Stifling sprint work.
Clean nutrition (except for, like, 3 trips in 4 days to Ben & Jerry's while in Lake Placid, oops).
Good sleep habits (well, I tried).
Daily foam roller molestation...
I'm happy to report the past two months of training has paid off!
The USA Track & Field Masters National Championships were held in scenic Berea, Ohio (15mi southwest of Cleveland) on Sunday under bright sunshine and calm winds.
Coming into the race my personal best time for 1500m (a mile is 1609m) was 4:29.82 set on June 12 this year and, considering how well the past 6 weeks have gone, I set a goal of running 4:25. To do that, I'd need to really nail my pacing while expending as little energy as possible in the first 2 laps.
The tricky thing about these races is not knowing how everyone else will run. Ideally, in any race, you run directly behind someone for as long as possible before passing them. This produces a drafting effect that can save you a significant amount of energy. Would anyone run the pace that's right for me and do all the work for me?
For the first few laps that's exactly what happened. I tucked in behind a few guys and got off to a great start. My first and second laps were faster that any other race I'd ever run, but I was feeling strong and the drafting effect was working like a charm.
I sensed the guy in front of me starting to slow and, since I was still feeling 'good', decided to push on. I didn't have much of a chance of reeling in the top 3 runners - they were a bit out of my league - but I was on pace to get my goal time and wasn't about to let the opportunity slip away by staying comfortable.
The whole point of spending a summer weekend in, ahem, Berea, Ohio was to suffer for a little longer than 4 minutes. No coulda, shoulda or woulda!
As I rounded the last turn, the rather sparsely populated crowd began cheering louder and louder. Someone who I thought I'd left behind had started gaining on me. The thought of looking behind me never crossed my mind out of fear I wouldn't like what I'd see so I just tried my best to sprint as hard as I could for the finish line.
He couldn't quite catch me and I exceeded my goal!!! Ran 4:23.26 and totally surpassed my expectations!
Check out the vid here. The announcer kept misidentifying me as the leader in the first lap and a half which was actually kind of motivating!! And I'll be the first to admit that I need to work on holding form all the way to the line, but that is WAY easier said than done:-) In the moment, you're desperately trying to do whatever it takes...