Six days closer to nationals, this one definitely has a different feel to it ever since we signed on for this relay. In December 2009 (about 7 months before I started this blog) Chuck Shields set up a Greater Philadelphia 4×800 relay at the Armory in NYC that was put together with the intent to go after the US club record (four members all from the same USATF team). I can’t remember what time we were shooting for, but we (Scott Landis, Bob McGinty, Kevin Forde, and me) ended up blowing it out of the water, running 8:07.48. We all went out to dinner to celebrate, then while eating we were contacted by a teammate who informed us that he had checked the masters web site at home and had seen that we had not only broken the club record, but also broken the American 4×800 relay record (all members American). More celebrating ensued. Then, to top things off, we were notified by another teammate that the American record just happened to be the current world record (all members over 40 and human), so we were the new record holders!. Not a bad day at the oval office…
The big difference between then and now is that as cool as that was, I had no idea what was going on back in 2009. I knew the time we were shooting for, and I knew as a newly minted 40-year old running anchor that I would be able to pull my own weight. The stakes were not life or death, and the WR was a huge unexpected surprise. A fun feather to put in your cap and bullet on your resume. This time things feel different. When push comes to shove, we are putting this thing together for one reason and one reason only – to dethrone Mr’s Hinton, Pope, Paulk, and Young, four masters legends who have set the bar pretty darn high. Their 2004 mark (7:54.17) will not go down without a fight. I’m glad I will be teamed up with three guys I know and respect, and although we won’t be doing it as a club (which up to this point I’ve really preferred), I definitely feel that we’ll all have the “I’ve got your back” mentality when the going gets tough. There probably won’t be another chance to do this, so I definitely don’t want to be the one to let the other guys down. It will probably take 4 legs under 2:00 to do it, and even with that a couple guys are going to have to step up to the plate and run some 1:57’s or 1:58’s. I would love to be the one to deliver like I was able to do back in 2009 (1:57.5), but it has become glaringly obvious that I am not 40 anymore, and I can’t take anything for granted. There is something fulfilling about taking on a challenge head-on, and I think all four of us are looking forward to this fairly Herculean task. We won’t be going in fresh, with each of us being entered in an earlier event or two, and we probably won’t have anyone else to pace us during the relay, but despite this I like our chances. Either way it’ll be a lot of fun, and hopefully there will be victory dinners again like there were in NYC almost 3 years ago – it would be pretty freakin’ cool to have my name on both of the world marks….
Last week’s workouts in a quick nutshell – Monday intervals and Tuesday distance in the pool, Wednesday 6 miles in Burbank CA. 6 miles locally on Thursday, back in the pool on Friday for a one hour fartlek style run. Road trip (we ‘get’ to stay hotel … hoorah!) softball tournament all day today (Saturday), luckily I found a ‘Rails to Trails’ in Lewisburg PA and snuck out for a fun 6 miles. Very cool run, the folks between Lewisburg and Mifflinburg did a great job laying out this trail – I’m very jealous, and wish we had something like this around our area. I’ve felt ok on all these workouts – I wish I could say I had a ton of energy and a lot of hop in my step, but I’d describe most of the runs as average. The pool work feels really good, but some of the road mileage has been sort of blah. I’ll start to cut back a bit starting tomorrow, and will focus on the whole rest and diet thing more closely so that hopefully I will be at the top of my game come Sat/Sun of next week.
More on that in the upcoming week, with 7 days to the new ‘main event’ I need to start babying this old body a bit. As we used to recite during my Naval Academy plebe summer – “On the strength of one link in the cable, dependeth the might of the chain. Who knows when thou may’st be tested? So live that thou bearest the strain!” The “test” is coming Sunday afternoon, hopefully I’ll be ready to “bearest the strain”!