Thursday, July 26, 2012

Race report: DC Road Runners Track Championships mile, July 25, 2012

I ran the mile at the DC Road Runners "Track Championships" last night (despite the name, this was an all-comers meet), finishing in a time of 5:39 by my watch - I don't show on the results, but there's an unidentified woman at 5:40, so perhaps that was me.

I was excited to do this race for a few reasons.  One, I've historically not been a night runner, so it gave me a chance to rehearse eating and resting for an evening race (which I've had trouble with in the past).  Second of all, after setting a PR of 5:31 for the mile in early May, I've been consistently running 5:39-5:40 on the track - something I attributed to always being by myself on track races (too slow for the fast heat, too fast for the slow heat).  This race would feature a lot of women faster than myself, which would hopefully drag me to better times.

So showed up, warmed up, and ran.  And my splits were 1:19 for the first 409 meters, 2:41 for 809, 4:02 for 1209 meters, and then 5:39-5:40 (1:37-1:38 for the last lap, after three laps at about 1:20 each).  That pretty much tells the story.

Rather than start out a bit under the pace and continuously build, I started out hard, trying to keep a few of my faster teammates in striking distance.  This pulled me to a super fast first lap (good) but by the end of that lap everything was starting to burn.  Not how I like to race.  But, maybe this was how you ran a PR mile.  Only one way to find out.   So I kept on.

By 800m I could NOT comprehend another two laps.  But that was what I had in front of me.  So I continued, focusing on trying to keep my form as good and relaxed as possible.  Don't think about how far you have yet to go, just think about form - stay relaxed, good posture, quick turnover.  And it worked for a bit.  I came around for the last lap, still holding a good pace, and then my quads locked up and I dragged myself home shuffling with a combination of willpower and arm strength.  Which is not the optimal way to race.

Oh well.  While I'm disappointed at how the race turned out, I also can't regret giving it a shot.  And that's exactly what these races are for - trying out different things while also learning how to run at speed.  And the fact that I held 5:20 pace for 1200m tells me that I have a much faster mile in me than what I'm currently running, something that my coach emphasized to me afterwards (and I agree with him).

So, I just need to give it another shot, with the intent of running similarly, but with a slightly slower start and a stronger finish (which go together).

Other notes:
  • I believe I got my eating down well for this -- light but normal breakfast and lunch, and then a "second breakfast" about 3 hours before race time.  Worked well - I was energized but no stomach issues.
  • There was some major allergens in the air at the track -- everyone ended up with sore throat, runny nose, and sneezing.  Weird.
  • New asthma drugs continue to work awesome.  Though I was breathing very hard at the end, it was in no way the struggle that my breathing has been previously.  Yay


  1. You definitely do! That is totally how I have been racing lately too :) Going out hard and fast because I know I can do better than I have been doing, it's very difficult to balance goals and capability with optimal running :)

  2. Nice mile time!!! not a PR but a solid time, I am with your coach that you can run sub 5:25 with a better last lap. Do you and your team(capital area runners) do workouts(tempo and track workouts) all year round or you periodize your training, first endless months of easy miles and then in the last few weeks incorporate workouts?


    1. We workout year round, though the nature of the weeks changes. We don't do just plain base building.

    2. Thanks!! Keep on the great work!!

  3. It's really cool how you're trying everything these days, such a well-rounded racer you've become. I raced a mile once and man, that is a different beast altogether! So you have my respect, totally. I'm sure the next one will be more in line with your expectations, having this one to work off of.

  4. Great that you're figuring things out. I'm having some trouble figuring out the pacing for the mile too; such a different beast from distance. Before a recent injury, I was really looking forward to last night's race and my club's 2-mile track race to further work on pacing. Nice job Cris.

    Caren Jew

  5. I continue to be jealous of your awesome drugs! Drugs! I want drugs!

    And, you know this, but sometimes there's only one way to find out if something is a good idea. :)

    1. Exactly - if you don't ever try new stuff or take risks, you don't ever find out what you're capable of.

  6. When you have a few miles on your schedule, you have to try to shake it up here and there to see if something would work...

    Great to see you and see you race - I thought you looked very good that last lap, you looked like you were pained, as did EVERYONE did that last lap, but you looked in control.

  7. I think you looked awesome out there! And such great news about the asthma meds. Sounds like you are putting all the pieces together for a strong mile PR next time!