Place: 1 out of 1 Overall, 1 out of 1 AG
One of my 2010 goals was to run an accurately measured mile...and then stop. I'd never ran a mile race or a mile time trial purely for speed. My mantra has always been that I'm built for distance, not for speed (that's what she said). I don't have massive quads to be fast at the track and don't focus on distances even half that long. But, I was tired of the hole in my running history and decided to go for it.
So, with 2010 drawing to a close, on Christmas Eve morning I packed up the family and headed out to the local high school track to run. It was around 45 degrees when we got up and got going, but to my Arizona acclimated wife, that means: Arctic tundra. Somewhere under 2 shirts, mittens, a hat, and 2 blankets is my son...maybe.
Unfortunately though, because my quaint docile suburb is apparently crawling with 15 year olds with too much time and not enough chores nor supervision....all of the rubberized tracks within 5 miles of my house were locked up tight for Christmas break. While I was thinking about tossing my son over the 6' fence (don't worry, he'd be strapped in) I was trying to decide what you could actually DO to a track / football field that would require locking it up...... Make out on the 50 yard line? Dye your hair red and listen to rock and roll really loud? What the crap do kids DO nowadays that is so bad to require huge padlocks!? Annoying.
After 45 minutes of driving around (2 high schools and 1 community college), we succumbed to my "normal" gravel track at a middle school that is only 1.5 miles from my house. As you can imagine, my wife was super excited to be spending her Christmas Eve morn visiting the local educational facilities - just like she is excited for the next season of American Idol without Simon.
Excited to watch American Idol, but pissed that it will never be the same
Eventually we FINALLY pulled into the middle school track that wasn't locked up tighter than Mandy Moore's chastity belt. I guess middle schoolers don't cause any trouble? (Must be all of the raging hormones that keep them busy.) Unfortunately, right as we were pulling up the pre-race coffee and 2x caffeine PowerBar gel were finally taking their toll on my insides. I think you can see why I love running at this middle school track. Easy access.
Once I got to the track and got my little mummy baby unpacked, I realized that they had JUST re-groomed the track surface to be as close to level as possible. Score. The reason I was so looking forward to running on a rubberized "track surface" track because running on gravel will be just a touch slower. When you are pushing off as much as you need to when running a mile you need all the traction you can get. That is why the 'real' runners wear track spikes.
The other reason why I wanted to find a non dirt track was that a mile is actually just a bit longer than 4 laps around. Most tracks are 400m long and a mile is actually 1609m. On a rubber track, the start/finish minus 9m mark is very clear. On the dirt track it was quite a bit more difficult to find, but I eventually did track it down. (Track, get it - I was on a track?? har har - Feel free to reuse that joke.)
Not a footprint in sight
Here is the 1 mile start - with my foot drag marking the start line
Since I was going to be running a mile I decided that I would pull ALL of the stops out.
No straps = feeling naked. (I may have had shorts on during this picture. Probably not though)
Oh right, the running..........
0-0.25 mi (402m) - 1:13 (4:52 pace)
"Awwww crap, WAYYYY too fast" As you can see in the video that I posted below, I went out WAY too fast on the first lap. In fact, when I was about 150m in, I saw my Garmin flash a 4:20 pace. Ouch. This is a direct result of
too many beer cans to the forehead not knowing what a 5:20 pace feels like.
0.25-0.50 mi (804m) - 1:22 (5:29 pace)
"Ok, this is starting to suck, am I about done yet? I wonder if Steven Tyler can actually be as good as Simon on American Idol?" Honestly, I don't remember much about this lap. I slowed down substantially - both on purpose as well as not on purpose. I was already starting to feel tired....two minutes in.
0.50-0.75 mi (1206m) - 1:24 (5:38 pace)
"Ugggghhhhhhhhhhhhh" Prior to running the mile I tweeted Steve @ Steve in a Speedo, who had just ran his own mile race (in 4:53!!!), and he said that the 3rd lap would be the hardest. He.was.right. This lap sucked and the goal was to just hold on.
0.75-1.0 mi (1609m) - 1:21 (5:23 pace)
"Just hold on....Just hold on...." This lap sucked basically as bad as you would expect. I felt like I was sprinting the entire lap. My legs were burning and my LUNGS were burning. But, I kept thinking to myself that it would be over VERY shortly. And, fortunately it was!
So, what did I learn with this little 5 minute torture test?
- I need to practice my mile run pacing. I left a lot of seconds on the table because I went out too fast
- Additionally, this test is probably worth doing again on a rubber track. I'll bet I could easily be 3 or 4 seconds faster with better footing
Not wearing my knee straps makes my underwear fall off
- When I run flat-out like I did, I get a bit of exercise induced asthma. I was hacking and coughing like the Marlboro man for the rest of the day
- Even while running fast, I heel strike a LOT more than I thought I did
Here is a video of me running the mile. It is literally the most boring 5:22 of your life. Things to note are how I went out WAY too fast (watch the first few seconds and then skip to min #2 to see how much slower my leg turnover is), how my wife made fun of me at 5:30 into the video, and how I sounded like I was going to DIE at the end.