Last time I posted, I said that I was going to do a mile race this Saturday. Sometimes I make plans like that and don’t do them, but this time I did! It really could have gone either way though, because to get there I had to wake up at 7:30AM (hard!), get a ride downtown from my mom, get my bike from work, and bike for a half hour over to Franklin high school. I almost didn’t wake up, then I decided I might stay home and get a ride downtown later. I ended up going downtown, thinking that I might just take a nap at work. That didn’t look too comfortable though, so I raced my bike over to Franklin and made it there by 8:55, just in time for the 9AM run.
It turned out that 9AM was the time for the community mile, and the competitive mile wouldn’t be until 9:40AM. The guy at the sign-up table (who I later realized I had carpooled with to the Mt. Hood Scramble) told me I could run the community mile too, but instead I decided to stand motionless near the bleachers for a half hour. This was actually hard to do, because there were free donuts, but I was worried that they might make me feel sick so I remained stationary, marveling at Franklin’s square track (it has four straight-aways). Ten minutes before the race I warmed up by jogging to the Porta-Potty and back.
Stepping up to the starting line, I was kind of nervous about what was about to happen. At the sign-up table I had been told that the competitive mile was for people who planned on running under 6 minutes for the mile. That was what I wanted to run, so I decided to go for it. I had no idea how fast the others would actually be running though, which is difficult when I’ve completely lost the ability to gauge how fast I’m going. This was an appropriate concern, as the race started and I found myself right behind the group of men, and finished the first lap in 80 seconds (I should really be doing the first lap in about 90).
After the first lap and a half-ish, the one guy I had been running ahead of passed me, and then my least favorite thing to happen during a race happened: I found myself running more or less alone. It’s so much harder to push yourself when you have nobody close enough in front of you to pull you up, or anyone right behind you forcing you to stay ahead.
Finally, around the third lap, a girl who was probably 14 or 15 passed me and sat right in front of me for a while (not sitting like on the ground, sitting like staying consistently in that position), and so I just tried to keep up with her until the last 300 meters when I passed her and kicked into the finish.
The ending was very unceremonious. The whole thing was very unceremonious. Which is kind of nice sometimes. Going into this event, I had no idea what to expect – I had just seen it in a Fit Right NW newsletter and decided it would be good to do, since I’m not sure many of my friends would want to go do a timed mile with me (correct me if I’m wrong). It was small, but a pretty cool event. They donated a bunch of running gear for kids of some sort, there were donuts, and some pretty good runners there
Afterward I talked to the guy who organized the event, and he told me about indoor track races at University of Portland every Wednesday. The guy who won the Be the Change Mile (4:29!) goes to them, and said he’d give me a ride there this week. It’s been seven years since I’ve raced in a track meet, so I’m really excited.
I’ll break the suspense now – I know you’re sitting on the edge of your seats, waiting to hear what my mile time was. I ended my fourth lap with a time of 6:06, five seconds faster than last month, and just 16 seconds away from my goal time! I even believe I could have run it faster, with just a few adjustments:
- Not having to poop during the race.
- Having more people there to push me to run faster.
- Wearing racing flats instead of the Nike Free – I love those shoes for training, but they are not for racing.
I’ll try to continue doing monthly trials of my mile to see how I progress. While trying to improve my mile time, I also need to be training for that half marathon I signed up for – today marks the beginning of 12 weeks until the race, which is the amount of time it takes to complete Hal Higdon’s half marathon training plan. Next week I’ll be starting a 60 day challenge at Spinach, the kettlebell gym I started going to, so I imagine that by May I’ll be closer to having the Ultimate Hard Body than every before.
Miles Run in 2011: 33ish? I don’t have my training log with me. I’ll check later.