Ahhh, indoor track with your Saharan desert dryness, obstacle course of flying sand, wayward shot puts and headphone wearing athletes randomly wandering across the track. Your funny pockets of smells that don't seem to dissapate - grease from the snack bar, sweat from, well, everywhere, sharp medicinal smelling A535 and farts from nervous athletes. The feeling of every last molecule of water in your body immediately evaporating during the first lap of every race. The endless post-race hacking and general burning of all mucous membranes. I've missed you indoor track and I had a helluva ton of fun today.
On today's menu for me was a 1500 m and, wait for it, a 4 X 200 m. I'll wait while everyone stops laughing... So I prepared for the 1500 m over the past few weeks by doing, what was it again? Oh, that's right nothing. I have run approximately 15 times since my goal race this fall in a kind of aimless, lackluster sort of way. Out of the blue, I was asked to participate in a 4 X 200 m relay team by this guy who is trying to drum up masters participation in Quebec track & field (and I do means masters... the woman who ran the third leg of our relay is 80 years old!! and while I did not have a watch on her (esp. since I was handing off to her) I guestimate she ran about 45 seconds - if we were to age grade, I am sure she would have wound up with the fastest relay split of the day on any team!!). Anyway once I had committed to doing the 4 X 200 m and secured a babysitter, I figured it only made sense to pick the longest distance race on the menu and do it... which turned out to be the 1500 m. My first 1500 m since I ran it at Olympic Trials in 2000 (oh, in case there was any doubt there, I did not make the Olympic Team in 2000, or any other year, the team had been chosen and signed their paperwork by the time I got the finish line). Anyhooo memories of days gone by aside, I decided to give the 1500 m another whirl. I pulled a time of 5:20 out of my butt as a seed time and off I went.
So it was fun. Good clean (well occasionally fart smelling) fun. I did what i always do on the track and started off at the very back of the pack until people had sorted themselves out into single file and finished with the pushing, shoving and spiking and then went about my slow but evenly paced business and worked the race from the back:
300 m - 1:00
400 m - 1:23
500 m - 1:48
600 m - 2:06
700 m - 2:26
1000 m - 3:29
1200 m - 4:10
1300 m - 4:30
1500 m - 5:08.66
(yeah, I like lots of numbers...)
I cannot say enough about this whole starting slow strategy... it makes racing (especially when unprepared and out of shape) so much more pleasant. Paste-mouth aside, I felt pretty damn good through except for the last 300 m in which the lactic acid crept in and I was truly wondering if I was going to trip and face plant.
The 4 X 200 m... well by that time the meet was running 30-40 minutes late as indoor track meets will do. Our sitter is fairly new and I had promised her I would be home by 4 pm. The 4 X 2 was scheduled for 3 pm and we were in third i.e. the slowest heat. At 3.40 the first heat went off and, had it been an individual event, I probably would have scratched and left 20 minutes prior but relay running requires, by definition, team players. In this case my team consisted of one of my best friends of 13 years, an 80 year old woman and a women who had torn (?) her knee the day prior but still showed up for the team so bailing to keep a promise to the babysitter was not an option. Anyway long story short, I ran second, finished my leg, changed and by the time the race was over I was essentially out the door. The whole thing is a blur that I don't really remember except almost running over the woman I was handing off to because I kept expecting her to start running as I came into the exchange zone but I guess she doesn't believe in flying starts because she was completely still as I ran up to and then essentially over (sorry!!!) her. We sorted herself, I put the baton in her hand and off she went.
Anyway good times. I missed you stinky, chaotic indoor track. See you in two weeks for a 3000 m.