Saturday, December 15, 2012

Race Report: 3000 m indoors

"OMG, this was so much fun. Seriously! I loved it. Racing is fun."

Yeah, what she said. This was the most satisfying and heck, flat out fun race I have done in awhile. Things fell into place like layers of hair after a really expensive cut at a salon (or so I've heard). In the days leading up to the meet, the coach of the club I now run for told me I had the choice of being the slowest in the fast heat or the fastest in the slow heat and he would adjust my seed time accordingly depending on what I wanted. The fastest seed time was 9.55, the slowest 14.00. I figured if the stars lined up I could just barely avoid being lapped in the fast heat but would definitely do some lapping in the slow heat so I opted for being the turtle in the fast heat. So he obligingly adjusted my seed time from a conservative 10.50 to a still realistic 10.44 thus leap frogging me over the 5 girls seeded at 10.45 and ensuring me a spot in the faster heat. I really did not know what I was capable of having not run anything shorter than 5 km since this race. I had been having trouble running even 600 m repeats at 10.45 pace so I thought that 10.45 was at the improbable edge of possible.

Ahead of time I memorized all 15 of the splits I would need to run 10.45. I told myself that the two biggest mistakes I could make would be to go out too fast or to waste energy elbowing for space out in lane 2 or 3 especially given that there were 10 girls seeded between 10.30 and 10.45 in the heat (plus another two girls at 9.55). So, when the gun sounded, I hesitated a split second to allow everyone to get ahead of me and positioned myself at the very back of the pack right on the rail. I reminded myself that inevitably people go out too aggressively in track and bided my time at the back. It was a full 600 m before I passed anyone. After that, it seemed I was slowly and steadily passing runners throughout but honestly I barely noticed. All I was thinking about was the next split I needed to hit and how the gap between splits I was actually running and the split I needed to run was steadily increasing (i.e. I was running under 10.45 pace). I have never felt so a) focussed and b) free of physical distress before in a race. I was completely in the zone. (Ok, I did spend a bit of mntal energy whining about paste-mouth that comes with running at an indoor dry!). But really, this race was an absolute blast and it was so empowering to move slowly and steadily through the pack.

With a km to go, I was essentially deciding when to kick.  Finally, I realized if I could run a sub-80 last 400 m, I would break 10.30... at that point I heard the one-lap-to-go bell ring for the first place woman (who was trying to break 10.00). I decided I did not want to be lapped and took off. I managed a 77 second last 400 m good for a 10.28 final time. Just missed getting second place by 0.04 seconds. So here, as best I recall, are my splits:

3.34 (1 km)
5.41 (1 mile)
7.05 (2 km, second km run in 3:31)
10.28 (last km in 3:23)

Honestly, I would not have thought I could run a 3.23 km period right now, let alone at the end of a 3 km race. Amazing what the adrenaline of a race and rested legs can produce. Makes me want more!

Oh... and Mmmonyka, this part is for you - except for one other woman born in 1980 (who finished 0.04 seconds ahead of me) I was the oldest athlete by 14 years!! Almost everyone else was born in the 1990s. I was a whopping 24 years older than the youngest runners in the race. Quite a different scene that road racing!!


  1. Niiiice job!

    Interesting how people can use two completely opposite race strategies (and by completely opposite I mean completely opposite. I went out too fast, I was involved in elbowing, spiking and all that, I was not focused, I did not care about my splits at all, my last km was the slowest because I was dying) and still say at the end that it was great fun and I want more of that.

    If I felt old in my race than you must have felt really old! Just kidding, just kidding. It must have felt great to show those youngsters how it is done, didn't it?

    I am wondering. Did your arms hurt?

  2. Dang, I love it when you kick ass. You ran a km in 3:23 AND it felt great???!! Just for one race I would love to switch bodies with you - just to have that experience.

  3. You ALWAYS kick a$$ in races. Awesome job! I can't wait to do an indoor race - probably next year.
    Are you still doing the marathon? Hope all is well with you!
    Oh, and what SLR said, I want to switch bodies too:)

  4. mmonyka - my arms did not hurt. i think this is because i never got into lactic acid. in retrospect i think i was in shape to run 10.20 and really wound up sandbagging it for the first mile. as a result the last km "felt awesome" and no lactic acid. so... not the optimal race result but more fun that way!
    SLG & Ana-Maria - you might enjoy time in this body, i think it comes with more built-in padding, cushioning and insulation than either of yours :)

  5. Great job! I wish I had your speed :) Send me some fast legs for my upcoming race season!

    How funny you were that much older than the younger runners, huge difference than road races.

  6. It's funny - I was just writing my next post in my head and thinking about how my best distance is 3000m and they're almost non-existent as races. My all-time best race was an indoor 3000, a bit more than a minute faster than your best; as I recall, I went out hard to get position, then slowed to hang on the shoulder of a guy I considered my main competition (he's an assistant coach now with a bad back and he never recognizes me), then ran each of the last four laps faster than the one before after passing him.