Friday, July 3, 2015

26 x 1: A Race in Four Acts (6/27/15)

Annika/Erik handoff
all photos by Tom Cole
Race: 26x1 Marathon Relay
Distance: 1600m
Goal Time: 5:30 (officially I put 5:40, but that was just in case I felt awful)
Actual Time: 5:31 (tied my adult PR)

I think it was George Bernard Shaw who described the three acts of a play once as:

Act 1 - get your hero up a tree
Act 2 - throw rocks at him
Act 3 - get him down the tree

It turns out the track mile (or 1600m) is very similar but it comes in four acts:

Lap 1 - get yourself up a tree (or, the "Way Too Fast Lap")
Lap 2 - find your comfort level (or, the "Goldilocks Lap")
Lap 3 - throw rocks at yourself (or, the "Graveyard Lap")
Lap 4 - Get yourself down (or, the "Home Stretch Lap")

Matt handing off to me
Lap 1 - The "Way Too Fast Lap"
If you don't do the mile consistently, you are never ready for it.  This year Mark Duggan thought he was ready for the mile.  He tried to tell himself: "Just don't do the first 200 in 37 seconds or anything dumb."  As he crossed the 200 mark he looked at his watch - 0:37.  Dammit!

After my race, Cipriano asked me if I "slowed down eventually."

When Furhrmeister gave me the baton I took off like it was the 4x100. Except, I had to run 16 times as long as that. So by 25 yards I realized I was running way to fast and did almost slow to the correct speed. Instead of 41 seconds at the 200 I was at 39. While this is too fast it's less too fast than I would normally run too fast. I then ran the second 200 too slow hitting the lap at 1:24+

Lap 2 - The "Goldilocks Lap"
This lap would usually be left out if you wrote a play about your mile run.   The second lap of the mile is like the middle hour and a half of Once Upon A Time in America: a bit long and kinda dull but you have to get through it to get to the interesting parts and you spend most of it asking questions while meaningless dialog goes on around you.  (So wait, this woman is grown up Jennifer Connelly? Oh, am I supposed to believe that Treat Williams is 35 years older now?)  But on the good side, you find your correct pace. And, since you didn't tire yourself out too much in the first lap, your goal speed isn't too hard. So, runningwise, it's just right.

By now the equilibrium was there. I banged out a 1:22+ for 2:47 at the half despite my mind wondering to questions like: Who sells a cemetery and makes everyone move the bodies?  Is that really the premise of this part of the movie?

On my 1600
Lap 3 - The "Graveyard Lap"
Joe describes this as the graveyard lap.  Especially for non-milers, you've put yourself on the line and it isn't really that close to being done.  It feels like you are not going to be able to finish.  Definitely in previous years this has been the bane of my mile.

This year, it wasn't.  I felt really good.  I even briefly - very briefly - thought about actually speeding up.  I rejected that thought worried about going out too early.  I ran another 1:22 to hit 4:10 at the 1200.
Handing of to Jim
Lap 4 - The "Home Stretch Lap"
The last lap is a toss up.  Either you have put yourself in a position to run a good last lap, or you haven't.

I still felt okay.  However, I didn't have any speed in me.  My training for Tour de Cure and for Mt Washington had just left me without any pep at the end.  I still had my fastest lap - 1:21.  But it wasn't there for a great finish to a good race.  I matched my time from Lou's Relay in December

The Murder of Gonzago
But my mile was only a play-within-a-play, a dweam-within-a-dweam.

November Project coming in for the win
For two hours and 15 minutes, 23 teams had done 1600s around the track.  When Cambridge and November Project handed off to their last runners, it was nearly a dead head.  By 250 meters into leg 26, it was a dead heat.  November Project sat on the Cambridge runner.  And with about 350 meters to go took off.  Openning a gap of 15 seconds over Cambridge, November Project was the winning team.  SRR Team 1 took third.  My team, SRR Team 2 was 7th.