Saturday, June 20, 2009

Cold And Fast

On Thursday night, the Third Thursday street festival held it's first Green Mile race on North Street in downtown Pittsfield. Tim and I planned to make this a night of good speed work. We left the car at the Taconic track where we planned to do some intervals after the race, and ran toward the Colonial Theatre to meet our friend, Chrissie. On the way, we ran by the Dancing Vegan take out shop. It's amazing that Pittsfield has it's own vegan take out, but I worry about their location -in the middle of nowhere- in a very unvegan neighborhood. On the day of their grand opening they didn't even have a sign on their building. I thought they were either crazy or geniuses. I think the jury is still out.

After we picked up,Chrissie, we kept up our warm up. It was raining and cold, and a good warm up was essential. I was dealing with a couple of issues that I thought were going to hinder my attempt at a personal best time. One, was a huge bruise on my arse that I got from a botched attempt to jump over a fallen tree a few days prior. Second, my left foot began to cramp up ten minutes before the race. The bruised butt felt like a pin cushion bouncing around in my ass, and now I was limping a little with the foot cramp.
Tim, asked me what I wanted to do for a time. I knew he wanted to hear a fast number, but I had already started to dial down in my head. I said sheepishly, "5:20". Which would beat my best mile to date by two seconds. Inside, I was thinking that I would settle for a 5:30.
We line up for the race, and I'm trying to remember that this race is going to be over quick, so I shouldn't save anything out there on the road. I've been doing longer, harder races up mountains, so I was afraid that I would set a slower pace for myself.
Runner's set! Go! Everyone bolts off the line like it's a 100m dash! Almost a quarter mile into the race, Tim knows that I'm right behind him, so he yells back to me that I'm going really fast; so I smartly back off the pace a bit. Now at the half mile mark I was running very comfortably. So comfortably that I was worried that I wasn't running that fast. It seemed fast, but I wasn't sure. Let me see if I can go faster. I was thinking of my running form, and trying to figure out if everything was working properly. What's my turnover like? Should I extend my stride a little? Of course, at this point in the race there's only about a quarter mile to go, and this is where I got stuck. I know I can't sprint all out for a quarter mile, but I don't want to save anything either. I knew I had a lot in the tank, but I wanted to get closer to the finish line before letting it completely fly.
With about two hundred yards to go I gave it all I had. I could see the clock in front of me without making out any of the numbers on it. If I could have seen the clock from there it would have read something like 4:50. So, as I got to the finish line I was very happy to have run a new personal best 5:19. Of course, I'm only happy for about ten seconds, because now I'm wondering if I could have done even better. Man, we're all such knuckleheads. Never satisfied or grateful for what we have accomplished.
Tim, took third place overall, and first in his age group with a great time of 4:41! What did he win? A five dollar gift certificate to the Dancing Vegan! It's not raw, but it's still cool. Actually, we stopped there on the way back to the track, and asked them if they have any raw dishes. They were happy to say that they do carry some raw onion bread, and usually have some raw salad dishes available.

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