Saturday, March 19, 2011

Battleground Relays

Today was the big day. Battleground Relays 5K Olympics. The culmination of 2 months of training. It really doesn't sound like a long time, does it?

I went to the track pretty early because I didn't want to do anything else. I went to Wal-Mart to get some Gatorade and crackers. I walked over to the track to check how many heats there were in the 1500 for men and women so I'd have an idea of when to be ready for the 12:40 races. The plan was for me to run the 1500 at 5k pace and then drop out after 800 meters. They didn't have anything for me yet, so I walked back to the car and sat there for a couple hours reading Letsrun and watching Netflix on my phone. While sitting there, my practicum student from the fall walked by. Apparently I was parked outside of her house. Creepy.

I started warming up around noon and swung by the track again to ask about the heats. They didn't know anything still. I did a loop around the shell trail and came back to find out there were 3 heats of women and men, and I was #14 in heat 2. So back to the warmup I went. I could have gone a lot later if I'd wanted to, because the heats went pretty slowly. After stretching at the car, I walked over to the infield and then ended up just sitting there for a while. It wasn't that smart to stay in the sun like that probably.

[Note: I am now working on this post on May 8. Details will be poorly recalled.] I was in the 2nd of 3 heats in the 1500, and I was seeded towards the bottom, so I assume I was one of the slower ones in that heat. Standing on the line, a bunch of the guys were verbally nervous, so I put a couple of them at ease telling them that it was my first track race in 2 years and that I wasn't even going to finish it. I don't know if that helped them or not. The gun went off and I went straight to the back. Apparently that was someone else's plan too, as I had company in the back, no where near the actual race. We might as well have been in our own race, or the 1st heat, because he was making no attempt to make contact with the group. On the homestretch, David Justis yelled at me, telling me that I could still do it, and that I had a chance to win. That jerk knew I was going to drop out but was just trying to make me laugh. Good job, it worked. Passing the finish line, Dave Davis turned away. Thank God he didn't see me running like that. We went through the 400 in 73... a little fast, but still so far behind everyone else. I was clipping the guys heels, just chomping at the bit. I backed off and gave him some space. It was pretty boring. Coming back around, I crossed the 800m mark in 2:30 and just ran into the infield. I felt pretty stupid dropping out of a race, and I know I got some looks from people, but whatever. Wait a couple hours and you'll see.

I stuck around to watch the fast heat and then went to cool down. It was brief and uneventful. Stretching in the street outside, the weather was pretty good. I was eating peanut butter crackers and sandwiches, trying to drink as much as I could without getting sick. I think I ate the sandwich too soon after cooling down, because it felt heavy in me for a while. Then I got back in the car, this time in the back, to watch some more Netflix and wait for Greg.

I should have gone to sleep I was so bored.

Greg showed up and we went over to the track, probably because he didn't want to sit in the back of the car with me being bored, he needed the action. All the action that is at the Battleground Relays... Scott arrived at the same time and we went over there together to check the schedule. Greg said they were running on time. Justin got there while Greg was checking on things and we all went to warm-up together, thinking things were fine. Then we saw Terry and found out that they were running probably 30-45 minutes behind. Ugh. Why did we warm up so early?? The next 45 minutes were just a bear! We were sitting in the grass, thankfully in the shade, just waiting for things to happen. KC came and the Axlerods were there too, and it was just a waiting game. None of us were happy that they were behind schedule. Jack came to watch, but had to leave because things weren't going to happen. Jimmy came to watch too, but both Bob and JD were no-shows. I even saw Juliette walking around looking for the race to happen, but she disappeared too.

Finally the women's 5000 started. It was a very small field. Christy from the store was in the race-- apparently sponsored on some level by Saucony. The announcer was pretty funny; he issued an Amber Alert looking for her during the race while she was in the lead. She was laughing about it as she ran by while we were doing strides and stuff. I heard some people yelling about finding her, and KC told me later that some people in the stands were genuinely concerned about the safety of this girl they didn't know wasn't really missing. I think she ended up winning the race, and it was finally our turn.

It was pretty windy, and I didn't want to lead at first, so I jumped right into the back of the front pack for the first lap. Too slow. On the 3rd turn, I passed most of the group and put myself in 4th. Better for the next two laps. I just stayed there. First mile, 5:10. The 2nd lap was the only good lap in that mile, apparently. One of the guys dropped off that was in front of me, so now I'm in 3rd. The announcer originally identified me as Team Blitz on the starting line, but now during the race he's talking about me being unattached. Meanwhile, Doug and KC are yelling at me to tell me how far back people are. I wanted them to do that later, not every single lap. I hadn't gone for broke yet, so it didn't really matter. Greg is on the bottom turn, telling me that I need to run faster and giving me splits. But I didn't want to go after just one mile! I was unproven in my endurance-- workouts had shown that! After the 4th guy fell off, the PA system said that he'd been voted off of the island.

The announcer then started to ID me as Bert Jacoby from ITT Tech. That's better than unattached. Doug tried to get him to say from Lafayette Upper Elementary, but to no avail. The second mile was worse than the first. 3 78s and a 77. We went through the 2 mile in 10:23-- terrible. So I went to the front. Greg said that the 9th lap did NOT drop the two guys with me, despite the fact that it was a 72. It was the next lap, a 75, that dropped them. Greg said he was very happy that I didn't tank after running the 72 and come back with an 80 or something, but that it was all it took to get rid of the guys with me. This was when I needed KC and Doug talking to me about the distance behind me. I didn't know it was growing so much. I'm starting to lap people now though, including Scott and Justin. Scott tried to run with me for a bit on the homestretch. Justin was right with Terry, having the race of his life.

I started to face pretty hard at the end, it felt like, but really I was still running faster than we had during the 2nd mile. Jason Drexel was at the 200 and he said that my time was 14:43 when I went through 12 laps-- I knew that couldn't have been right, but I was devastated by the idea that it was only a 15:43. I was over 200 meters behind my goal! I wanted to be finished BEFORE that time. Ugh.

I tried to kick, with not much left, and managed to do ok. Justin supposedly closed in 31. I guess he was wearing a watch. No way I could have matched that. But I won by 27 seconds, so I didn't really need to. Still, It would have been nice to be under 16:00 instead of right at 16:00. A half a second, or even three/tenths, and I'd have been happier. It hurt though, so I probably did as well as I could that day. It was windy and I had no competition, as expected.

I stuck around a bit near the line talking to KC, Doug and Ally. KC left and then I was just hanging out. Scott and Justin and I went to go cool-down a little bit, and we probably should have gone sooner because my body was already cooled down and it was hard running again. But then I stretched and talked to some freshman that ran the steeple before heading out. I'm writing this so long ago, I don't really remember what happened. I know that I was excited that it was over, and I was spewing to strangers that I was getting married in 2 weeks and that I was really excited about that... more so than I was about winning in 16-flat, that's for sure.

Here is a link to the Mary Washington website that says I didn't win. Results for the whole meet are posted on this website. I don't mind not getting an award and stuff since I'm not in college, but don't pretend that someone else actually won when you write your article, UWM. That's tacky.

Until next year, for the next 5000 meter Olympics. Thank goodness they're every year and not every 4 like the real Olympics.

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