Sadie: “Mommy, Josh’s race is starting now.”
Heidi “No this isn’t his race.”
Sadie “But he’s right there.”
Heidi “Oh… he’s running the 100?!?”
It all started on a warm summer morning in Poughkeepsie. I was woken out of a peaceful sleep at 6 am by the groans and coughs of Hazel. The poor girl had been (and still is) suffering from a terrible summer cold, which just happened to coincide with the summer hot the rest of us were suffering from, and we dragged her to Poughkeepsie anyway. After spending a few minute trying to console her in bed I took her down stairs to watch some TV on the iPad and we began our day. We spent most of the early morning in Grandma’s inflatable pool trying to stay cool, even at 8 am it was already well over 80 degrees. For confirmation of all my weather claims I will refer you to the historical weather data here…
I was picked up at 9:20 by some friends for a round of birthday golf. After a rough front 9 (I shot a 53) we stopped by the club house for some burgers and beer. As we began the back 9 the temps had climbed into the 90’s and all I wanted to do was take a nap. Instead I shot a 54. This is easily the worst 18 holes of golf I’ve played in 10 years. I decided to redeem (or punish) myself I’d have to run at the Twilight Track Series.
I was hoping to take Hazel along, but she was too sick to spend a few hours out in the heat running races so I headed alone to meet up with my sister and her family. My 2 nieces were running a few of the kids races, but I believe they cut their normal racing load down in a concession to the heat, which had peaked at 97 degrees around 5 pm and wasn’t in a hurry to back off. Figuring I wasn’t going to run well in the distance events I decided to jump in the 100 meter dash.
I was hoping to get my first ever official 100 meter time, but they only had results for the top 3 finishers(I finished 4th). The 3rd place finisher ran 12.52 so I gave myself a reasonable time of 12.75 figuring I finished no more than 2 meters behind him and I was running roughly .13 seconds per meter. Next time I’ll have to run faster and finish top 3 so I can get a real time.
Next up was the 1600 meters. I know it is a stupid distance, and I have asked over the years for them to move it to 1500 meters or 1 mile but no one else but me seems to care or even understand why it is an issue, so 1600 meters it is.
Coming into the meet my goal was to run a good time for the 1600, and I wasn’t planning on running the 100 meter or the 3200. Just before the start of the mile, Marissa (the only women in the picture above) convinced the meet director to allow the 3200 to go on despite the heat. She argued that we were all adults and could be as stupid as we wanted and also she informed him I drove in from Rochester to run the 3200. This was a blatant lie, but I felt bad calling her out on it so decided I would suffer through a slow 3200 in lieu of a cool down. With this in mind, and considering the weather, 18 holes of golf and burgers and beer for lunch my goal for the 1600 was to run as slowly as I could and still win. Because Mike Chow was in the race I wasn’t going to be able to run all that slowly and still win. He dogged me relentlessly all 4 laps. Everytime I put in a little surge trying to break him he would slowly creep back up.
Mike runs like a metronome, I run like a 3-year-old… surging wildly when I feel good then crashing and slogging until I feel good enough to recover again. The race basically turned into a 4×200 meter speed workout for me with very fast 200 meter recoveries. I would run a 34 second 200 open up a little lead then run a 37 second 200 and Mike would close the gap. This probably is not the most economical way to run a 1600 meter race but it was the best plan my heat addled brain could come up with at the time.
I ended up winning the race with a not terrible time of 4:43. Much better than my 4:28 1500 meters a few weeks ago, but not what I would have liked to run under better conditions. I spent the 10 minutes after the race dumping ice water on my head and shuffling back and forth in front of the bleachers trying to stay loose and stay in the shade at the same time. Even though it was after 7 pm it was still in the 90’s. I had no intention of running hard during the 3200. I was only running it at all because I didn’t want to throw Marissa under the bus (although it was all her fault anyway.) After 1 easy 84 second lap I became annoyed that Mike was actually trying to race the damn thing and started trying to run him down.
Mike had opened with a very aggressive 74 second lap and had a sizeable lead on me by the time I decided to catch him. At the half way point he had a good 8 seconds on me and I could not believe he was able to hold that kind of pace in the heat after running a hard mile 10 minute earlier. This made me angry and I cursed my 5:18 1600 meter split and really got to work.
I ran the last 1600 meters of the race like another 4×200 workout and while I did manage to close the gap to about 5 seconds with a 5:09 1600 meter finish Mike held me off for the win.
I hope next time I run the Twilight Track series we have more reasonable weather, but I’m afraid the results will probably be about the same. I’ve never been any good at doubles (or triples) and Mike will be there waiting to grind me up in the 3200.