Monday, April 15, 2013

Race Report: Jacksonville Track Club Distance Carnival Track Meet



The Jacksonville Track Club began its series of four summer track meets (yes I know it is spring, but they call it summer) on Saturday, April 13th.  Starting with a distance carnival, they ran the 1600m, 800m, 3200m, 4x400, for free at The Bolles School track. As a capstone on my track training as a coach, where I often ran with the lower tier boys and top tier girls (to be honest some of the girls might be middle tier boys in caliber), I planned to run the 1600m and maybe the 3200m depending on rest time. Seeing as the meet flew by, with only about ten minutes lag time between the 1600m and 800m, I eschewed the 3200m, jumping into the 800m instead.

1600m:

Time: 5:31, Top age group, 7th overall.                                                               State of Mind: Worried
Weather: 75ish, Sunny, barely a wind                                                                 Shoes: Skora Forms

With the local track season either entering their district or regional week depending on classification, the race lacked the flair it will have in a month when all of the best competition will show for a fast, free race. That said, a solid smattering of second tier high school competition showed plus a mixture of elder statesmen like myself. I went into the race without spikes and with a goal of 5:20 in mind. While that time would be well off of my PR, that PR was set 13 years ago and has probably expired. Based upon my workouts with our team, I had been able to hold between a 76 and an 80 second 400m during 12x400m workouts, so I aimed to equal the performance.
It felt weird to line up on a track again. All of the advice and discussions I have with my runners went flooding into my mind, and even in this low stakes environment, I called myself on it, letting things go. The race started steady, no one overly zealous out there, and I endeavored for a race that was decidedly consistent. We didn’t form into a pack, spaced out a bit, and I came through around a 77 on the first lap. From there, I started to pick people off—my body felt good overall, I avoided looking at my watch, and tried to climb through the middle of the race by feel. Feel brought me through the 1200m at 4:15 range, a bit off the pace, and in a hole in the lineup. I was essentially by myself, the winner, a teenager who ran a 4:54, and about 7 others were speckled from the 200m to the 300m mark, but none were in immediate grasp. While I tried to come in strong, and felt that I did, it was hard to click that kick in, to use that strength I have developed, for there was no one gunning me down and no one within my reach as I closed down the backstretch.
Overall I was a tad disappointed, I trained much stronger than I performed and felt that I could have and should have hit my goal. Next time I guess. Highlight though, besides racing on the very track I raced on in high school and coach on daily, was seeing a genuine smile on the face of my top male runner. He hits a 4:35 1600m, 9:56 3200m, but he knew I tried my butt off in the race, that I don’t advertise myself as anything more than I am, and the hug he gave me proved it.

800m:

Time: 2:36, 1st in Age Group, 8th overall                                                   State of Mind: What the hell
Weather: 75ish, Sunny, barely a wind                                                          Shoes: Skora Forms


             I jumped in this one, popped into lane four, and said why not. I had only stayed loose a bit by moving around between races, I did one stride on the turf and jumped in. I tried to exert what I could for an even race, taking the typical 800m strategy—never slow down and accelerate through the final 300m of the race. I did so, coming through at 83 on lap one, and picking a few people off as we went down the back stretch of lap two. At the 200m mark I attempted to pass a local high school runner who proved why he was out at this point in the season. When I pushed up on him, he gave a little more, just enough to stay in front, but he ran with a lot of reserves in the tank. In with a 2:36, I called it a night, and jogged a long cool down around campus and along the St. John’s River.

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