I entered the PG County Sports & Learning Complex and was overwhelmed with the odor of Icy Hot. I immediately got nervous. Chick Filets and other fast food wafted through the air and I felt nauseous. I wiggled around on the bleachers, eyed the track and tried to distract myself. I still had three hours before the gun would crack.
I got out strong, but not too fast. After 100m I found myself in 4th place but in lane 2 and not on the rail. I did my best to relax and get in a groove and cruised through 200m in 34.5 – right on pace. “Great”, I told myself “now just get in lane one!” I finally weaseled myself over to the rail, but felt as if the pace was slowing down. “Relax, you’re fine. Let these college kids do the work”. Four American University Eagles were blazing the trail and we all came through 400m together in 71. I could feel the footsteps on my heals. Wiggy looked directly into my eyes and shouted “36”. Damn it, we were slowing down. I looked around and tried to find Karl, but I didn’t want to waste too much energy. I contemplated taking the lead, but quickly decided against it. Where was everyone? I hit 800m in 2:18 or 2:19 and realized I was about 1 second off pace. Suddenly Karl came storming by and grabbed the lead. I swerved to go with him, but again restrained myself. Not yet. Three other collegians and Pacers Will and Bert followed. I immediately went from 4th to about 9th. I kept my head up and my eyes on the pack just ahead. Karl looked like Viren making his “long drive” and seemed to be slowly pulling away from the rest of us. After the mile (4:37) I felt a wave of “you can do this” come over me. More than halfway done, I decided to run my legs out from under me. I wasn’t going to wait and try to kick with a bunch of guys 10 years my junior. I pulled up to an Eagle and awkwardly tried to zip around him before the curve…to no avail. I finally pulled away and then tucked in behind another Eagle. Again, I slowed down and decided to pass him as well. The turns were killing me. Why couldn’t we simply run 3k straight down Constitution Ave? I tried to get my legs moving and eyed Bert just ahead. I passed another American runner with about 400m to go and then looked up at the clock – 7:30. Damn, I had to run two fast laps to break 8:40 but I knew I was slowly dying. I was digging deep, but wasn’t coming up with anything. As evidence, I covered the next lap in about 36 seconds and rolled my eyes and licked my lips, then jumped on the pain wagon.
I ended up running a PR of 8:41, but it was well off my goal of 8:36. I am very green on the indoor oval and need more practice racing in tight packs and running the least amount of distance around the track. Sometimes this is hard to do when there are lots of guys in the race, but you can always get better at it. I was pretty wasted at the end of the race, but wasn’t totally waxed of energy. The good news is I am still PRing at the short stuff and I am doing it off of little speed work.
Thanks to “Anonymous” who posted the video link in “comments”, I am able to get a few splits. More coming soon...
34.7 – 34.7
36.47 – 1:11.2
34.1 – 1:45.3
34.3 – 2:19.7