Have the bags packed to head back home after a long 4 days here in Albuquerque. Would have been a much better visit had I not been coughing and sneezing for the first 3 days, but what are you going to do. After having to DNS (Did Not Start) the mile on Saturday, things began looking up health wise Saturday evening. Woke up this morning feeling pretty good, so we headed for the convention center this morning to try to save face in the 800m and make this trip worth the effort….
My warmup around a couple of city blocks was the first “running” I had done in almost a week. Didn’t overdo it figuring I might as well save what limited energy I had left after fighting this bug for the past 5 days. Made sure I was loose, then shut it down and just waited. Had planned on trying to run 3 even paced laps around 30 seconds, then hopefully I could bring it home on lap four and come in under 2:00.00 – not the loftiest goal I have ever set, but I was trying to be a realist taking all the variables into consideration (health, altitude). I was unfamiliar with most of the field, so had no idea what to expect once the race got rolling – I totally underestimated the battle which was about to unfold…
A lot of these races are won by guys who are head and shoulders better than the rest of their field – ‘runaway’ wins so to speak. With this being said, our race (M40 800m) was the race of the day. After the race starter tried to send us on our way with a blank in the chamber (“runners take your mark….click”), he got it right the second time. I took the lead, only to get blown away by unknown guy #1. No problem, I rarely get to follow so I tucked right in. At about 350 meters I sensed falling behind my target pace, so I passed the leader and took the lead back – unbeknownst to me followed closely by unknown guy #2. I took us through 600m right around 1:30.00, only to get blown away by said opponent #2. (For the record, this was more action than the meet had seen in the last 17 races combined). “Fight’s on!” as they say in Naval Aviation – here we go! I again got on the leaders hip, and considering all the things I was worried about going in, I quickly planned a last minute “jump” – push all my chips to the center of the table and see if I could steal one back from this “kid” at the buzzer. Followed as close as I could – deep down inside I could tell that I hadn’t been to the “well” yet so I was liking my chances…..
Started to shift into the highest gear available at the top of the turn, came off the bank in lane 2 and started pulling alongside with 50m to go. Kept the momentum going and got him at the wire by a couple of yards. 1:59.67 I think – will check on this and the splits when the dust settles. Happy with the results – after all I went through here I couldn’t have asked for much more. Unknown #2 turned out to be a 40 yr old from the Eliot Track Club in the Boston area – Mark Gomes – who will obviously be someone to add to the growing list of guys to be aware of in the future. That list seems to be growing fast. A great race for us and the fans, could have gone either way.
Time now to start heading home. Hopefully I’ll make it home tonite, since I am jumpseating I don’t have a ticket so you never know. More to follow when I have more time – for now it’s time to get completely healthy and figure out a plan for the next couple months. The mile high experience was a check in the box – been there, done that, got the medal to prove it. Adios New Mexico!
Addendum: Splits, for whatever they are worth… #1 30.16, #2 30.68/60.84, #3 29.76/1:30.60, #4 28.89/58.65/1:59.49