Let The Games Begin…

Well, I guess the 2013 season has technically begun, because even though I never actually got my spikes laced up I have a time in the books.  I ventured up to Penn State for the third year of their Indoor Mile Series Saturday morning.  I still think this is the best kept secret out there – 4 one-mile races spread out throughout the winter, all on a world-class track, FAT timed, good competition, and all for the low, low price of FREE (club membership required).  Comparing that to driving 3 hours each way to New York City to run at the Armory ($18 for tolls, $72 for gas, $25 to park, $8 for 8 large McDonald’s Diet Cokes to keep me going on the drive home at 1:00 am), these races are a no-brainer.  Having committed to the Hartshorne Mile on 1/19, this was a great place to see where I stood since I hadn’t done much in the past 4 months to prepare for running “fast”.

Backing up a day, after returning from the great white north on Friday morning I jumped in the HydroWorx pool for my easy ‘pre-meet’ day.  I always run barefoot in the pool, but on this day I noticed right away that the ball of my foot was very sore.  I threw on my pool shoes for the run, an easy 30 minutes.  When packing for the race that evening I included my road flats as a precautionary measure, which turned out to be a good move.  Warming up Saturday morning my foot was still bothering me a little bit even with my big old ASICS Nimbus’ on.  With it being January 5th I decided that if there was ever a time to be cautious it was now so I gave up on the spikes and went with my flats for the race.  It never bothered me during the race, but I can tell it is still there…

As for the actual race, I set my expectations relatively realistic.  I knew I hadn’t done any speed work, and have come to the realization that the days of rolling out of bed and running 4:25 have long since passed.  I thought maybe I could run 4:30, so I set my internal pace clock with that in mind.  I didn’t challenge the hoard of Penn State club guys who tried to get out in front of me – as much as I hate running with college guys (especially at the aforementioned Armory) I have to give these dudes credit – the ones who broke out ahead of me stayed ahead of me, and the ones who stayed behind knew what was “too rich for their blood”.  Nobody ran a 4.47 40-yard dash to the rail only to then decide that it was time to slam on the brakes and cause the obligatory pile-up behind them.  Nice job Club PSU!  I went through the quarter in about 67 and in about 4th place, and gradually moved up to second.  I was a little ahead of pace early, but 2:15 at the half+ was about as good as I could hope for.  Probably let down my guard a little bit in the third quarter  – (probably not the first or last miler to have that happen), but felt like I closed pretty good – 4:30.78, distant second.  Not bad, probably would have been better if I didn’t pull a lung muscle with about 600m to go – definitely still have some work to do – but all things considered I was happy with the effort and the result.

The only thing better than losing a record is losing a record you didn’t really know you had.  Apparently I was the club indoor miler record holder, but the youngblood who took this week’s race ran a very impressive 4:23.92 to take it.  Anyone who says they don’t care when somebody erases their name from the record book is probably lying, but in this case Will Allman definitely earned it and I am happy for him.  I’d be happier if I thought I could get it back, but that is some rarefied air for this aging miler.  We’ll see how Hartshorne goes with both my spikes and game-face on, hopefully I will be back to challenge Mr Allman in a couple of weeks…

Will Appman, new record holder.  "I'm #1!"  Very original....

Will Appman, new record holder.
“I’m #1!” Very original….

Was nice for the Nittany Valley Running Club guys to include the vanquished record-holder in their web site wrap-up.  Definitely sympathetic gesture...

Was nice for the Nittany Valley Running Club guys to include the vanquished record-holder in their web site wrap-up.
Definitely sympathetic gesture…

Easy four mile cool-down afterwards, then 10 miles easy today after dark.  Very peaceful, just me and my flickering red light, I picked some less-traveled roads so I avoided getting run over.  Think the total road mileage for the week was around 45 or so, definitely a high for me since the “comeback”.  That, plus a couple stints on the elliptical and HydroWorx made for a pretty big week.  I’m guessing I’ll throttle that back a quite a bit the next couple weeks, as the Hartshorne race will probably be one of only one or two races all indoor season that I truly circle on the calendar.  Foot aside I feel pretty good though – I wish I could shed this pesky extra 5 lbs, but other than that it has been a good 9 weeks now.  Knock on wood….

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 Aquatic Fitness, Competitive Races, Indoor Nationals, Running, Training for Runs, Uncategorized, Water Running and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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