Sunday, June 15, 2008

Flint Hills Mile - Going for sub 5 at 50

After my last track mile (road miles don’t really count, do they?) I wrote up a little report (July 2006) and posted up the age graded table below, using WAVA.


WAVA age group equivalents are based on a calculation compared to the world's
best times for a given age.

For perspective though, the world record for 50+ is 4:26.75. I'm 34 seconds back so it's pretty safe!

This little table shows my progression and regression since starting running at age 18. And I've managed to pick insert "age group equivalent" times using WAVA tables.
Age Group ---- Best Time ------ Age Group Equivalent#
19 and under --- 4:47.2 ------- 4:47.2
20-24 ---------- 4:31.5 ------- 4:31.5
25-29 ---------- 4:24.7*------- 4:24.7*
30-34 ---------- 4:31.8*------- 4:31.8*
35-39 ---------- 4:46.1 ------- 4:41.2
40-44 ---------- 4:38.9 ------- 4:24.7
45-49 ---------- 4:54.0 ------- 4:21.3
50-54 ---------- 5:00.8 ------- 4:23.6
*converted from 1500 m

Last week in the 5000 m I barely eked out a time faster than the arbitrary bottom line goal for the race. Again, this time it was very close. With the marathon coming up next week I kind of worked through this one and wasn't too in to it going in, but knowing that this would be my first an only track mile of the year, I wanted to break 5 minutes.

Track is almost nonexistent here. We’ll get maybe a dozen or so hard cores at the local all comer’s meets, but about 100 - 120 runners show up for the Flint Hills Mile because it is part of the club’s eight race series. They break it down into five or six heats with youth going first, then women, and faster (sub 5:30) men last.

Looking at the field, I kind of had a feeling that I'd be out in no man's land for a while, but hoped to draft or chase for two or three laps and then reel in some fast starters. The first 100 was a sprint, but then they settled in. I was about 8th or 9th place at the 200, with the lead pack of four already about 4 seconds up. I didn't want to run their pace (71s per lap), but didn't want out be out alone either, so I hung back. My legs felt mushy from a 30 km run four days prior.

Passed two at the end of the first lap and we went by the quarter mile at 76, a little slow but okay. I move up. Finally, back on the homestretch, 700 m into the race, the two guys in our little back slowed and I had to move. Picked it up and crossed the half in 2:33. That was enough for an internal arrgggg! Way too slow, and I knew then that a sub 5 would be tough to catch. The leaders were 10 sec up so there'd be no help there.

The runners went with me for 200 m and I almost let up to draft some more, but didn't want any more slowing so kept it rolling. My third lap would be the strongest, with a 73 quarter, and I crossed in 3:46. Feets don't fail me now!

I put in the best effort I could for the final lap, and with 200 to go, thought I had a good chance. Final time: 5:00.8 for 5th place.

Running in no man’s land for 900 meters of a mile is not the best way to nab a fast time. That's okay, coulda been better, but the mile isn't my focus this year. Next year, I promise to make a concerted effort and put in five or six weeks of miler training in the spring with the hope of bringing it well under 5 minutes.


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