Handicapped mile was run Friday night with 13 runners vying for the title. The downpours ceased shortly before and as 6:30 approached the skies opened up and the sun came streaming out. It was still humid out but at least we didn't have to contend with rain.
I had been seeded at a 5:50 pace, after much contention within the club, which meant I had a 1 minute and 10 second delay between the first person to go and myself; sort of. I was pretty confident I could run the 5:50 but in a turn of events, Dan B. unexpectedly turned up without a prior seeding and was given a 3 minute head start. That meant I had to make up 4 minutes and 10 seconds! It was only a mile race!
Before I knew what was what people were off and running. I was third to last so I had to wait a bit, but soon enough I found myself on the line; and off I went. I had decided to run light so I left the GPS at home and was wearing a watch so I had no outside measure of my pace like I normally would.
Halfway through the first lap I realized I was way too fast so I backed off a bit. First lap finished around 75 seconds. Whoops, that was about 7 seconds faster than I had planned. So I slowed down a bit more. So far I was feeling good and managing to pass a few people already. Unfortunately I realized that I had only passed Dan once and he was already about three laps up on me. No way I could catch him.
As I approached the end of the second lap I realized that I never hit the split on my watch for the first lap. Idiot. This split read 2:46 which means I ran the second lap in 1:31. Way too slow, time to kick it in a bit. Halfway through the third quarter I realized that I was not hurting as much as I should have been. Gotta make sure I keep up the pace.
Third lap clocked in at 83 seconds. Right around where I had intended but since I was feeling ok it needed to be faster. Now I was getting close to the last pack of runners. Coming around the first turn they were within striking distance. I pushed the pace a little and thought about making a break with 200 meters left but decided to keep steady for a bit more.
As I approached the last turn only a couple of runners remained in front of me. Going into the turn I turned it on and went into a sprint; it was now or never. Quickly I overtook the last of them and found that I wasn't as winded as I thought I would be. This was both comforting and a bit disconcerting. It was nice to have a big surge of energy for a strong finish but that also means that I hadn't run the other three laps fast enough. Oh well, live and learn.
As I crossed the finish I looked down at my watch and saw 5:27; a 78 second final lap. Whew, that was a surprise. With the second fastest time overall for the race I was pretty happy. Thank heavens for the seeding since the fastest time was around a 5:04!
So I guess that settled the debate on whether I should be seeded at 6:00 or 5:50; it should have been more around 5:30. But I don't think the club will make that mistake again. And yes, I heard about it plenty at the drink-up afterwards.