>> Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Sunday morning, I headed to the Bethel Campus and their indoor track. Charities Challenge was hosting another track meet. (I had done 2 of them 2 years ago, where I tried my hand at the mile each time.)
I got there early JUST as people were starting to show up:
I had talked over my "race plan" with Pharmie a few days before the race. I told her I was hoping for 1:13 / 400 so that even if some were longer (like 1:13.8 [or whatever]), I could still get a PR. My PR from 2 years ago is 4:54.6. The morning of the race, I jotted down what P.E.R.F.E.C.T. race splits would look like. Here they are:
First mile (12/08) in the upper left, 2 weeks later (01/09) in the upper right,
HOPEFUL splits from a perfect race at the bottom.
The track was filling up with familiar faces from the local running scene:
4 of these 5 guys went well under 8 seconds!
I lined up in the middle, just off the back shoulder of 2 of the "youngens" shooting for a fast time. I know my place. BEHIND the speedy kids. ;)
"Runners to your marks....." **BANG**
We all took off, and we were all single-file by 30 meters in the race. I was in 5th, just behind a guy around my age who was the coach for some of these youngens. I held it there for the first 2 laps, and tried to keep a good pace.
First 400: 1:13. "Good. Right on track." No complaints. Feeling OK, but ready for the hurt to start.
Second 400: 1:13. "NICE! Can I really do this?!?" This is where it really started to hurt. I told myself to go HARD for the third 400. Back in my track days (first 2 years of HS) when I ran the 800, it was always the third 200 that KILLED me, and the third 400 in the mile feels the same way. "Keep it strong, Steve!"
Also, I was debating passing the coach in front of me. I would sometimes swing wide around a corner, but I could never muster enough of a kick to pass. Around lap 5, I swung wide again, and he did too - we were both coming up QUICK on 3rd place. We went 3-wide, and coach and I passed the kid. We were now third and fourth. But place really didn't matter here; I was just running for time.
Third 400: 1:14. "Only gave up 1 second! I THINK I have this PR! SUCK IT UP AND GO!" Not to sound stupid, but this is where it comes down to guts. I have plenty of endurance training in me, so I knew I just needed to "hold on to the hurt." Near the start of the last lap, coach and I made a move on 2nd place. I heard my name over the PA system - it was Gary saying "...and there's Steve Stenzel moving up in his last lap!!....." Coach and I moved into 2nd and 3rd.
We hit the homestretch, and I was just going as hard as I could. I heard someone coming up behind me and breathing down my neck - I didn't care how I placed, so I COULD give up my position, but I used the guy behind me to push for better time. I hit the finish pooped, and still in 3rd.
Fourth 400: 1:11. "Shoot. Just a LITTLE too much left for that final kick - could have gone a bit harder in the 3rd 400."
My watch read 4:53.XX. I walked up to the timing table to get my official time knowing that I could be a little off. Josh (the timer) showed me a list of names:
1 mile: 4:53.01
3rd of 29 overall
2nd of 5 in the 19-34 "open" age group
Uhhh, look at that screen grab of the results above. That was one of the OLD GUYS chasing me down! He was just 26 hundredths of a second behind me! There were 3 of us (2nd-4th) within 0.71 seconds.
Josh has a great new timing system that has a camera set up across the finish line. It's "super official," and it allows him to drag a line up to the body of all of the finishers on his computer, and it will instantly record their exact times down to the hundredth of a second. Here's a photo from when I was lurking over his shoulder and watching people finish:
Here are a few more photos I took throughout the meet:
Another wave of the mile starting
Mile in progress (the girl to the left is about to break 6)
2 guys about to finish the 200 in just over 24 seconds
Lined up in the alleys to start the 800
Jeanne holding up lap numbers in the 800
Another heat of the 800
(with the "old guy" who nearly beat me in the mile to the far left)
Yet another 800 heat
Anyway, that's all for now. I'm THINKING about 1 more indoor meet this winter. The next Charities Challenge meet is Jan 2nd, but I might not be able to make it (unsure about that yet). There's also the Meet of the Miles (which is an MDRA race) on January 10th. A few friends have expressed interest in doing a race with me, so we'll see what happens in the next few weeks!
Back with some photos from Gary (from Charities Challenge) when I see them! Happy winter!