Thursday, June 26, 2014

Summer Track #5 – Championship Week

Runners seem to be confused by the last week of Summer Track being advertised as Championship week. The general consensus among most runners is that this week is just for the fastest men and women in each event to run.

This is only partially true. Yes, there is a heat in each event for the fastest 10 qualifiers from the previous 4 weeks to run. There are also one or more open heats in each event for runners, however. Now, there are two exceptions to this rule. The 3200 and 5k events are single heats. Nonqualifiers can still run in them.

Another point worth clarifying, if there are not enough qualifying runners in attendance for the Championship heat, they allow nonqualifiers to run in the Championship heat. This is exactly what happened for the Championship Mile heat last night. The eligible runners didn’t show so several of us were allowed into the heat. Note, we were told beforehand that we were not eligible for Championship title if one of us won the heat.

Now my point in sharing this is not that I want to change the system. As far as I am concerned, the system works just fine as is. I merely want to share how the system works in hopes that others will be educated by the information. With this information hopefully more people will be interested in running during the final week.

Summer Track is very much different from road racing. I get ready. I run.  Then, I rest and get ready for the next event. I run one event and beat someone. Then I run another event and they beat me. In between we chat and just have fun talking about the heats that we just ran. The atmosphere is just so different, and one that I found to be very enjoyable. I truly wish more runners would consider trying it.

Alright, I am finished with my public service announcement about Summer Track for this year. Time has come for me to talk about my experiences last night.

Well, let’s face it. Last night, I wasn’t exactly at my best. I wish I had some really good excuses to share which would explain it but I don’t.

My heat for the 100 was with the ‘Fast’ boys so they were finished by the time that I was at 75 meters. I was still happy with my 17.02. .

They ran the open heat of the mile and then the Championship Mile. Since there weren’t enough qualifiers in attendance for the Championship mile heat, they let some of us nonqualifiers run in this heat. To be honest, I was grateful. I always want to run against the fastest.

I got out quickly during the first 50 meters and settled in behind Cory. Through the first quarter mile I was a stride behind him. Through 600 meters I was still maintaining the gap. Then, we went off into the 3 and 4 turns and my legs just simply refused to respond. Cory and the other guys opened an every widening gap between us. My split for 800 was about 2:33. I tried to “will” my legs to go faster. I tried picking up my knees. Nothing seemed to be working. Chuck goes by me on the last lap. He is clearly a great night.

I finish with a 5:14.74. This is still a solid mile time for me.

Next up is the 400 meters. Of the 8 runners in my heat only 2 of us are older than 15 years.  Surprisingly here, I run 72.81 which was my fastest time of the 5 weeks.

My 800 time was 2:36. After the first lap my legs just went into finish the heat mode.

My 200 time was 37.76 which was pretty much on par with rest of my 200 times. There is one puzzling aspect to my 200 times. My 100 times are in the 17s so running two 100s back to back shouldn’t my time be closer to a 34. For some reason, it is not.

Championship week is the only week where they run both the 3200 and 5000 on the same night. Going into the evening, I had intended to run the 5000, but when given the 3200 option, I choose it and then planned a mile cool down to finish off the evening.

With most of the fast guys opting either for the mile or the 5000, I found myself leading the 3200 after the first lap. I quickly fell into a nice rhythm and clicked off two 5:39 miles. Thinking about it now, it seems so funny to me. During my mile race my legs just didn’t have it. Drop the pace 20 seconds per mile and my legs didn’t balk at all. I did enjoy winning the 3200 and getting a Championship medal for my efforts.

In hindsight, I have had a fantastic time running summer track this year. There were weeks where I enjoyed some great “highs” and other weeks where there was some “lows”. Best of all, I made a how bunch of new experiences and new friends while catching up with old friends.

I couldn’t finish up this post without giving Tom a huge “thanks” for running the meet each week. He keeps everyone organized and the heats moving right along. Then, there is Tim and his entire crew from Run for Your Life. Who without their willingness to organize this event we might not have a summer track program so “thank you” guys. We do appreciate all of the hard work that you put in to make our summer track program happen.


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner

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