The Track Club puts on a nice event. It's been getting bigger every year and this year it was the USATF Wisconsin road mile championship so I knew some fast guys would be coming out.
As a funny little accident the UW varsity distance guys were watching the race and were camped out next to me. I overheard one of them was Ford, Anthony Ford. Ford is from England and he first went to college in Montana and shared a room with Elliot Bassett who ran high school XC and track with me. So I introduced myself and we talked for a minute - nice guy.
Light warm up, light strech.
I decided to run in my xc spikes (w/o the spikes of course). They had a waffel bottom and were lighter than my trainers. It turns out they were pretty uncomfortable w/o the spikes and I could feel the empty spike holes in my foot. But they were light and it was just a mile.
After a few strides and drills I lined up. This year the no longer have a seperate "Elite" race so there were some fast guys in my race. Matt Groose won the race for a 3rd time and he's a 4:00.x mile (or there abouts) so the winning time was nothing to scoff at.
1.75 laps around the state capitol - 1609m.
I gave the elites some room to get out and then settled into a pace. Not too crowded, didn't really have to fight for any space. I was hoping to try and ride Ben Webb's back again but he was moving off the line and within 200m I let him go.
I came through the quarter about 69 sec. No mans land.
The half was 2:21 but this was at the start of a ~220m uphill section (this is the side you only run once) - so things started to slow down a bit after this.
With 2 sides of the square left to go I was back in control after the hill and started to push myself to the edge.
I came through a painful 3rd quarter in... actually I forgot that split.
Coming off the last corned a guy passed me. I stayed a stride off him. The whole way down that last stretch we kept at it finally hitting it with all we had.
He beat me by a stride.
I gave an exhausting effort though so I can't complain.
I haven't been ablt to get my hands on any results but I was about 4:55. Slower than last week's 4:49 but given moving off the track and the hill it was about the same pace.
So, reality check, to get faster it is going to take a massive commitment of time and energy. I can improve. I can get really fast. I could get under 4:40 in the mile - I'm sure of that. But it's going to take time, it might take a year, maybe more.
Huge chunks of work for nudges in improvment.
I've been down that road before. I'm poised to go down it again and end up faster than ever.
But I need to decide if I that's what I want. It is not something to be undertaken lightly.