Yesterday my plan was to get off work, metro over to Washington Lee High School, and cheer for my teammates running the mile and 3K in the DC Road Runners Track Championships. My whole team was supposed to do at least the mile. We rarely race short distances, so Coach George saw this as a good opportunity for everyone to race for time and get a mid-summer gauge of fitness.
|Warming up with SpeedyKate and Cris.|
So as yesterday afternoon dragged along I started thinking (a dangerous pastime, I know) – maybe I should run the mile? I gchatted SpeedyKate and emailed Coach George, half-hoping they would convince me that racing a mile off of 4 months of absolutely no speed-work was a terrible idea.
BUT both gave me the green light, so at 7 pm I found myself lining up on a waterfall start, getting ready to race 1600 meters (4 laps = 1 mile) for the first time since college. I was uncharacteristically not nervous -- all I had to lose was my dignity, and Lord knows I have precious little of that. But that’s not to say that I didn’t care or wasn’t going to try -- as in every race I run, I always try. (I strongly believe that if you choose to put yourself on a start line there, are no excuses.)
|CAR girls running the mile.|
The original plan for the mile was to have an Open Women’s race for those running under 6:30-pace, and then two subsequent heats for under-7:00, and under-8:00. But as the starter looked at the sea of CAR red approaching the line he decided to split us into two heats – under-6:30 and under-6:00.
The last speed workout I did was waaaay back in March, right before I injured myself, so I had no idea what kind of time I would run. I put myself in the slower heat (under-6:30), since I was hoping to run around 6:00, but I didn’t really know.
The gun (or in this case the horn) sounded and off we went. I took off at what felt like track-pace to me (I never race with a watch), and panic-face looked at George about 100m in – is this ok??? It was!
Unfortunately I ran alone for the entire race, which makes running fast a lot harder. But I did run very evenly – I think I did about 1:23 for the first lap, around 2:50-ish for the half-mile, and then finished in 5:47. (Results are here - I am listed as "Hollie.")
(To Coach George’s chagrin, I did not wear a CAR uniform, nor did I wear flats or spikes…this is the downside of making 4 pm raceday decisions. BUT yes, those are CAR ribbons in my hair.)
Cheryl took awesome pictures (I count any running picture in which I do not look like a 400-lb man as a win), and they're all posted here.
I think that by now you’re all pretty aware of how much I love track and running and cheering. I spent the rest of the evening running a loooooong cool-down and cheering for my teammates in their respective races (GO CAR!!!).
The track was selling itself quite well – great weather, nice people, a fun low-key event…yep I think it’s time for me to return to team workouts.