This was my second year running in the McMullen Mile. If you want to know about the history of Charlie McMullen and of the race you can check out this link. The race has been run the last 2 years on the track at Nazareth College in Rochester, NY. This suits me very well, because I do many of my workouts on the track, and it kind of feels like a home meet. The race draws about 100 or so people running times from 10+ minutes down to the low 4’s. This year no one broke 4:20 but there were still some very solid times. I’m going to focus on my times and my race in this post, but Mike’s splits are all in the video below if you’re interested. He’ll probably post some race thoughts of his own anyway.
Despite what I would called an average Spring racing season I was very confident about my ability to run a good mile. A series of 3 short but very fast workouts over the last month left me feeling fast and well rested. On Sunday I tried a new sharpening workout 4×400 with lots of rest 66, 63, 64, 65 and new I was ready to get back under 4:40 for the first time in 6 years.
The weather was a perfect 65 degrees and by the time our race started at 7:45 p.m. long shadows were across much of the track. I was in the 8 spot at the start but new I had to get a good clean start and not get trapped against the rail. As often happens in these open track meets the “fast” runners went out painfully slow. About 150 into the race I knew I would have no chance at a sub 4:40 if I let the pace stay where it was, so I surged past the leaders and led us to a very unremarkable 69 second first lap I was hoping to run 67-68 but 69 was OK if I had stayed in the back of the pack it would have been an unacceptable 71 or 72. During the second lap the eventual winner made a bit of a move but only opened up about a 3 second lead on me as I ran a 70 second 2nd lap. During the 3rd lap I was just trying not to lose too much ground. I knew if I could hold steady I would be able to kick to a good finish. I came through the 3rd lap with another 70 second spilt with 7 runners in front of me, one of which was Mike who had opened up a 2 second gap by running 69 second splits in the first 3 laps. 3:29.15 was my 3/4 mile time I knew I would break 4:40 but I thought would be very close.
I eased into my kick around the first turn and then really tried to open it up down the back stretch. My eyes were locked on the runner just in front of me, I went by him with 200 to go and then I was staring at the back of a Road Kill Racing singlet a strides ahead of me. Sorry Mike, but that is when I really put the hammer down. I got around Mike mid-turn and started reeling in Chad Byler of GVH as we broke down the final straightaway. Chad managed to hold me off, but I did manage to close the gap to less than a second. As I crossed the line I glance over and saw 4:34 flash on the clock. I went from dumbstruck to ecstatic in flash. I had just run a 65 second 1/4 mile and shatted my PR by 4 seconds. My FAT time was 4:34.94 but if anyone asks I ran a 4:34, I mean who really cares about 10ths or 100ths of a second.
Enjoy the video below. The quality isn’t great, but I’m the tall skinny guy so I should really stand out.