800m Silver.

Second place.  Can’t really complain because I didn’t know what to expect in this one, race turned “tactical” but when it came right down to it I lost a fair and square 100m dash with a 700m lead-in.  As is often the case the time is probably not indicative of what we were maybe capable of running, but I was not the best runner on the track today and have the silver to show for it.

The Clif Notes version of the race – I drew lane 1 as the “top seed”, a term used loosely in a sport where you enter yourself with a recent time.  Mark Gomes, the competitor who finished one place ahead of me in Sacramento was on my immediate right, and a solid 400m runner Blair DeSio was in lane 3.  The conditions were pretty nice, slight breeze into the back stretch.  One turn stagger, at the break I settled into 3rd behind Blair and Mark.  I had hoped to run fairly even splits, a bunch of 29 second quarters would have been just fine with me, as opposed to the 26 sec opener we ran last time out.  Blair held on to the lead through the quarter (58-59) and on to the second back stretch.  I could feel the pace slowing down, heard 1:28-1:29 at the 600m mark.  Mark moved past Blair somewhere at the end of the backstretch, I followed suit.  I still felt very relaxed, but resisted the urge to pass Mark, figuring that he would probably match whatever I threw out there.  I was hoping that his pass was his “big move”, because the pace really didn’t pick up that much and I knew that I would have something left at the end to hopefully pass him.  At about the 100m mark though I got my answer as he dropped the hammer.  I went with him, but between being a stride or so ahead to start, getting the jump on me, and probably just having a better kick he got and held a 3-4 meter lead that he never relinquished.  1:58.38 vs 1:58.94 – nothing to write home about, but I guess you can’t win ‘em all…..

My USATF present

Went to the USATF banquet tonite where I was awarded a “timely” 2010 Athlete of the Year award.  A table full of Greater Philly guys and friends of the club attended as well, so it was a nice dinner.  2010 was such a good year that I never expected a run like that to be repeated in 2011, especially with the talent we have in my age group in my events.  Every race this year has been contested and a challenge, so the reality of ‘winning some and losing some’ has been the case from the very beginning.  I’ve set some PR’s along the way (mile, 1500m) while still getting a year older, so there’s probably something to be said for that.  I don’t know where the ‘age’ curve meets the ‘training harder’ curve, but I assume that one of these days I just won’t be able to get my butt around the track as fast as I used to.  Until then I am trying to do everything in my power to postpone that inevitable date in time.   Was fun to get together with the guys and get one last bit of ‘play’ out of the “glory days” of 2010….

Will throw my hat in the ring one more time tomorrow morning in the 1500m.  I figured I would wait to see how I feel before committing to run this one, but I guess I feel fine so what the heck.  Sure this field will be strong as usual, so I will again probably formulate a plan on the fly and see how the cards fall.  This might very well be my last track meet of the season – the final chapter of the June-July Big 4.  It’s had some ups and some downs, but I’ve been involved in some great races and whatever happens tomorrow I’ll pack the spikes away with a smile.  As I am approaching the point of being the “old man” of the age group I’m guessing I will be coming off the final turn tomorrow with a 40-year-old “kid” on each shoulder – hopefully I can summon some 2010 magic and end this season on a shinier note then I finished it today….

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About Nick Berra

I am a 45 year old masters runner from Central Pennsylvania. I have been participating primarily in track events since turning 40 in 2009. This season has produced marks that I have not run in several years, I believe primarily due to starting a strength and flexibility program here at Elite Athletic Performance - I've felt stronger and faster than I have in a long time. That, coupled with lots of underwater running, has kept me healthy and fit - at this age those are things I no longer take for granted... I run USATF events with a team out of Philadelphia, the Greater Philadelphia Track Club. They are a great group who have played a big part in making the sport enjoyable for me again. I also run local races for HydroWorx Track Club, supported by HydroWorx here in Harrisburg PA. Their underwater treadmills and training center has proved to be a crucial part of my training, rehabilitation, and recovery programs. I set personal records in the 800m (1:56.06) in 2010 and in the 1500m (4:02:63) and mile (4:23.48) in 2011. Despite the fact that I am not getting any younger, I nearly PR'ed recently and set the M45 indoor world record in the 800 meters at the New Balance Armory in New York City. I ran 1:56.10, besting the 9 year old record by less than a second. I feel like there are still more big things to come... I am married and have two daughters. I am an assistant XC coach at my alma mater, Cumberland Valley High School here in Mechanicsburg PA. I am also a 1991 graduate of the US Naval Academy, currently working as a pilot for FedEx after serving 10 years on active duty flying in the Navy. Beat Army! Beat Army!
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