2009 Charlie McMullen Mile

Last night I ran my first 1 mile race. Running a one mile race was a great way to remind me that I don’t like running short races! They are more difficult than long races because you are uncomfortable for the entire race. In my last half marathon I was pushing close to the V threshold (Vomit Threshold) for the last 5k but for the first 10 miles I was pretty comfortable and really enjoying myself. At this one mile race I was uncomfortable .001 seconds after the gun fired.

This race was the culmination of the GRTC Spring Track Clinic. The clinic is an 8 week coached program held at a track. Every session featured a talk (about nutrition, how to run, paces to run at, etc, etc), warmups, form drills, stretching, and a structured workout on the track. Until this clinic I never did any speedwork on a track. I’ve done tempo runs, which, for me, consist of running faster than normal for a slightly shorter distance than normal. Intervals were brand new to me.

The clinic taught me the “correct” paces to train at and, more importantly, it taught me how to run fast. I learned what I was capable of and what it felt like. Therefore I knew what I could handle for shorter races where speed is what matters. During the Corporate Challenge I was able to run faster and more comfortably than ever before. It was a short race (3.5 miles) but in previous years I had more difficulty maintaining speed. Last night at the McMullen Mile once again I was able to run fast and do it with some confidence.

Initially my heat was for every non-masters male running slower than 4:45 but faster than 8 minutes per mile. This was a huge heat so they split it up into three more heats. Even after splitting this up there were 16 people in my heat! I was number 12 and had to line up very far from lane 1.

The gun fired and we were off. Instantly I felt terrible. Rather oddly my arms felt like Jello. I felt somewhat “woozy” and I had a couple of coughing fits (I’m getting over a cold right now). The Jello arms I realized later were from helping out before the race carrying in cases of bottled water and sports drink. It still surprises me that I noticed arm fatigue in a race, especially such a short one. I’m not making excuses. I still did very well and I couldn’t have done much better even if I didn’t have Jello arms and a minor cold.

For nearly the entire race I was shoulder to shoulder with another runner. At one point, in the final lap (or possibly the third lap), I was in lane 1 and still shoulder to shoulder with the other runner. We came to a runner going slower than us. Unfortunately this boxed me in. I wanted to pass but could not. My only option was to slow down for a few paces and go around them, and so I did.

As we rounded the corner approaching the finish line I poured on all that I had. I didn’t want “attached to my shoulder guy” to beat me with a final kick. My kick was a good one and I even passed a runner in front of me. Shoulder guy finished a bit behind me. After we finished he introduced himself and congratulated me on a great finishing kick. My time was 5:27.

My splits were:
409.344m 1:19
400m 1:23
400m 1:26
400m 1:19
* Note that this was actually a 1 mile race. It was not 1600 meters. We ran the additional 9.34 meters.

This race jives with all of my recent training and race results. This is good. This means that by running by feel I’m doing the right things.

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