Similar to previous weeks, my warm up had me making circles around the track. I occasionally had a few other runners drop in to run alongside for a few laps.
All evening I had been wondering if I had anything in my legs. After all, these events would be part of my third hard day of running in the row. Sunday, I competed in the Powerade Games Track Meet. On Monday evening, I ran 5k time trial for the runners study. Here, I was again attempting to push my body to go just as hard.
Realistically, my only goal for the evening was to do the mile hard and endure the rest of the events. I thought, no scratch that, I hoped that my legs could carry me to a good mile. More than anything my fingers were crossed that it would be close to last week’s 5:10 mile.
Of course, I had to start the evening off with the 100 meter run. My 17:53 was no real surprise and was pretty much my "par" for this event.
Next up was the mile. The mile is really the only event of the entire evening where I feel that “pit” in my stomach bubbling. To me the mile is really the defining event for runners because it seems to be the meeting grounds between the sprinters and the distance guys.
Tom fires the starter’s pistol. Almost immediately Chuck and Cory appear in front of me going into the first turn. Heading down the back stretch I force myself to stick with them. We round the turn for the first lap and they start to stretch things out on me. I keep pushing but the gap continues to open. Cory is hanging tough with those guys, and I just cannot match their effort.
The third lap goes down and my legs are screaming at me to slow down but probably not as much as my lungs are screaming at me to stop.
Cory has dropped back from his group. Mentally, I take note of the fact that Cory is dropping back from his group, and I am closing on him. This seems to help me shift my focus from the strain of running to closing the distance between us.
We run out of race before I can close the final few meters, but I finish with a time of 5:07.30. I am elated with my effort. Again, the last few years the fastest mile that I have been able to run was 5:11. Now, in the past two weeks, I have run faster twice. I am certainly happy about it.
The excitement dissipates quickly. My card needs to be turned in before I start my second mile. We head off on the second mile before my breathing has even returned to normal. Thinking back to my first week, I ran 5:19 and 5:36 for the miles. The result of running the first mile so hard is that the second mile is much slower. My time is 5:50.
I try to stay loose for the 400 but we have a number of heats in the 400. My legs start to stiffen up and I can only manage a 76.51.
We do 2 heats of the 800 which I run in 2:34.02 and 2:46.58. I am happy with these times. The fatigue in my legs continues to grow but both times were very much in line with my times from the previous weeks.
I have only one more event before the 5k on the track which is the 200 meter run. Pretty much like the 100 meters, I am just out there doing the 200. I freely admit that I am not fast enough to do this event but I still enjoy the effort. My 200 time was in 38.76.
When I finished, I start the long walk around the track for the start of the 5k. Twelve and half laps are what it takes to complete a 5k on a 400 meter track.
Like most people my sole goal was to complete the 5k so I had a qualifying time for Championship week.
We head off and I settle in to running 89 to 90 second quarters. Why 89 to 90 second quarters? Well, my legs seem to be agreeable to this pace. For the first couple of laps Matt and I are running together. Then, I began to ease away from him. I catch a few guys over the next couple miles. Surprisingly, I feel pretty good until the final two laps. Then, my legs really wanted to give up and glide in. To keep on pace, I force myself to focus even harder. I finish with a time of 18:49.4. No, it isn’t a blazing fast time but it is a time that I am happy with.
To wrap up three days of good fast running, I could not be more pleased with my efforts. Three weeks ago I could only hope that I would run close to my 5:11 mile from last year. Now that I have met this goal, everything else is just gravy. I am so looking forward to next week’s mile race. I have nothing to lose from here on out.
Sharing one thought at time,
The Cool Down Runner