Headed back to the indoor track today to get a feel for what speed I have left from last year. This year we were signed up for both the 3k and the 1 mile. I went in with very little expectations. I expected the field would be similar to last year and that NC and I would try to sit behind whoever took each event out and then try to hammer it in. Got there early and did 3-4 miles of warm up with some strides and stretching.
Our friend CE had to drop before the race taking the field down a bit, but there were still some good girls lined up. All 9 of which had a faster seed time than me, but I was hoping to hold my own and hopefully keep the pace under 5:43 since that is what I had at my best 5k last year. Best case I figured 5:30 pace, but given that I had struggled with 10* 60 seconds at that pace Tuesday I wasn't too sure about that.
Unfortunately, like last year, my seeding (bib 1) left me in the lead after lap one again and chugging along doing my own thing. Fortunately though, my own thing turned out to be running pretty darn well for the first mile +. Unfortunately though, my "strategy" was out the window and I was now the lead runner everyone was sitting on and inevitably the pack did eventually pass me, despite my friends best efforts to hoot and holler me into keeping the lead. But I never felt that I gave up, several laps in a row I fought off the runner trying to pass me. When I did get passed I did my best to stay with the pack and only fell off in the last 5 or so laps, admittedly by quite a bit, but with the fast first mile I was able to run 10:24.18. Which was solidly in my goal range and right about the 42 seconds coach instructed per lap. Yahoo! Also a nice boost to be doing better comparatively this year than last year. Could I have done better? Perhaps, but I thought it was a really solid effort given how everything played out. Added bonus my training partner whooped some serious butt and ran 10:03! On top of that our buddy BB who is 60 this year ran her first indoor race ever at 12:28!
Since it is $20 for however many events you do and 3k isn't much of a workout we did the mile too. In between events my right shin was not happy. I was a little paranoid about it, it would be a real bummer to get a stress fracture at an indoor meet when you are training your butt off for the marathon. While this meet was a good test/indicator, it really doesn't mean much in the scheme of things when the goal is the Boston marathon this spring. Shin was still angry during the strides, but decided to buck up. This time hip number 9 so I was going to do my best to do like I had intended in the 3k and sit on the lead pack and try to pick it up later in the race. Last year during a track workout I ran 5:17 for 1600 meters so I was hoping I could eek out 5:15 or better, but after the 3k was just happy to try and race well.
Thankfully once the race kicked in I didn't notice the shin, though during the cool down it was still bad. Hopefully just tightness from the track and with some ice hopefully it will be happy tomorrow!
First lap had a bit of jostling, but managed to get myself behind the first 4 girls including NC despite some awkward passing and trying to avoid elbows. Went through 800 meters a bit slow at 2:40 and started to get around the pack. NC and I seemed to pick up the pace and pulled away. I just tried to keep one stride behind her, considered making a move a few times but NC stepped it up each time. We came through the mile in 5:19.90 and 5:20.31 in 1st and 2nd. Not quite as fast as I would have liked, but it felt really smooth so I am calling it a success. And now my official mile PR since the time trial isn't really what I would call "official."
I still have a lot to learn about these track races, but I think today was a good step in the right direction. And a positive race to kick off the year on!