I got into the University of Maryland Terrapin Invitational last week. Their 3k had been on my schedule for awhile but it was never a given that I would get in. My original plan was to simply run goal-5k pace at the race and treat it as a workout, but decided a few days ago to nix that plan and try to run a bit faster. My PR was from 2001 (8:52) so my goal was to run around 8:55...or set a PR/break 8:50 if I was lucky.
I got to the track about an hour before race time. They were on schedule, but then all of a sudden they went to “rolling schedule”. The men’s 3k was supposed to start at 4:20pm, but I quickly realized at 3:40pm, that I had about 10-15 minutes until go time. Yikes! I warmed up outside of the track for a bit more than a mile and began to peel off my warm-ups. I looked up and saw everyone in the heat doing strides down the homestretch. I quickly threw on my singlet, spikes and high-kneed over to the start. For some reason my name was not on the starter’s sheet but fortunately they decided to put me in the fast heat but seeded last (15th) and given the last spot on the curve (the second heat was later won in 9:07).
After two false starts we were gone. I had a good start and quickly grabbed the lead on the outside of the track. We merged 100m later and I found myself shoving for a spot in the top pack. I tried to get into the inside lane while not wasting much energy. 35 seconds...then another 35 seconds. At 800m we I was 2:20; 35s on the dot. I trailed a 6 person pack and continued to click away steady 35s. At 1600m, 4:40, the lead pack had gapped me by about 2 seconds. I put my head down and told myself I was more than half way, time to start working. I stopped looking at the clock, but continued to hit 35s. Just ahead of me was a small Kenyan so I set my sites on him. Got him. Ahead of him was Richie Booth (UMD runner I had raced before). I came up on Richie’s right shoulder while on the turn, waited, then quickly moved around. Anthony Kellhower was just ahead trailing the lead pack but appeared just out of reach. At 400m I drove as hard as I could and managed a 33 second last lap. I crossed the line in 8:47, a new PR (by 5 seconds).
I was very happy with the result and it’s a great way to start the New Year. This was my first indoor race in 6 years. I have not done any 3k-specific workouts and this comes off of strength alone. I think I am close to sub-15 5k shape (big race at the end of March). I wasn’t totally spent, but I lacked any assemblage of a kick.
The dry air at the complex ruined my left nostril and re-aggravated my head cold from earlier this week. My nose is still running and if I breathe through my nose I will sneeze indefinitely.
Next race – USATF XC Championships.
Kudos to Bain who took the above picture and drove me to the race (after my car overheated earlier in the day).