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).
- 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