Vacationing, Track Style

After punching the two world record tickets on my first two tries, a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.  With the US Indoor Nationals this weekend, then the WMA Indoor World Championships in late March, there is still a lot of indoor racing to be had but the goals will shift from performance-based results to medal-based, which makes a big difference.  All I want to do from this point forward is win, or at least give it my all in the quest to do so.  Times become secondary as the races can and probably will become tactical at some point – there will surely be races chock full of “strategery”, where sometimes the smartest runner will win instead of the most fit.  I am ready for the challenge, but also ready to kick back and enjoy the ride a little bit, something that I don’t think I was really able to do much the past month…

I leave for Boston and the Reggie Lewis Center on Thursday, for what I anticipate will be my first meet “triple” since the PIAA State Championships in 1987.  Like I talked about last post, I have become fascinated by my new event, the 400m.  I originally considered running the 400 because it was on the first day of the meet (Friday), allowing me to come back fairly fresh on Sunday in the 800m.  The more I thought about it the more excited I became to run it.  Even after I decided to add the mile on Saturday I did not cancel my plans to run on Friday as well.  I ended up entering all three – I will play things by ear and see how I feel but as long as I hold up I hope to run them all.  While all three will present different sorts of challenges, I anticipate the 400m will be my toughest event.  The competition in that event is particularly stiff, with a herd of talented sprinters creating a very solid field – as, if not more than, the M40 age group.  When I ran my race at Bucknell and entered my time I thought I would be among the race favorites – when the gun goes off I will feel fortunate to even be in the fast heat!  There are worse things than being the underdog though, so I plan on letting it rip and see how an 800/miler can stack up against the guys in blocks (I will be easy to spot – I’ll be the one standing at the start….).

The mile is on Saturday and if I am still kicking on Sunday I’ll jump in the 800 that morning.  Should be a fun time, sure I will meet some new folks in both my new event as well as my new age group.  M45-49 will be my first age-group move since starting masters – I’ve seen and heard a lot about it but it’s not something that happens very often (actually, every 5 years, give or take a leap day or two).  The whoooole gang is coming up for this one, just like Boston in 2010 – parents and kids along with the wife and I – so it should be a good getaway around hopefully a good meet.

5 days after returning from Boston I am jumping in the back of a FedEx flight bound for London to start the quest for some world championship hardware.  The WMA Indoor World Championships are being contested in Budapest, Hungary March 25th-30th.  I have been looking forward to this experience for the better part of a year – the location was very alluring, and the timing of my 45th didn’t hurt my chances at reaching the podium.  Just my family is going on this one – the school principals were surprisingly cooperative regarding yanking the kids out of school for 8 days (they probably didn’t anticipate the 79 snow days it seems like we’ve had this winter), both administrators recognizing the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity the girls have to get some “real life social studies” experience.  I’ve entered both the 800m and the 1500m in this one, contested over 6 days.  We’re tacking on a little 5 day excursion to Italy after the games, figured once you’re over there you might as well live it up a little.  That, and once I’m done I think I’ll deserve a couple pizza/pasta benders in the cradle of carbohydrates…

So, an easy week is on tap to recover from Saturday night while at the same time preparing for Fri/Sat/Sun in Boston.  I ran 60 minutes easy in the HydroWorx pool on Sunday to get the blood flowing in my sore legs, then just a touch of quality yesterday to avoid a full week of shuffling.  10 x one-minute intervals in the pool instead of my usual 20, will start easing it back down today to hopefully be fresh for Friday afternoon’s flat-out 400.  What a difference 13-months make – after Hartshorne 2013 I was headed to the land of 12-25 lap races at mind numbingly slow paces.  Now I own spikes purchased from the sprinting page of Eastbay, and am planning on cutting loose like I never though I would ever do again.  Age is just a number, and strength/mobility cannot be understated. No wonder Mark Gomes didn’t release his book until after he retired – he was sitting on the secret codes!  Win, lose, or draw the next three weeks should be a blast, it’s been a while since I was this excited to just get out there like a schoolboy and just run.  “Race you to the swings….!”

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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, HydroWorx Exercise Pool, Interval Training, Masters Running, Masters Track, Outdoor World Championships, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Vacationing, Track Style

  1. peter taylor says:

    Well, Nick, I always tell people that I learn what happened in the meet by reading about it later, not by trying to remember the details from having been there. I had no idea that you had run 52.37 in the 400; nor did I think you could possibly beat Robert Thomas, who ran 49.62 at worlds in 2009. But you did beat Robert, and you did run 52.37. Before I looked up the results I thought you had run about 53.50.

    In the 1-mile event you scored a tactical victory over the talented Landen Summay, and in the 800 you ran 1:59.26. I guess that Melanie was pretty impressed.

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