running race 4:34  1.0 mi (4:34 / mi)
Well, that’s interesting.
This may have been the most satisfying race I have ever run. A perfect storm of smart racing, a fast time, and a whole lot of stress to release.
Let's start with the stress and then we will get to the race. This week had been quite a long and hectic week, not only was it midterms but I was also in charge of organizing this tiny tiny little 400-person meet. The organization and communication (plus school) were a lot but the real culprit of my stress was 400 people relying solely on me for a good event. If something went wrong it was at the end of the day my fault and I really didn't want anyone to have a bad meet. So all week I had been in a bit of a craze getting everything organized and ready.
Then it was Sunday (today) and the meet was here. I was up by 6 am (which for college me is quite early!) from stress and puttering around the track by 7:30ish. The day wasn't that bad but a lot of mini-fires to put out and a lot of volunteers to manage. And it's a long day, like I said I was there at 7:30 am and didn't leave the track till around 7:30 pm. As the day goes on, however, even as I grow more and more tired, my stress begins to lessen, everything is going well and all the racers seem happy. Which at the end of the day is all you can ask for.
The mile was our last nonrelay event so as it was approaching I was beginning to feel pretty good, the meet seemed handled and we were going to finish early. So I decided, probably 20 minutes before the mile started, that I would run the mile. After stealing one of our scratches spots I began warming up. And I felt awful. The stress, little sleep, and work were all weighing on me. But I remember thinking during the warm-up that it is impossible to gauge a race by the warm-up. Is this pain real or imagined? should I feel good or bad? Wait this is too bad. Or is this the right bad?
I finished my warm up and as I waited for my race I was almost falling asleep watching the women run. I know a super good sign before a race that its a challenge to keep my eyes open. During my strides, however, I was feeling pretty fluid and thought well maybe this won't suck.
I was seeded in the second heat of the mile, right at 4:40. Like I said this was a stolen entry so it wasn't really my time but 4:40 felt about right based on what I ran last week. In the heat I was ranked 3rd but the two guys ahead of me were both also 4:40. So as I stood on the line I decided, you know, why not I am gonna try to win this race. I can probably just sneak under 4:40 for a victory.
The gun goes off and we shoot out on to the track. And the pace is, well kind of slow. One kid gets a good start and gains about 10 meters on the rest of us in the first turn but the rest of the pack feels very controlled and even a tad slow. Realizing this I decided I was going to just stick with the top couple guys and then attempt to out-kick them at the end. I probably won't catch the first guy way ahead but the rest I should be able to hang on to.
A lap goes by, then another. I move from 4th to 3rd before going back to fourth as an MIT kid makes a move. I debated going with him but I have no idea how I am feeling and decided to stay back a little longer. If I can make it to 400 meters left I can finish strong but I don't want to kill my self getting there. So I hang back in 4th.
Lap 3 goes by then through the 800 in around 2:17 (to be honest I don't remember the time at all which is honestly pretty strange for). I had fallen another spot to 5th at some point but with 800 left I started speeding up. By 600 I had caught the 4th guy and by 400 I had caught the 3rd. Then I really start kicking. Somewhere in the last two laps, I passed the initial leader, apparently, he had started much to quickly and couldn't hold it. Now its just MIT and me. And with each step, I can see the distance closing. There was music blaring from our sound system, the meet had gone well, and a smile was on my face. With the last of my manic stress energy, I speed up again and on the last corner, I pass Mr MIT to take home the win for the heat (and 6th over all).
And as I finished it felt like finishing it all. A whole compilation of everything I had worked for during the past month or so. Or something soppy like that :)
One other takeaway from the race. As much as I hyped up the race, I still think I could have run faster. Like I said, the start was slow. I negative split by at least 2 seconds through the 800. And I never really felt tired or pushed during the race. Don't get me wrong I'm not sure I'll be able to walk tomorrow. But I don't think that was all I had. It was a near-perfect race to secure the heat win, but not necessarily to run the fastest time. Also conditions for myself were far from perfect. It makes me wonder if I could approach my 4:28 PR from high school. Which just seems INSANE by how little I am training. But who knows.
OK, that's all! Apologies for the wall of text on my log and the many many typos I assume are in here but felt like sharing so here it is!