…And The Officials Didn’t Even Wear Tuxedoes!

Millrose Games in name alone. Had to love the classy old tuxedoes....

Millrose Games in name alone. Missed the classy tuxedoes...

When is better not really better?  After experiencing the inaugural “Millrose Games at the Armory”, I think a case could be made for the “new and improved” version.  While I am sure a “meet record” was set in almost every event, and rock music blared over the races that were shown live on the jumbo-tron, it just didn’t have the same old-school feel as the meet did when it was held in Madison Square Garden.  Would you rather run on the historic “boards”, or the “fastest indoor track in the world”?  I guess that depends on whether you are there to try to say you were a Millrose Games champion and ran on the same track as some of the legends of the sport, or whether you were trying to watch yourself on the big screen set a PR to Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger”.  After last night, I think I’d choose option ‘A’….

After pecking out a blog entry on the train on the way up (iPad not made for blogging…), I finished my journey without any issues.  Amtrak review – 4.5 stars.  If they’d hitch up a food car they’d get a perfect score.  Anyway – met up with the Greater Philly team in the lobby of the Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.  The hospital is across the street from the Armory, and they were not letting anyone in to the track facility until 1 hour before the first race.  Not cool – the high school teams were piled up at the door for almost 45 minutes, luckily the “been there, done that” masters guys were smart enough to seek shelter.  I met my DMR team for the first time, felt like I should be taking them out for ice cream or something.  Duke class of 2011?  Wow – he was donning his cap and gown as I was RSVP’ing for my 20th class reunion.  Great group of guys though, we got in a warmup along the Hudson River then had about 45 minutes to take care of our own business before race time.

Luckily I didn’t have to resort to the Force throat-grab thing...

8 teams ended up showing up for the Club Championship DMR.  We ended up getting seeded 8th, but somebody must have gotten lost because #9 was to my right as we were led out onto the track.  The age-demographic of the field was pretty much the same as the rest of my team (U25).  Three of us were herded  out to the second waterfall, and in an attempt to psych-out the guys to my left and right I mustered my best Darth Vader voice and menacingly rasped “Hey Team Gothem – I am your Father”.  I could tell he could sense the Masters ‘Force’ next to him and immediately lost his mojo…

Was shooting for 32 second laps – 32, 64, 1:36, 2:08, 2:40, 3:12.  I felt this was a fairly conservative but realistic plan.  It was a one turn stagger – nothing crazy at the gun, “settled” in to last place as we made our way down the back stretch.   Stayed there through 4 of the 6 laps as the field separated into two packs.  I eventually moved from 8th to 5th, into the lead of the “not lead” group.  Could see my splits on the start line clock, and could tell they were pretty much right where I wanted them.  Was patient with the “big move”, and felt pretty good through the finish.  3:10.6 or so – a PR – of course that and a dollar will get you a vanilla cone at McDonalds…

Splits (give or take) – 62.2/64.5/63.9.  Can’t complain – being a weird distance it’s hard to say what that would equate to in the 800m or mile, but again, considering what an up and down winter it’s been thus far I will definitely put it in the ‘positive’ column.  I obviously still have a lot of work to do, but things seem to be coming around.

The rest of my team hung in there, but the two groups continued to separate.  After some mid-race jockeying we were able to reclaim and then hold on to our number 5 position and finish in 10:24.  Not bad since some of the teams seemed to be stacked top to bottom with post-collegiate studs.  For an up and coming team I think we represented ourselves well, and as the “token” senior citizen I think I held my own.  Glad to have gotten the chance to race, but it just wasn’t the same Millrose Games I remembered…

Based on the results, and my “you can always scratch but you can’t always enter late” mentality, I dropped $25 and entered the invite 800m race at the indoor national meet.  I would love to run the race, it’s the travel that is proving to be extremely daunting.  To say that it’s tough to get from Harrisburg to Albuquerque is the understatement of the year – not that getting anywhere from here isn’t a challenge, but that remote corner of the planet is proving to be a particular challenge.  The race is Sunday (2/26) afternoon at 1:15pm, but there are no flights leaving afterwards that get me back here Sunday night.  Considering I’d have to spend all day Saturday getting down there, I don’t think I am willing to make this a Saturday-Monday affair.  If I can “find a way” I’ll go, but not at the expense of all my time off.  Stay tuned…

90 minutes on the elliptical this afternoon, hope to get in the pool tomorrow.  Wednesday-Friday trip this week up to Vancouver, no plans to race this weekend so I think I’ll be able to get in 10+ days of good training.  Slowly but surely I think things will start coming around.  One of these days I’ll get out to the track and officially kick off the speed portion of the soon-to-be-over indoor season, but for now these races are going to have to suffice.  It’s all good….

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, HydroWorx Exercise Pool, Indoor Nationals, Millrose Games, Running, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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