May 14, 2015.
It day was supposed to be a complete washout.
It was pretty close.
It rained all day. Mostly drizzle, but it never stopped. The wind could not make up its mind. It would be calm for a few minutes, then gusting and swirling the next few minutes. Temps were in the low 50’s.
The race was canceled last year due to tornados (a perfectly reasonable reason to call off an event). It didn’t matter to me since I was out of town. The last (and only) time that I competed in a mile was two year ago.
The traffic to the race was awful. The new venue was questionable. The parking situation sucked. There would be no finishers medal. None of that mattered. I had come here for one reason.
I wanted a PR.
I also wanted to crush my old PR of 7:11.8…
…and I really wanted to go sub 7 minutes.
I just wasn’t sure that I could do it.
I am not a fast runner. I do no speed drills. I only did four training runs geared towards this event (the only four speed drills that I have completed in the last two years).
The old venue was 12 blocks straight down a pedestrian mall in downtown Minneapolis. The new venue is one block over-straight down one of the busiest roads-during evening rush hour. I think the move is due to construction at the old site.
The event is held downtown on a work night. A lot of big companies put on a big corporate teams for this event. All they have to do is put on their company shirt and walk a few blocks after work to the start line. Then they can hang out at a local bar afterwards.
The new staging area is better…there actually is a staging area now. The rain resulted in a sharp decline in the number of participants (about 1600 runners, down from 2600 two years ago), so many of the starting waves were combined. They didn’t announce this until just before the event, and many runners didn’t get there in time.
I parked near the finish line and walked to the start in my company running shirt, shorts, and already trashed running shoes. I was also sporting the garbage bag. Perfect weather for the garbage bag running accessory.
I reached the starting line and went to packet pick-up. I received my bib and realized that I had nowhere to put my event shirt (there was a bag drop, but I didn’t really want to walk back here after the race, then walk another mile back to the car). So, I just decided to wear two shirts tonight. It was only one mile after all.
I met some other corporate team members for the mandatory group photo. There were three of us. Two years ago, there were 60. Weather will do that (especially since none of our workplaces is near the start line). We then lined up. I was in the second wave. I got into my start coral and lined up at the 7 minute/mile. I ditched the trash bag with a minute to spare. Moments later, we were off.
The wind had died down (bonus), and the rain was a drizzle. There was some standing water on the course that I had to weave around (puddles could have hidden potholes). The tempuratures was the biggest problem. I have mild asthma which is triggered by exercise in cool weather. This weather would set it off. In my training runs, my lungs would burn a lot more in these weather conditions then if it were 10 degrees warmer. I took my inhaler shortly before the race, but knew that it would impact my chances at a PR. I was right…my lungs were on fire in the first tenth of a mile.
The plan for this event was simple. Run as fast as I can, then try to run even faster, and don’t slow down until the finish line.
Something I noticed about 1/4 of a mile into the race…we were going uphill. It wasn’t steep, but it was constant. We actually had an elevation gain of 140 ft over the 1 mile course (another reason I dislike this new venue…I recall the old course being pancake flat).
Once we got going, the runners thinned out a bit. I was still weaving more then I would like. This is not a good thing on such a short course where every second counts.
I kept glancing down at my Garmin. Sometime, I was in the high 5 min/mile pace, sometimes high 7 min/mile. I really wasn’t sure if I was on track for the PR or not, but I had my doubts. The weaving, the uphill course, and my breathing were all conspiring against me. I was not having the race that I wanted. All I could do is keep pushing and hoping for the best. I finally see the finish line just as I thought that I could not keep up this pace any longer. I was able to maintain for the final few yards.
Finish Time- 6:50.7
New PR (improved by 21.1 seconds).
I have to say that I was surprised given the circumstances. I desperately wanted to finish in under 7 minutes. Part of me dreamed of sub 6:45 and I came very close.
Overall, I am very pleased by the outcome. Looking at my race schedule, I figured I had two chances at a PR this season…this race and my Ultramarathon in two weeks (only because I have never completed an ultra before).
With this race behind me, I need to get one more long slow run this weekend in preparation for the only “A” race on the calendar.
I really hope that the weather is better for that event…
Edit: I was looking at my finish times compared to my new “predicted” finish times based on the Galloway Migic Mile formula. They are surprisingly close (except for the marathon of course).
1 mile – 6:51.
5K predicted – 22:56 (actual – 22:49).
10k predicted – 48:49 (actual 47:40)
Half Marathon predicted – 1:47:29 (actual 1:44:09)
Marathon predicted – 3:52:54 (actual 4:26:15).
So, according to this, I should still have a little room for improvement on the mile given my 10K and HM performance) and have a lot of room for improvement on the marathon…