HAPPY FRIDAY! I’ve got a race recap to share with you today! AHH!
Thursday evening I ran in the inaugural Fairground Road one mile race. This race was the final installment of the “summer track series” that Rebecca puts on to raise money for her cross country team each year. Typically the series ends with the milk mile on the track, but she switched things up a little bit this year and added a certified one mile road race! How awesome, right?!
There are very few certified one mile races around here and I was so excited when Rebecca first mentioned the idea of doing this. We actually kind of built my summer training with this and another two mile race in mind.
I’ve done one other one mile race before and it was 5 years ago. I really can’t believe that it’s been that long ago! Seems like it was just yesterday. Every now and then I can find an age group record that is somewhat doable. Usually it is an uncommon distance (1 mile, 4 mile, 10 mile, etc.) that people don’t race very often, but still … it’s cool to try! This is a picture from the finish line of the race in 2012 and it is one of my favorite running photos and memories of all time. Daniel paced me to my first state record!
My coach sent me an awesome effort-based pacing strategy. I don’t know what I was expecting … I mean, it’s just one mile, how much strategy do you really need? Ha. Well, apparently strategy helps, as does thinking about said strategy pre-race (i.e., not winging it).
He divided the race up into 4 segments, but not necessarily the 4 quarter-mile segments (which is what you would likely expect). The plan was to take off fairly quickly on the first 200 meters (but not sprinting to the point of distress) and establish some space and position among the other runners. From 200 meters to 800 meters (the half way point), I wanted to stay strong, smooth and controlled. This gave me lots of good one-word mantras to focus on as I was suffering (suffer wasn’t one of the go-to words).
The stretch from the 800 back to the 200 would be the toughest section. Since I knew that going in, the plan was to focus on leg turnover and maintaining the pace. The last 200 meters would be time to get aggressive and really use whatever finishing kick I had. One thing that I found fascinating that my coach shared with me was that you actually tap into new glycogen stores when you transition into an all-out sprint. Say what?! Perhaps I should’ve known this or have heard it before, but I don’t all-out sprint enough (or ever for that matter) to actually experience this first-hand.
The race took place at 6:30 p.m. at Robertsdale High School. I’m pretty sure the feels like temperature was in the triple digits! I actually took a few hours off from work Thursday evening to rest before the race. I know that not everyone has this luxury (I just worked longer hours the rest of the week to make up the time) or cares that much, but I do. I trained hard for this race, so why not give myself the best opportunity to be as successful as possible?
Daniel got home from work just before 5:30 p.m. and we headed to the race. At registration we got to pick our numbers, which was a nice touch. I chose #5 because numbers that end and 5 and 0 are the bestest, most even numbers (not literally, obviously). We did a two mile warm-up with some strides at the end and then it was go time!
The course was an out and back. It was flat and fast! The turnaround slowed you down a tad, but in order for the course to be state record eligible, it can’t be a point to point race (I’m not entirely sure what the actual rule is, but the start and finish have to be within a third of a mile of each other or something like that). I lined up on the second row behind the guys that I knew would be faster than me, Rebecca blew the fog horn and we were off.
I debated on whether to lap my watch at each 400 split in order to have the data afterwards, but ultimately decided against that as I didn’t want to have to fool with it during the race … so, I can’t give you a play-by-play of each 400 split. I do have this handy-dandy pace analysis from Strava though!
The graph makes it look like my pace was all over the place, but I feel like I ran fairly consistently. The first 100-200 meters were likely a hair too fast, but … it happens. It felt like all of the guys were just leaving me in the dust and I wanted to at least try to keep a reasonable distance behind them. Thankfully everyone’s pace kind of evened out after that and I settled right into the 5:20 – 5:25 range until the turnaround.
I know I lost a few seconds at the turaround, but I think I made them up pretty quickly. I really focused on pushing hard during this stretch (since my coach told me this would be the toughest part of the race). After I got back up to speed (plus some), I steadily eased it back into the 5:20 – 5:25 range where I had been earlier. With 400 to go, I made a bit of an effort to pick it up and touch.
By this point in a one mile race, everything is ON FIRE. Your legs, your lungs and possibly even your heart. They say when your legs can’t run anymore, run with your heart. As cheesy as that may sound, I think I used the fire in my heart to kick it in over those last 200 meters. The fact that my coach had told me that I would tap into some new glycogen stores definitely helped me. In my head, I thought, “Okay, Sam … just run faster and you’ll feel better. It’s science.” In my head, I could also hear my dad telling me to GROWL. This was always his way of telling me to dig deep and be aggressive and he always made me make a growling sound back to him. GRR!
I hadn’t looked at my watch very much during the race. I mean, sure, I glanced down at it a few times and looked at the current pace just to make sure I was on track, but I didn’t know what my overall time was until I saw the clock at the finish line. I finished in 5:23! Holy cow! I was over the moon excited (and still am)! I took 10 seconds off of my previous mile time and got the Alabama 31 yr. old state record in the process. Missions accomplished.
We did a two mile cool down after the race to flush out the junk in our legs. I felt way better than I expected to post-race. Give me a day or two and I might be singing a different tune though.
The overall male and female winners of the one mile race got these AWESOME medal hangers that a local runner made. This is one of my favorite prizes to date. I love it!
There were also awesome door prizes and prizes for the overall winners of the entire track series. This was a wonderful event (thanks to Rebecca) and I really hope that it becomes an annual thing!
Several of us went out for pizza after we left the race. We sat around and swapped war stories and Strava data because we are cool like that. Ha. When we got home I remembered that I had picked up some fudge at the store just in case I had a reason to celebrate (good reasons being either A) it’s almost Friday or B) I ran a PR). I think that chocolate fudge might be one of my favorite desserts at this point. It was delicious and then of course, I was WIRED and was up until WAY past my normal bedtime. Apparently I am still wired because I am up before 5 a.m. talking to you lovely people.
One last thing and I promise I will wrap it up. I wrote my pace on my hand before the race. I do this for most races where I have a specific goal or pace in mind. As you can see below, the goal was 5:30.
Daniel writes Bible verses on his hand before his races and so I was curious if there were any 5:30 verses that we applicable and of course there was. John 5:30 says, “By myself I can do nothing.” Theologically speaking, there is more to it than it appears, but I thought this was a wonderful reminder that we truly cannot do anything with God. I am so thankful for the ability to run and the gift of running. I never want to lose sight of using that gift for His glory.
I hope you guys have a wonderful Friday and a lovely weekend!