Thursday, June 10, 2010

Race Day

I am training for a 10K in June and a marathon in November. The 10K is in two days. From there I’ll launch into marathon training.

Stats for the week : Baseline 5K: 32:13. Baseline 10K: 1:11:00 (roughly). Best time since I last wrote: 30:24 (5K); 1:00:34 (10K). Best overall time: 26:57 (5K, June 7, 2009); 1:00:34 (10K, May 26, 2010). Miles within the last week: 6.2. Total miles for 2010: 104.4. Total miles since 2008: 401.4

RUNNING MP3 OF THE WEEK (That song that for whatever reason has a cadence that exactly matches the speed I was running this week.)
"Tryouts" From the original motion picture soundtrack for "Rudy". Best musical theme for a sports movie ever.

The last time I ran in an organized race, I was in the eighth grade.

My whole running career (At that point all of two seasons spent running the 1,600 and the 3,200 because in the head of a middle-schooler, aside from the first and last lap of the race, no one can really tell what place you're in, or how far behind the guy in last place really is. After 10 years of covering high school sports, I realize now that one can definitely tell. Definitely.) came to a close in the conference championships in, of all things, a relay race.

With middle school track being what it was, any number of things (i.e., Little League baseball, spring music concerts, softball practice and family emergencies like the two-for-one deal at Round Table Pizza or the season finale of Seinfeld) took precedence over any meet, regardless of what kind of championship it was.

As a result, both the crowd of spectators and field of participants tended to rapidly evaporate as the meet went on. What I mean is, generally after the 100 meter dash everyone was gone.

Now this caused problems for coaches, as all track meets end with the running of the 4x400 meter relay. That means you need four live bodies able to make one lap around the track each in order to field a team.

On this particular day, back in May of 1994, as the 4x400 started to approach, our coach discovered a member of his relay squad had left to, I don't really know, go patch things up with his girlfriend? Try those tacos Shaq and Hakeem Olajuwon kept fighting about?

So our coach looked at what he had left. There was me, and there was Nicole Holt, who was one of the better female distance runners in the conference.

I have to believe, as he watched me still wheezing from my last-place finish in the 3,200 (I passed some kid on the home stretch, but I think he may have just been warming up for the long jump on the infield and accidentally drifted out into the lane), that he gave some honest thought toward tacking a girl on to the boys' team and hoping no one filed a protest.

Nonetheless, he gave me a shot.

They set me up as the third leg, with the thinking being that the first two guys could hopefully build a big enough lead that the anchor leg would have enough room to make up for any damage I caused.

As we staged for the event, we learned that only three other schools had managed to assemble squads, so worst-case scenario, we were going to get fourth.

The race went as well as could be expected.

Our opening leg built a lead of about 50 meters and the second added another 10 or so.

One school dropped the baton and was disqualified on the first exchange, narrowing the field to three.

I grabbed the baton with a 60-meter lead and thought, 'just don't fall down.'

And, in that, I succeeded.

In every other facet of the race, though, not so much.

Before I could round the first turn, both other schools passed me. It was at that point I realized someone had replaced my running shoes with lead boots.

For a period of time, everything went into slow-er motion.

Two kids sitting in the bleachers on the back stretch shouted "Hey kid, you could just give up now!"

I gave it some serious thought.

Our anchor leg made it close at the end, but we took third.

Our school, I was later told, had not lost that particular relay in two or three years.

My teammates were encouraging though saying things like:
"If you didn't run, we wouldn't have even been able to run in the race"

And,"Dude, my mom said it looked like you were dead."

So that brings us to this weekend.

I'll attempt to run the Carson Valley Days 10K and I don't expect spectacular results.

I compared my times to the results from last year and if every person from last year's event shows up in the exact same shape they were in last year, I'll finish last out of all the males of any age.

That's OK, though.

The goal is to finish and to hopefully do so in under an hour.

At this time last year, I never would have even considered running six miles in one shot, so in that sense, I'm ahead of the game.

After this, it's on to marathon training. At this point, it still seems like a joke (and really, still kind of is). But, assuming my left leg doesn't fall off, it's not an impossibility just yet.

We'll just have to see.

So for anyone who's going to be at the parade on Saturday, the 10K is supposed to finish before 9 a.m. just in front of Lampe Park.

I expect to finish anywhere between 8:45 and 8:55, so if you see me, try not to point and laugh!

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