Monday, April 14, 2014

’14 Carolina Masters Track & Field Invitational

While most of the Charlotte area runners were enjoying the beautiful hills in and around the South Park Mall area, I opted for a much flatter and shorter event.

Several weeks ago, I decided to jump in the ’14 Carolina Masters Track & Field Invitational at UNCC’s Irwin Belk Track.

Several races listed on their entry form interested me: 3000, 1500, and 800 meter runs. They were to run in this order.

The track meet didn’t kick off until 9 AM so with only a short drive to UNCC, there was no need to roll out of bed early.

I picked up my packet a little after 9 AM, changed shoes, and headed on to the track for a few warm up miles. Warm up is always a relative term. The sun was getting up into the sky and sweat quickly bubbled to the surface on my skin. Not to mention, I should have brought some sunscreen.

The 3000 was to be run at 10 AM. The 1500 was to be run at 11 AM while the 800 was to be run at 12:30 PM.

There were 5 of us in the 3000. One of the guys was Chad Newton from the Brevard area in western NC. Chad’s a fast masters runner and is doing a better job at not slowing down with age than I am. Chad and his buddy are out quickly. I settled into forth place by 200 meters. I hit the 400 mark and hear the split is 76 seconds. Fast, this is way too fast for me. I hit the second lap in 78. My legs are screaming at me while my arms are basically just numb. I am losing ground to guys in front because they are picking it up and I am slowing down. On lap 6, Chad’s buddy drops out.

Math while racing isn’t easy for me, but I could do enough math to know that Chad was going to catch me before I started my last lap. Sure enough, I was just starting my last lap as Chad finished.

I clicked off the last lap to finish in 10:25.

Reflecting back on this race, I felt like I was struggling from the start. My breathing was labored but nothing too bad. What really bothered me was that I couldn’t “will” my legs to run any faster. They simply fell into a pace and I stuck right there after the first two laps.

Because the 3000 was a little late getting started, I only had a short break before the 1500.

There were only two of us in the 1500.

My first lap was in 1:20, and I felt so much better. I felt much more under control. My laps seemed to click off quickly. My finish time was 5:04. This was little slower than my 1500 time from last year at the Jim Law Track Meet where I ran 4:55.

800 didn’t go off for another 80 plus minutes. Much of which, I spent lying on field grass in the hot sun. Just before the start, I tried doing some strides. My legs felt sluggish and stiff.

There were 5 of us in the 800. In the first 200 meters, these guys were gone. I focused on just hitting my splits. I finished with a couple of 79 second quarters and 2:39 for my efforts.

Overall, I was pleased with my efforts. Getting my legs to turn over faster isn’t easy and requires much work. Saturday showed me just how much work that I have in front of me.


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner

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