Sunday, June 29, 2008

Story time

So some may remember me claiming a while back that I was retiring from running (too lazy to go back and link the post). Since that assertion I have become a casual runner at best. There may have been a week that I ran 3 times, but I'm pretty certain it was no more than 2 in any week and some weeks it was zero. Knowing that I had the Marathon Cup Relay coming up I stepped it up a little and ran about 11 miles last week, but only in 2 runs. So I basically went into this event with my goal being not to blow a hamstring.

Last year I surprised myself by busting out a 5:16 at this thing. It was pretty shocking considering the horrible mangled-groin injury from Sturbridge and various other episodes of throwing my body into the pavement. This year I figured I'd put myself down for a 5:20 and this should be a reasonable goal. Did a couple miles of warmup and felt reasonably ok in that I at least didn't feel sloppy like I have been from not running regularly. Then I hit the track to do some 100m efforts just to remember what fast felt like and I remembered that fast hurt. Oh well... hold onto your hamstrings and see how it goes down.

My leg came up and there was lots of roadkill up the track so at least I had targets. I hit 200 and checked the watch... 33... aw shit... slow down idiot. 400m came in a slightly more reasonable 71 and I didn't want to puke yet. I tried to keep dialing back a little, but I think I dialed back too much because I believe I hit half in about 2:28 (can't quite remember). We had talked on the drive down about how much lap 3 sucks no matter how in shape you are so I just tried to hold it together and pick it up a little going into it. I can't for the life of me remember what my 1200m split was, but I remember thinking 2 things: 1) I don't quite feel death setting in yet, and 2) Holy shit, I could almost break 5. First 200 of the final lap was a tad too slow and I waited a little late to go all in on the finish sprint so I crossed the line in 5:02.

Now to put this in perspective, my PR (from way back in the day) is about 35 seconds faster than this, I was only 6th in my age group, and I don't even know if I hit top 20 overall at the event. On the other hand, my racing flats still had Hampton Beach sand on them from the final leg of Reach the Beach last September since that's the last time I ran against a clock and I think my long week since I declared myself retired has been maybe 12 miles. For a while I was almost embarrassed that I had somehow pulled this off on no training, but then of course the competitive side of me took over and I was pissed I didn't squeak out another 3 seconds :) Apparently this whole biking thing does make running a bit easier. Good thing since running every day is too painful anymore.

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