watched. I ran another 5:12.

I guess because of the weather, the number of runners was down last night. This is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is limited number of people on the track. The curse is the limited number of people to chase and with fewer people there is less time between events. Meaning each event was happening so much faster.

I went almost immediately from the mile to the 400. I went hard from the start. I guess without Stan to battle, I lose my drive. I finished in 72 seconds.

I turned right around and ran the 800 next. I went through the first lap in 74, but then slowed battle on the second lap to finish in 2:34. Of all the events, this one was the most disappointing. I don’t know why, but I felt I was really struggling.

I skipped the 200. There was no sense getting crushed here.

They ran a combination 3200 and 5k last night. I opted for the 3200. As much as I like running 5000 on the track, I was not having a great night so why make it worse.

I really got off to a slow start. My first half mile was nearly 6 minutes. I felt tight and totally uncoordinated. Then, things slowed started to shift. My legs felt a little better, and I slowly moved up in to second place.

I finished in 11:38. This wasn’t my best time for the entire series but it was a solid effort and a good way to finish off my summer track series for ’13.

I picked up two medals for my efforts. I was third in the 800 and second in the 3200.

My best splits were 5:12 for the mile, 4:55 for the 1500, 71 seconds for the 400, 2:30 for the 800, 35 seconds for the 200, 16 seconds for the 100, 11:33 for the 3200, and 17:53 for the 5k.  

I couldn’t wrap thing us without giving Tim and Tom, and the entire RFYL crew as big “Thank You”. We all have to remember that it is because of their efforts, we have opportunities like Summer Track to experience and enjoy.

Here’s the link to a video that I put together of the Store 4x400 Relay. I hope you enjoy it.

Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner


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