If you haven't noticed already, the countdown to my 1 Mile Race is complete. Lani, the girls, and I drove down to Tucson, the land of Lani's nativity, yesterday afternoon. It was a nice trip. The weather was great (about 15 degrees cooler than Phoenix), and there were beautiful mountains which made us a little homesick for Utah Valley. We got to see the neighborhood and house where Lani spent the first couple years of her life, but the purpose of the trip was the race. I was feeling really good, despite the fact that I helped with a church service project that morning clearing out tons of weeds for a community garden, and then trimming the tree in our own front yard. I was also feeling very confident and rested after an easy week.
We got to the track around 5:30, got registered, changed into my running attire, and started watching the other age group races unfold as I waited for my heat. The youngest group was first, and then they continued from the oldest down to the high school age kids. There were some pretty impressive runners out there. It was fun to watch. As the time passed, and my race grew closer, I started running some laps to warm up and check out my competition. Although my real competition was the clock.
By the time my race was to begin, it had gotten pretty dark. The stadium lights were on, producing a sort of erie green glow from the football field, and leaving the world outside the track in darkness. We were called to the line, and the race began. I jumped right out to the front, and by about 200m I couldn't hear the footsteps behind me. I was hoping there would be someone sticking with me to help push the pace. As I completed the first lap, I saw Lani and the girls on the infield cheering me on, and heard the the time of 1:15 called out. Right on schedule, I thought. Things were looking good. It was during the second lap that I noticed my mouth was really dry. I thought I had been drinking plenty of water throughout the day, but maybe I needed more. I didn't feel like I was slowing down much though. But when I finished lap 2, I was at 2:37. If I was going to beat 5 minutes, I'd need to pick things up a bit. I still wasn't hearing any footsteps behind me, but I could hear people cheering for other people, so I knew they weren't far behind. Lap 3 was another relatively slow one. I crossed the line at about 4:02 realizing that the 5 minute mile was out of reach. I didn't slow down though. But as I turned onto the back straightaway, my lead was diminishing, and I was passed. He seemed to be flying. I turned on the juice, determined not to let him blow me away. With about 150m to go, I was sprinting all out. My fastest finish ever. But it wasn't enough. I crossed the finish line with a time of 5:16. I couldn't believe it. I thought for sure I had been faster than that. I felt like I was definitely going fast enough to at least PR. But, alas. It was not to be. Don't get me wrong, second place is still good, and I had a great time doing it. I was just expecting a little more from myself.
Maybe I had taken too much rest during the week. Maybe I wasn't properly fueled since I'm not accustomed to running in the evening. Maybe it was my altruistic service and yard work out in the sun and heat earlier in the day. Maybe it was that extra 9 meters they added to make it an accurate mile. Who knows? The fact is, I didn't make it, and there will have to be at least one more mile attempt before I start my winter marathon training.
This is where I need your help. I'm going to borrow Nancy's virtual race director's cap (hope you don't mind, Nancy!) and plan a 1 Mile Virtual Race for September 6th, the weekend before I start my marathon program. I suppose you could do "1 on the 1st." That would be Labor Day. Any time that week is cool with me. I know it's pretty short notice, but that 5:16 under my "personal record" heading is a little depressing. I'd love to challenge all of you to a virtual mile to help push me under that 5 minute barrier. So many of you have been a huge support for me and a wonderful source of encouragement. Wouldn't it be awesome to experience it together?! I know I can do it, and I'd love for you to be a part of it. Let me know what you think, and spread the word. I'll try to get a nifty logo made up in the next day or so for you to post on your blogs. Thanks again for your support. I look forward to breaking that barrier with you!
Stay tuned for attempt #13.