Still playing catch up on the Blog, but better late than never as they say, so here goes. I competed in the USATF Indoor Master Championship on Sunday January 29th. The event was held at the Providence Career and Technical Academy (PCTA Center) here in Providence. I have run at this facility in this event a couple of times in the pass and I have also watched many of DJ's races here over the last 4 years. I am not a big track guy or even a short distance guy, so this was more or less just for fun. There are not many track meets for us old guys here in RI so when it is in your own back yard you kinda have to run it! My intentions were to use the meet as a work out and not really taper for it. Two weeks before the meet, I had done a hard long run in Scituate, RI and my legs were still feeling a little flat. The 18.2 mile loop we do around the reservoir is very hilly and the quads take a beating if you run it hard, which is what we did. It is was a great run to get ready for Amherst, but not so great for a track meet. I had not had any opportunities to do any real speed work either, so I really had no idea how I would perform. I was entered in the 3000m and in the Mile. The 3000m was my main focus and the mile was more or less just to get in another hard effort on the day since I was there anyway. I was hoping to break 10 minutes in the 3000m. This is something that had eluded me the last 2 times I have run this meet on this track. I know I am in better shape than I was last year, but that did not help at BU two weeks earlier when I ran the same time as last year (4:59). I had some tactical mistakes at BU this year, so I blamed the lack of progress on that and was hoping that I could see some improvement in the 3000m this year at this event.
I towed the line with my training partner Bob Jackman who had basically the same time goal as I did. There were the usual suspects in the race from the various running clubs in the area, so I knew there would be plenty of people to work off of. The gun went off and I wanted to just start clicking off 40 sec laps. I filed in behind a pack of guys that I knew would attempt break 10. The first 2 or 3 laps were all 41's for me and I did not like that at all, so I moved in front of a few people and started trying to bring the pace down a little to get back on track. After a few laps of 39's I was feeling better about the race. I am not one to run from behind and like even splits in most races. Eventually Bob went in front of me and was running with Chris Magil and Mike Maceedo. The were running 3 wide so I sat behind them for a few more laps. Then Chris picked it up a bit more and Mike went with him, while Bob held pace. I moved up and passed Bob but Chris and Mike's pace was a little too rich for my blood. I let them go a bit and figured Bob would come back on me soon enough, but I did not care. I had managed to keep clicking off 38's and 39's, so I had made up the lost time from earlier and actually had a couple of seconds in the bank now. So with 2 laps to go I knew I just had to hang tough and I would have my sub 10 min 3000m. I was able to negative split those last 2 laps and dropped a few more seconds of my pace. I finished in 9:54 and was 1st 50 year old, so all in all I was real happy with the time and the racing effort.
As soon as that race was over I got some fluids in me and ate a Pop Tart, which is my favorite pre and post race food. There may be a blog post solely about Pop Tarts in the future!! Then I jogged about a mile and was ready for the mile. I did not really care about my time in this race all that much. I just wanted a good effort and the work out, but I figured I might as well try and run 5:00 pace and see where it gets me. Bob was not in the mile with me, but I knew a few guys in the race. The gun went off and I quickly found myself in 2nd place leading the chase pack. After a couple of laps, I could tell that the rest of the pack behind me was content to pace off of me and let me set the tone. I have seen this happen to DJ a bunch of times. You do all the work and then they all try to out kick you in the last lap. It is a sound strategy, but it kind of irritated me a bit and fueled my desire to hold them off. Nothing personal, I just did not want to do all the work and then get out kicked. Anyway, I felt surprisingly good the entire race. I was running approx 5:05 pace and with 2 lap to go I was still feeling [pretty good. I held pace for the next lap and then I put in a little surge at the start of the last lap. I oddly did not have that dead leg feeling that we all know so with 100m to go I kicked as hard as I could. I could feel myself pulling away from the pack, which does not happen too often, but did not dare to look back. Once I hit the straight away, I was still accelerating and new I would maintain my place as the "First Looser" (aka 2nd Place:-) in the race. I finished with a surprisingly quick time for me of 5:03 mile and I again was 1st over 50.
After the race a bunch of us typically head over to Ogie"s Trailer Park, which is just around the corner from the PTCA Facility, for a beer and something to eat. I usually joke around for the entire week before this meet, that I am only doing it so I can go to Ogie's for the post race festitivies. The tater tots are to die for!!
Now it is on to more comfortable race distances for me. The Amherst 10 Miler is next for me and is the first race of the USATF-NE Grand Prix. Details will follow for this race much quicker now that I am up to date on the blog.