Really not too much to write about such a short day. Drove out there, jogged a warm-up, did some drills, and then lined up, seeding myself in the third row back. In retrospect, I guess I should have seeded myself right at the front - it's just that I tend to be a bit slow the first few steps off of the line, and I feel like I create a hazard if I start right in the front. But next year, I'll have to overcome that reluctance.
And then it started, and we were off. The race has several up hills and downhills - I had mentioned to people before the race that it worked well to go out a bit conservatively, and then really start kicking it after the peak of the hill at the halfway point, using the downhill on the back side to pick off those who had fried themselves by going out too fast.
Sometimes, I'm not the best at following my own race plan.
I think it was a combination of feeling good this morning and being a bit angry about the fact that I never got into gear in my race last week, but I went out hard. They called out "1:18" as I passed the quarter mile mark, which meant I actually ran 1:17. Whoops. I had just tied my 400m PR (granted, it was mostly downhill).
And yup, just like I warned others, my legs started to burn like heck about halfway up the hill. Ugh. I wanted to hurt in this race, but it probably wasn't optimal to be hurting this much this soon, with about 1000m still to go.
But oh well. Y'know what - I run 10 milers and half marathons and marathons, closing them hard. There was absolutely no way in hell I couldn't hold it together for another few minutes. Heck, I had less than a mile to go. That's nothing.
And so that's what I did. Not fun, but that's racing the mile. And I pulled it off mostly. I say mostly because I did stiffen up a bit at the end. I don't think it was lactic acid, but rather a return to a bad mental habit of staring at the finish line and thinking "give it everything you got." Which sounds nice in theory, but means in practice that I tense up my whole body, crank my head up and back, and try to increase my turnover, which shortens my stride immensely.
I know how to work around this - don't stare at the finish line, think cruise and relax, and just let myself glide in. I've almost mastered this. But not completely. In long races, it's easier to be patient at the end - the last 200-400m is such a short part of the race. But in such a short race, especially when I knew I was running a fast time, the urge to chase down the finish was too hard to resist. So that's my homework for next time. Good news is, I don't think this cost me more than a second, and also didn't cost me any placings. Just something to work on next time.
Announced splits were 1:18, 2:40 for the 800m, and then no 1200m split (take 1 second off of each of those. So I positive split the race, which ain't great. But, I'll just be a bit more patient and relaxed the next race, and see what that gets me. The fact that I ran such a fast first 400, and still managed to run a decent race without completely dying, tells me that I've got a much faster mile in me.
- Weather was awesome - lower 60s and low humidity.
- The drive took about 80 minutes (66 to 50 to 17). Not bad.
- Low HR conundrum continues. My HR maxed out at 172 for this race - lower than my average HR for a tempo run. My max HR for my mile PR is lower than my max HR for my marathon. Just weird. Not gonna worry about it - this is apparently just how I am. But it is a bit odd.