Posted: March 16, 2015 in Sub-17
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Had a lot of confidence going into Saturday morning, to be honest. Lately during runs, I have been telling myself to focus on any run (easy, long, speedwork) by thinking about it 200m at a time. So, on Friday night before the run, I went over my splits mentally. What would it take to run a 17:30? Every 200m…

42, 42, 42, 42, 42…

And what would that look like on the watch?

40+2 (42) + 40+2 (1:24) + 40+2 (2:06)….

I knew I had done some faster stuff in training, so 42 sec/200m wouldn’t be hard to achieve initially during the race. Plus, I’d have the advantage of wearing spikes on the track. I never train in anything other than regular…”trainers” (heavier shoes). Just get some rest Friday and be ready to go on Saturday morning at 8:30.

Drove to the track to register for the race about an hour early and snapped the photo above. Not a mystic but, some days just feel better than others. Registered and walked away from the track to get my gear together for the warmup and race. Confidence still high at this point.

See a young man (The KID) warming up for the race soon after. He had the build. Taller, skinner, effortless motion…even while warming up in pants. To top it off, kid’s got a shirt on that says, “—- — University” on it. OK… running for second place now. Back in high school, during the time where my PR was set, such a specter was cause for alarm. Seeing a kid like that meant I wasn’t going to win the race. But I’m a little older now. Hair’s falling out in the front. About 5 pounds heavier. Not all of it muscle. My race is to beat the younger man in me. And this kid is going to help.

Skip forward. Step up to the starting line, but the starter gives us a lesson on running before it begins. Something to the effect of “the best runners always know where they are at all times.” Another shot of confidence. I had the track and the watch and my splits in my head. Ready for this.

Gun goes off. It feels as easy as I had hoped through the first 20 steps or so. Kid and I bolt to the front. Through 200m in 35 and 37, respectively. “Hey, Rich. Maybe we can take this kid?” Nope. 42. Do what we planned to do. Quick, decisive answer within. Grown (read, boring) man’s talking now. Backed down the intensity the entire first mile to get back on my splits. Kid (not me) takes off. He’s a quarter lap ahead in no time. Meanwhile, I cruise through the first mile in 5:36. Right on time. Race is going to be a breeze. Of course, it couldn’t be that easy. Sure enough, somewhere around lap 7 or 8, it begins to feel different. Just pushing off the calves isn’t taking me as far as before. I gotta put in work. Striding a little more and the cadence is falling. Hips and arms are called into action. Taking deep breaths now. Thanks team. 42. 42. 42. 42. Through 2 miles in 11:12. Good. Last mile is going to be tough though.

Going into the 3rd mile, and I’m starting to do too much math in my head. As if I could PR through visualization and arithmetic at this point.

43. 44.

There’s your math, son. You have 4 laps to go and you’re 3 seconds behind. Good luck.

42. 42.

Striding out and breathing hard at this point. Man, I’m not gonna make it. Breathing. Breathing. “I sure am loud…That’s not me….The KID!” He’s lapped me. And looking good doing it. Here’s my chance. Stay with him. I stride out. Backkick is on full. With him for 4 steps. And he’s gone again.

Bell rings. He’s on his last lap. It’s a Saturday jog for him. Not a sign of panic. Man, I wanna be like him. Take a peak at my watch and lookie here…back on pace now. Kid must have pulled me through a 41 and 40. Go, KID! 800m away from a PR. Now this is something I have felt in practice. During repeat 1600m workouts. During repeat 800m workouts. Training specificity is so important. I’m not losing a PR in the final 800m of a race. I don’t close on the kid at this point, but he doesn’t pull away either. He’s still 100m ahead as he finishes. He’s done, but I have a lap to go. Let’s do it! I give it all I have. Remembered that 16:48 at the 3-mile (4800m) mark means 17:30 (5000m). I’m there in 16:44. 200m to go, and I’ve got this. But by how much….




5K Personal Best (17:34)

October 28, 2000 – March 14, 2015







  1. 278toBoston says:

    That is awesome and a great post. Congratulations!!!!!

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