Strictly Running Track Series #1 7/12/11 400m, 1600m

This is the renewal of Strictly Running’s track Summer track series, which I last  ran in 2009, but didnt happen last year. They charge 5 bucks to run all three events (3200, 400 and 1600), and the series is held on the USC track, so a pretty good deal. Last time I ran this I raced the 2 mile all out (13:07 I think) and then had zero left for the next two events (1:12 in the 400 and a death march 6:58 in the mile). I had hoped to post strong times in both the 400 and the mile this time around, as my fitness was certainly a lot better and I had never done either of these events since. My goal was to hover around 60 seconds for the 400 and sub 5:30 in the mile.

Unfortunately, Columbia’s summer was not cooperating. The high was 100 that day and humidity was close to 100 percent – weather channel had a 110 heat index even at the time of the meet at 6:30.  I “warmed up” for mile and was already drenched in sweat, just felt awful. The 3200 was interesting as a high schooler Omar Sharif from Eau Claire/RU running club went at it with Matt Komatsu, a 30 something guy that I’ve seen run 17’s in 5ks this year. They ran together the entire way until Sharif threw down a crazy kick and edged Komatsu by several meters, 10:41 to 10:47.

About 10 minutes later they started the 400. I had never run an all out quarter, though I do them all the time in intervals in speedwork. The intervals usually range 1:15 to 1:28 or so. I picked lane 1, which was probably not the best idea, since the curve is sharper and harder to generate speed off the turns. I had no idea how punishing this race is – I was really struggling at about 200 meters but was able to push hard in the last straightaway. Eric Mcmichael, who has been an age group rival in other races on the Tour de Columbia, completely blew this race away in 54 seconds. I was second, an embarrassing 9 seconds behind at 65 seconds (though I swear it was more like 63 or 64).

Here’s a link to Angel Manuel’s video of the 400:

I thought the 400 would be a good prep for the mile, which was about 10-15 minutes later, but it turned out the quarter would be my undoing. I still felt wobbly and a little queasy at the start, so I knew this wasnt going to be good. As soon as the race started I felt weak, and started getting passed. I rounded the first 400 at 1:30 (6 min pace) and by the 800 was at 3:20 . I was about one step from dropping out when I decided to try and gut it out the best I could. I managed to just avoid getting lapped by Komatsu and Randy Huff in lap 3, who apparently had a photo finish at 4:58. I finally found a little push in the last quarter but the damage was already done, finished in 6:17. This was a tough pill to swallow, because I really wanted to see how well I could do at an intermediate distance, which I feel would be my strength. This mile was slower than my 5k Pr pace (6:11) and far slower than my fastest 5k split at 5:55. I was happy I didnt take the easy way out and drop though.

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