Location: Gear West Ski & Run in Long Lake, MN
Goal: under 5:20
Overall: 8th (15 total)
Age Group (50-59): 2nd (3 total)
Age Grade: 79.6 (2nd out of 15)
Results Link: preliminary results
Previous Results: First time at this event
"The art of running the mile consists, in essence, of reaching the threshold of unconsciousness at the instant of breasting the tape." Paul O'Neil
|Jim Ryun, enough said|
The AG calculator is intended to provide you with an age-graded race time and an achievement percentile for a recent performance at a specific race distance. Age-graded information allows you to: Judge your performance, using an achievement percentile, without bias for gender or the aging process (in other words, you are measured against a specific standard for your age and sex). These percentiles can be interpreted as follows:
- Over 90% --- World Class
- Over 80% --- National Class
- Over 70% --- Regional Class
- Over 60% --- Local Class
My lone mistake was not factoring in the time it took for the treadmill to get up to speed. I had calculated that if I ran with the treadmill speed set to 11.3 that would equate to a 5:18 mile. I probably lost those very few valuable seconds during the time I started and the treadmill actually was running at that speed. In retrospect, I should have started out at the speed of 11.4 for the first 1/4 mile and then cut back to 11.3. But in some ways I am glad I didn't, since I was running on empty at the end.
Let's talk fuel for a moment. Since my slotted time was 1:30 PM on Saturday, I followed this menu:
Breakfast (6 hours before) -
- Single slice of toast with Nutella and honey
- Serving of yogurt with blueberries, blackberries, honey and Chia seeds (1 tsp)
- Serving of Interphase protein mix with low-fat milk
- 2 cups of half-decaffeinated coffee
- Serving of Carbo-Pro
When I arrived at Gear West Ski & Run I opted to warm up inside on one of the treadmills since there were some empty ones available. Much better than warming up outside as we received some rain and sleet recently and the streets are a bit slippery to say the least.
I ran comfy for about five minutes and then broke into a series of striders, increasing up to my race pace goal. My timer was Derek 'Rusty' Lindstrom and he became a valuable ally. He spoke to me about the first half seeming easy and once 0.6 miles came around the real work would set in.
The rules were easy. We would set the speed, hit enter and go. During this time I could not hold onto any part of the treadmill or I would be DQ'd. I would be allowed to alter the speed during the event. Little did I know I would not have the energy to even make that effort of changing speeds.
Derek was correct, the first part of the race was pretty smooth. There was a 1/4-mile lap indicator on the treadmill face and I was surprised how quickly the first 1/2-mile went. I was hearing things like, "You are looking smooth,"...."Looking strong,"...."Time for some cow bell."
On that third lap the legs were beginning to falter. This is what scared me about racing this kind of speed on the treadmill. One misstep, one ill-timed catch of the toe on the churning treadmill and I would have gone down hard and flying off the back end. It was probably this fear that also saved me.
For on the last lap, a mere 1/4 mile to go, I was toast. In my mind I was thinking, "Its only a 1/4 mile, you can gut this out". But my legs were telling me that they were in severe danger of faltering badly. I was starting to waver a bit. I was making these audible grunting noises. My form had gone from smooth to shot-to-hell. At 0.8 miles, I kept envisioning that was nothing more than two blocks. I was running those two blocks back to my house. That's all it was. Just hold pace.
At 0.85 miles I was looking at lowering the speed control. At this point had this been a road race I would have let up. There is no doubt in my mind. Now I'm thinking I need to slow down the speed of the treadmill otherwise I'm going to stumble.
At 0.9 miles, the legs have nothing left. At 0.95 miles I have serious doubts I'm going to make it. Derek is yelling in my ear. 0.97. My arms are doing some sort of movement that I'm not familiar with. 0.98, yes, I can do it. 0.99, why is the treadmill stuck on 0.99? Why is it not moving? I cannot hold on another second. 1.00, I stumble.....audible "Hey, hey, hey....watch him" from the people watching. I somehow step to the side without falling. Upper body hanging on the treadmill and head down. Holy crap.
And yet, here's the deal. I ran a 5:19 mile and am rather proud of that at the age of 50. But the boys who just made the USA Olympic marathon team averaged 4:55 per mile. Perspective can be a wicked sock to the stomach sometimes.
My hats off to those who competed as those are great times. Thanks to Gear West Ski & Run for hosting the event.
March 10 - Becker Community Center Chase a Leprechaun 5K Fun Run/Walk