Tim smoked us again this morning. We did a 17 min w/u followed by 2X12 min as hard as we could (I only did the 1st one hard) and then a 12 min c/d. When the class started a month ago I was one of the slower people in the class, it's nice to see that now I'm one of the fastest.
But I had a race that evening and I soon left thoughts of the morning's swim behind me.
It had been 3 years and about 2 months since my last outdoor track race. I had been over a year and a half since I last raced a mile on the track. It had been a few months shy of 2 years since I had broken 5:00 for a mile or 1600m.
Tonight was big. Tonight was the reason I had surgery. Much more than my triathlons this was important to me. This was about take back what had been taken from me by injuries in college and indifferent coaching in high school.
This, this was big.
Lots of area track teams came out, predominately youth teams so there were several heats of the sprints. There was something like a dozen heats of the 400m and 17 heats of the 100m.
My race was supposed to go off at 7:45. I waited till 7:25 to start warming up. By 8 pm it was apparent that we were not going to be running anytime soon.
Jess and I went for a walk on the lake path to pass the time. When we came back they had turned on the stadium lights. The hazy summer air glowed and shimmered above the track. It was almost gilded.
It was glorious. Memories of high school races flooded into my head.
If you pay attention you can feel a race coming. Suddenly in the infield and the backstretch runners nervously stride out and go through their last preparations for what they must do.
At 9:40 we were finally called to the line. Most of the kids had already run so my heat was smotly masters though there were some young kinds too. There were a couple of kids my age. Matt Groose was also in the race (1:47, 4:00.X) though he was only pacing a friend.
Runners to your marks. *Bang*
For about 50m I gun it. Checking my position I duck in behind Ben Webb.
Gone is the runner skittish of spikes and cutting it. Gone is the runner who couldn't run behind someone. Gone is the runner who looked fearfully behind him.
So I sit on Webb's back and follow him though to a 67.
And then a 2:21
It all comes quickly and feels easy. I'm working, but holding on. At about 1,000m I begin to fade and come through the 1,200m at 3:35. I can't quite do the math but I vaguely remember this is a good split.
Finally, I hit my lactic threshold and pure willpower pushes me forward. I know I'm crashing but I know I'm going to make it - I know this is going to be fast.
I get passed up at the line and end up finishing 5th. 3rd, 4th and 5th all finished within a second. Not caring I run over to Jess to try and get a time. She says it was something like 4:48.
I cover my mouth.
I cover my mouth.
I try to speak but I can't.
It's too glorious.
10 min later I get the confirmation from the officials - 4:49.9. My fastest offesason mile ever.
I'm back. Miss me?