Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Sandwich

One of the less intelligent things that I have done over the past year is to attempt to sandwich a 1 mile race (26 X 1 relay) between two 50 mile trail runs (Pineland Farms and Leadville).  None the less, I felt pretty strong from all the miles that I have run this year and I figured what the hell, plus it let me keep the dream of the perfect season alive (PR in all distances).

Race: 26 X 1 Club Challenge
Location: Tufts
Date: 6/21/2014

Distance: 1 Mile
Goal Time:  4:59
Actual Time: 4:53 (17 second PR)
Place: 5 / 80 AG

A week and a half after the Pineland Farms 50 mile trail race I began my tune up for my 1 mile race.  The tune up consisted of 3 track workouts on the 3 preceding Tuesdays before the race.

The Training 
The first workout was 10 X 400 at interval pace and I was able to get through 8 of them before my hip flexor / right hamstring started to act up (both had some lingering problems from Pineland Farms).  I started at 77 seconds and made my way down to 71 on the last interval.  Feeling pretty strong I jogged home to complete 11 miles on the day.

The second one was a little longer 2 X (1600, 800, 200).  I was able to get the miles done in the 5:45 range and managed to get the second 800 down to 2:28 (fastest half mile in a long time). I finished off the last 200 in 28 seconds and completed 13.6 miles on the day (this was also my peak training week for Leadville where I hit 90 miles).   

The final track session before the race was 3 X (800, 200) and while the splits where a little slower then the week before (it was also crazy hot and humid), I still felt strong and was happy going into the race.  The 800 splits where in the 2:35 range and the 200's where around 32 seconds. 

Race Day
The 26 X 1 club challenge is broken up into 27 pieces: 26 separate 1600 meter runs + 1 speed leg (the
difference to make it a complete marathon).  This year I moved up to the A team (SRR Planes) and I had put down an estimated time of 4:59 (just 11 seconds faster then I had ever run before). 

I drew the 8th leg of the race.  I would be receiving the baton from Tim and hand off to Rachel. When I arrived at the track, I was happy to see that they were both already there as the advice we had been given was "make sure you know where the people you are getting / giving the baton too are at all times." 

Pic compliments of Tom Cole
Our team started off a little slow, as our speed leg runner John pulled his hamstring coming out of the gate.  We caught back up pretty quickly and soon gained the lead.  As our 5th runner took baton, I started to get a couple laps of jogging and some short sprints in to make sure I was warmed up.

As luck would have it, I ran into my old high school running buddy, Scott O'Brien, who now runs for Greater Lowell.  He beat me most of the time in high school in the 800 (2:04 to 2:06), but I had gotten him at this race last year (5:10 - 5:12).  After chuckling about how we used to race in high school (going out way way to fast and then just trying to hold on), we finished warming up. 

The Plan
This would be my 4th attempt at a mile on a track (5th attempt at the mile in general).  The plan was to go out around 71-72, complete the half around 2:28, hold on for the 3rd lap in 3:45, and push as hard as I could in the final lap.  Every other attempt at a track mile had left me too far over 3:45 with one lap to go to be able to close the gap (4:04, 4:01, and 3:58 in respective tries).

The Race
As Tim came down the straight away and handed me the baton, I took a deep breath and flew around the corner.  I hit the 200 mark in 33 seconds which was a little faster then intended.  As I rounded the next turn I heard Amy and Neil yelling for me.  As I finished the first lap, my watch read 71 seconds -- right on pace.

On the back straightaway of the second lap I focused on not slowing down as in my previous attempts I had lost two much on the 2nd and 3rd laps.  At the 600 point I was still feeling pretty good and remember looking down at my watch, but not being to do the math of what the number meant.

I hit the half in 2:28, dead on target, and with a renewed sense of purpose I pushed hard through the next 200.  I was hurting during the final straightaway of my 3rd lap, but as I looked at my watch and saw 3:45, I got a massive adrenaline surge.

On my 4th attempt at the mile on the track, spanning 16 years, I was finally where I wanted to be.  I though "No guts, no glory" and immediately picked up the pace.  Knowing when I hit the 200 to go mark, I was going to go under 5, I found one more gear and tore around the final turn.  With about 50 meters to go I thought I may have kicked too early and was really starting to suffer.

I thought back to Pineland Farm's the month before and how much I had suffered through the final 15 miles.  I had less the 50 meters and knew no matter how much I was hurting, it really couldn't compare. 

As Rachel came into view, I was starting to see double, and was running so hard I ran past her and we completely botched hand off.  None the less she was able to get the baton from me and rocketed off on her leg (with a 35 second first 200).

SRR Planes: Pic compliments of Tom Cole
As I looked at my watch, it read 4:54.  I stumbled my way to the in field, and just laid down as my heart rate settled.  A minute or two later, Amy and Neil jumped on me and I finally sat back up.  I had run my 4th lap in 68 seconds and blown my PR completely out of the water.

After I regained my composure I helped with the timing and yelled out splits for our remaining runners.  After many more amazing legs, our team finished first in 2:16:04 breaking the meet record. 

On the day SRR had three teams complete the event with many PR's to go around.  After a quick awards ceremony, we moved to the pub to celebrate a little more before calling it a day. 

Special thanks to all those who helped out, volunteered, and directed the race and made it a great day. 

Special shout out to Thomas Cole who displayed some real endurance by kneeling and taking pictures for over three hours straight at the start / finish line. 

The Full Team: Pic compliments of Tom Cole

Neil Update
Today Neil turned 2 years old.  I can't even remember life without Neil at this point. This past weekend Neil took out his bike, grabbed the bike pump, hooked it up to the tire, and started to pump.  I can already see that being an athlete is in his blood.
Pic compliments of Amy

Over the past year, we have taken Neil to two foreign countries, he has run in three races, and we have taken him out countless times skiing, cycling, running, hiking, and snow shoeing.

Over the past 12 months, Neil and I have run 178 miles and biked 70. We now have a lifetime running total of 304 miles. 

As we look forward to the future and our up coming trips, we are excited to see what Neil will do next.  

Charity Update 
In May we were able to get up to 244 miles run and selected the Appalachian Mountain Club as our Charity. 

We are 206 miles in so far this month and are donating to various charities.  Thus far we have hit up: One Mission Kid's Cancer Buzz-Off, WGBH, Run for Kids (NYRR), and the Alzheimer's Association.

We are now two and half weeks out from my long term goal. I have had my eye on Leadville since the fall of 2010 when I first read "Born to Run".

Saturday's personal record in the mile marked the 8th distance that I have set a new personal record in this season (4 mile, 10K, and 10 mile were en route PRs).  Only the 5K and the Marathon remain. 

My right hip flexor has been pretty tight since Saturday's race so I am backing off some and will be cutting out speed work until after Leadville. 
Stay tuned for the full depiction of "Scot's Road to Leadville."

- The Multisport Maniac

1 comment:

Jesse Morrow said...

mmm...1 mile long Sandwich.

Sweet race.