Red Eye Racing

A one week trip wrapping up with a Friday night red-eye flight from LA (where I just landed after working from NYC) to Philadelphia. From there I am getting a car service to drive me to a rendezvous point outside Harrisburg, where the gang is going to meet me to drive with me up to State College for another mile race at Penn State. Gun time is 10:30, if all goes as planned my 5 hour overnight flight and 3.5 hour drive should get me to the track with an hour to spare (and hopefully warm up). Will post the results on the drive home if I don’t fall asleep. If I survive I plan on contacting 5-Hour Energy about a sponsorship agreement….

Ammendment:  Well, I lived to tell the story.  The best part of the event was my plan coming together perfectly.  My flight left Los Angeles on time, arrived in Philadelphia a little early (in both ‘relative to published schedule’ terms, as well as it was just flat-out early), and I was in my car heading east at 6am.  We hooked up with my dad, wife, and daughter right at 8am.  I switched cars, and my dad somehow made the 90 minute drive in 75 mins flat.  Best performance of the day.

By the time I changed clothes and started warming up I had a whole hour to wake up and warm up.  I did sleep on the flight and some in the cars, so I can’t say I pulled an all-nighter, but at the same time sleeping in a seat isn’t quite the same as getting 8 good hours in the rack.  I did the best I could, but felt somewhere in between a trance and having the shakes.  I was only 4.5 minutes of racing though, so I felt pretty sure I could power through.  The warmup hour flew by pretty fast, but it wasn’t like I was getting less tired by running around the track slowly so I figured we might as well see what was going to happen…

I had a pit crew this time so I actually got some splits.  Think there is a video as well, but it hasn’t been reviewed and compiled yet so maybe that will follow down the road.  They held a 3000m race today in addition to the mile, so a couple of the club guys jumped in the longer race, leaving me without much of the usual competion.  I led from start to finish (spoiler alert, a little late), pretty much uncontested after about the 400m point.

In an ideal world with beds and a breakfast not from an airport Dunkin Donuts I would have hoped for something in the vicinity of 4:25-4:27.  Today I thought I would shoot for 2:14 at the half and see what happened.  Things started out ok I guess, through the quarter-mile in about 67, half in 2:15.  It was right about the 1000m mark where I started to see stars.  Through the 1200m mark in 3:24, if the white flag wasn’t raised it was only because I couldn’t figure out how to hitch it to the yardarm.  At this point I came up upon the first “lapped traffic” individual, and things were heading south so bad I actually tucked in behind him for about 20 meters.  I eventually mustered the courage to pass him and I forged on, at least that is what I think the video will show because I think I had started to take a nap when the bell ringer so inconsiderately woke me up.  Valiant final  lap all things considered, think I matched the previous :69 with another one.  To say I was happy to see the finish line would be like saying I would not advise anyone to try this feat at home.  4:34.14….

Whoever said “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” was probably not a sleep deprived miler...

Right about now I am guessing Chuck Shields (GPTC track captain) is wondering what the heck he was thinking throwing me on his relay next weekend up at Millrose.  I am taking solace in the fact that I did feel pretty good last weekend, so hopefully this was just a case of poor “preflight” planning.  On the upside, getting another race under my belt I think will help, and 4:34 could have been a lot worse – heck, I think my 1400m split today was about the same as it was last week (4:00) – last race I was able to turn a 31 to finish whereas today I all but came around the final corner on my hands and knees…

Anyway.  Quick synopsis of the past week:

Saturday:  Post race, felt great, went out to Messiah and promptly stepped off the road while distracted by lacrosse practice.  Did a number on the same ankle I messed up several times on the trail last Fall.  Was immediately sidelined, hopped to the freezing cold creek and soaked it for 20 mins.  Pissed.  Just when I thought things were coming together…

Sunday:  60 minutes on my new (used) basement elliptical.  Thanks bro!

Monday:  HydroWorx.  Ankle still bad, but in the water it’s A-OK.  16 x 1:00, :30 active recovery.  Awesome workout.  Need one of those in my basement too….

Tuesday:  Car to Newark for first leg of trip, 1 hour on the hotel elliptical beforehand.  Jack Bauer killing people left and right on the iPad, best travel tool/toy ever.

Wednesday:  Los Angeles.  As luck would have it it was colder in LA than it was in Harrisburg, but the sun was out and the shoes were back on.  Ankle felt better, got in 9 miles on the Marina Del Rey – Venice Beach – Santa Monica boardwalk.  With all the Discovery/History Channel reality shows out there, how there isn’t one called “Venice Beach Kush Doc” is beyond me.  Did I blink and miss the legalization of pot?

Thursday: Back to Newark, 42 mins on the streets of Summit, NJ at dusk.  Not too fast, tried to avoid tripping on their terrible sidewalks.  For having the highest taxes on the planet they sure don’t know how to pour a level path.  They do know calamari though…

Friday: 40 minutes on elliptical/recumbent, junk “miles” for the sole purpose of clearing my conscience after the previous night’s calamari feast…

Have to be cautious of the foot moving forward.  Ankle still loose/unstable in some ranges of motion, would be hesitant to hit the Appalachian Trail with all its roots and rocks.  Straight ahead it’s feeling ok though, was pretty scared when it happened one week ago.  Short work week coming up, will probably tailor things to be a little (lot) fresher for this weekend’s race.  There are a couple of miles /800’s coming up in late Feb/March that I am very curious about – a good showing at this distance (1200m) would go a long way towards rebuilding the mental and physical momentum I felt I had last week.  I am not going to let today’s disaster weigh too heavily on my mind, but I still haven’t done anything impressive enough to have the confidence to travel cross-country to run against quality competition in front of people who paid for their ticket.  Big week on the horizon, hope I can ‘make some hay’…

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!
This entry was posted in Competitive Races, Greater Philadelphia's Distance Medley at Milrose Games, Hydrotherapy, HydroWorx Exercise Pool, Running, Running Injuries, Track Sprints, Training for Runs, Uncategorized, Water Running and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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