4/1 Berry Seniority Rules at SacTown

Results Photos

by Thom Trimble

We’re not getting older… no wait… We are; but we’re not getting a heck of a lot slower! While our top seniors may all be AARP-eligible, that acronym must stand for Another Amazing Race Performance!

Four guys, all over 50 and all averaging close to 60 minutes for 10 miles. All without losing a single tennis ball off the bottoms of their walkers! This ain’t your daddy’s weekend stroll baby!

While the Berry Masters have typically been the headliners at most races, SCTC finally got a chance to flaunt their seniors. With enough 40-49 guys to handle the scoring for the masters, the 50+ guys were able to fly alone. Not only did they win by nearly 6 minutes they went 1-2-3-4 in the 50-54 division (double take!)

The SacTown 10 was truly a 10 as far as most races go. Not only was it pancake flat (maybe a couple small blueberries) and somewhat interesting view-wise, but mother nature brought her “A” Game too. Perfect weather, thank you ma’am. The top-flight fields egged everyone on to some spiffy times also. If it did not start and finish in the same spot you’d be guessing some tail winds or down hills had some part in the speediousity. Fast as in 47:37 for the winner, and 3 more guys in the 48s! First woman was under 57 also. Smokin!

As expected, the Berry Amazing Win Streak of the masters squad came to an end. Even with our top 5 guys we still had to bow down to a nasty, home-team Rebels squad. We would have squeaked out a second, with a couple 50s drop downs, but this day belonged to the ever-deserving senior team. Over 200 years of team at that! The masters still put up some good times, led by Jeff Mann’s club-leading 58:15. Matt Bogdanowicz, who rarely ventures past the 5K mark, nearly addeded a sub-60 shirt to his wardrobe; Running 10 miles in waffle racers (on a pancake course!) was “not a good idea”, Matt uttered after the race. Beats spikes.

Completing the 40-49 team, and all finishing within a minute of each other were Steve Kraft (62:17), Mike Singleton (62:48) and Bill Salacuse (63:11). This was Steve’s first PA race (non-relay) for the club since 2010. Mike got some payback on Bill after getting nipped by him at the 12K, but Bill was all smiles anyway, with a lifetime 10 mile PR!

The seniors were the story however. Tim Keenan took the gold medal in the 50-54 class with a great comeback time (59:07) from his disappointing NorCal effort. His main competition came from teammate Barry Smith, not far behind in 59:33. The third man on the team was a surprise – Chatham Ross – who has been on injured-reserve since the end of the 2010 XC season. This was Chatham’s first PA road race since 2006! Jeff Teeters was right on Chatham’s heels into the chute, to finish out the scoring team.

Other Berries not fortunate enough to sneak onto a scoring team included Dan Sivolella (63:19), Thom Trimble (64:39), coach Carl Rose (67:44) and Joerg Herbrechtsmeier (76:26).

SENIORS MEN
1 Strawberry Canyon TC, 4:02:14
20 Points ($150)

Tim Keenan, 50 - 0:59:13
Barry Smith, 52 - 0:59:39
Chatham Ross, 53 - 1:01:38
Jeff Teeters, 52 - 1:01:44

MASTERS MEN
4 Strawberry Canyon TC, 5:07:34
14 Points

Jeff Mann, 48 - 0:58:21
Matt Bogdanowicz, 43 - 1:00:57
Steven Kraft, 48 - 1:02:17
Michael Singleton, 41 - 1:02:48
Bill Salacuse, 44 – 1:03:11

More photos at:
http://www.backprint.com/view_event.asp?PID=bp%1Es%40s&EVENTID=99304

The Blues Brothers – Kraft, Sivolella and Ross

 

3/9 – Romp at the River! Berries Bury Field at NorCal10

They resumed where they left off; the Berry Masters increased their road win streak to five with an decisive win at the NorCal 10 Miler.  The first race of 2012 was in Redding, and unlike most winter events this riverside jaunt was done in overly warm conditions.  With temperatures in the 70s and a nice breeze the times were comparatively modest when lined up against previous results.   SCTC fielded an 8-man squad, hoping to piece together a respectable masters and seniors team.  Approximately 300 runners toed the line for the 10 mile event, but not a huge contingent of PA runners.  Despite a pre-reg roster which listed several of the top age-groupers, many did not show.  This made the club’s task a bit easier.

Short-distance specialist Jeff Mann took the lead early for the Berries, with Tim Keenan and Jeff Teeters not far behind.  Next came Alan Dehlinger and Mike Singleton (who drove up that morning from Modesto!).  Thom Trimble and Bill Salacuse, both running their first PA race in nearly a year, tagged along behind at about 6:30 pace.  Oh yeah, then came Bill Reed, testing out his newly-50 legs.  Newly-50 is the new 40!

Mile 1-ish Bridge and Path

Mile 1-ish Bridge and Path

The first three miles are rolling to flat and included a very scenic view of Mt. Lassen (the only kind there is, if you think about it), along with a trip across the Ribbon Bridge.  The warm weather made the cool tumbling waters of the Sacramento River below look quite enticing.   By 4 miles the fun and sightseeing was over as the course shot up a sizable hill.  Mann continued to lead with Keenan and Teeters in tow.  Reed was moving up quickly, yet politely.  All four were under 6 minute pace at halfway.  Mike, Alan, Thom and Bill S. followed in that order as they traversed the 1.5 mile residential loop.  Mann, the short-distance specialist was reminded of why it was his specialty when his calves began to complain.  Tim took the lead for the club, briefly, before he realized he might have gone out a smidge too fast for such semi-sweltering conditions.   And then alonnnng came Jeff T.  Much like the Republican Primary, with it’s a whack-a-mole leader of the moment, there was yet another front man.  Teeters’ term as club top gun was also brief, as smart-starter Bill Reed took the wheel of the victory express on the return leg.

Bill held the #1 spot to the finish, just missing the 1 hour mark (60 minutes is the new 55!).  Teeters was less than a minute back with a sub-61 while Tim and Jeff M finished shortly thereafter to give the team four men under 63 minutes.

Ribbon Bridge

Ribbon Bridge - 3.5 and 7 miles

Thom eventually caught and passed Alan, but Mike held him off to garner the 5th and last scoring spot on the masters team.  The winning masters team as it turned out.  Mike finished in the mid 66s while Thom just missed skating in under 67 (stupid clock!).  Alan was another minute back followed by Bill with a 70 minute effort.

Since there were no strong contenders in the masters field (or even weeny contenders to be honest), SCTC was able to drop Tim down to the 3-man senior team and allow Bill to score on the first place 40+ squad.  The 1.5x points race gave the masters a 15 point tally, while the 3-man senior squad scrounged 5th(behind all 4-amn teams) good for 9 points.  Both teams faired much better than the 2011 team, which saw the masters in 3rd and no senior team (No Points for YOU!).   More betterly, the arch-rival masters teams (Ags, WVJS, River City) were not able to scare up enough old farts to make a team, giving the Berries an excellent head start to another season title.   Knock on wood  (it’s the new steel!)

It’s legit…uh huh!

NorCal 10 Course Map

 

 

 

 

 

 

07/09 – World Masters Day 1

Hi All,

Results from today in Sacramento, 800 qualifiers. In each heat, the top 3 go through plus the 6 best times.  Sorry if I missed anybody but these are the times I know of today:

40-44

17 Bogdanowicz, Matthew     M42 United States          2:06.12q

45-50

12 Mann, Jeff               M48 United States          2:12.06Q

50-55

41 MacLeod, Ian             M51 United States          2:40.82

55-60

39 Brusher, Bill            M59 United States          2:52.60

Matt went through to the second round comfortably on time, coming in 5th in his heat in a strong group with the top 3 in his heat at 2:02.+ with Heilpern #1 overall at 2:02.64.  Matt had a strong second lap to make up a gap between him and the leaders.  He should be in a good position to go through to the final with a strong race in the semifinal.

Jeff qualified comfortably as well, even though coming off a reduced training month due to a hammie strain at the San Rafael mile.  The first lap was slow, Jeff and the leaders at about 70 s. but he picked it up considerably in the second lap running a very fast 62 s. to slot in easily at third.

Perhaps unwisely, but I couldn’t resist, I decided to race after not training for the last month and a half due to a sore hamstring.  I had a great warm up, doing several all out sprints to test the legs, which felt fine, so I decided to go for it.  I had the bad luck of being in heat 6 of my age group, so I had to spend about 40 minutes in the call area waiting for my heat to start, during which everything stiffened up a bit.  I ran the first lap fairly slowly, about 70 s. and was thinking about making a move on the backstretch to at least make things respectable when I got another twinge in my left hammie as I was passing the guy in front of me, so instantly backed off and basically jogged into the finish and walked across the finish line.  Damn!  I wasn’t even winded!  After looking over the final results in my age group, with some guys qualifying at 2:18+ and another heat with the top 3 guys coming in at 2:28+, I figured that on a normal day with healthy legs, it wouldn’t  have been too hard to qualify for round two.

Bill had a tough race too, fighting a sore achilles, but is still eager to come back for the 1500 in the coming week.  Like he said, a year ago he was battling cancer, and is just happy to be here, so we are all proud of him for hanging in there!

Overall, despite my anemic result, this is the best meet I have ever participated in.  The atmosphere is great, the events run like clockwork, it is fun rubbing shoulders with terrific, passionate athletes from around the world who are the world’s best, I got to practice my rudimentary Spanish with a runners from Spain and Chile, and had lots of other convivial interactions with English-speaking athletes from around the world.  I also had the privilege of meeting the legendary Nolan Shaheed, who, judging from my short conversation with him, is one of the nicest guys you could ever meet.

Who is up for Brazil in 2013?!

Best,

Ian

 

9/26/10 – Zalokar Throws Down a 2:37 to Win Berlin Marathon!

Sunday, November 26, 2010. 9:03 AM. Berlin, Germany.

Success at Berlin: How I Lived Hard, Trained Hard, and Ran Hard

Fred Zalokar’s Story as told to Ian McKeachie

I was standing in the third row of people at the start line of the 37th annual Berlin Marathon, the fastest marathon in the world. All around me, people stood hushed with anticipation, waiting silently as rain fell on them in a steady downpour. A voice came over the intercom: “Zehn sekunden.” Ten seconds. Everyone in the crowd bristled at the sound of the voice, putting their heads down and their hands on their watches.

The voice spoke again: “Fünf sekunden.” Five seconds. Everyone leaned forward.
“Vier.”
“Drei.”
“Zwei.”
“Ein.”
A gunshot rang out, echoing over the crowd, and we were off.
The course ran all along the streets of Berlin, taking participants past many of the historic points in the city. It started and finished in the Tiergarten, Berlin’s largest public park, and took runners past the Reichstag, the location of German parliament. We also passed several remnants from WWII and the Cold War, shockingly out of place in this beautiful, peaceful city.
The most prominent reminders of conflict that I saw started 10K in with the Fernsehturm, a TV tower built by the Soviets during the cold war that has always been a symbol of East Berlin and the Soviet rule. I also remember coming to the Kaiser-Wilhelm Church with less than 10 kilometers to go in the race—this church was bombed by the Allied Forces during WWII. The people of Berlin chose never to rebuild it, in the hope that it would serve as a reminder of what war had done to the city.
Towards the end, we ran through the Postdamer Platz, where a portion of the Berlin Wall still remained, before crossing under the historic Brandenburg Gate and sprinting to the finish. After 26.2 miles (42.195K), I finished with a time of 2 hours, 37 minutes and 3 seconds—109th overall, and 1st in the Men’s 50-54 age group. I grabbed a couple of waters and was herded back out in the direction of the course.
As I watched the other runners heading in towards the finish, I cheered them on and thought about what I’d just achieved. I’d had two goals going into this race—namely, to win my age group and to run a sub-6 minute mile pace—and I’d accomplished both of them, but the training had been anything but easy.
I did four major things to train for this marathon. The first, and maybe even the most important, was something that a lot of runners don’t include in their training plans: diet. When I started training, I made the decision to eat less. A lot less. I cut way back on my calories, and started eating more and more protein. With this, I started to feel stronger, healthier, and more capable of achieving the goals I’d set for myself.
The second thing I worked on was distance training. I started to run, on average, 120 to 125 miles every week. Four weeks out from the race, I got my distance up to 140 miles. Three weeks out was 120. Two weeks was 100; the week before the race was 90, and I ran 50 miles the week of the marathon. This helped my endurance immensely, and I was well prepared enough that I never really hit the wall during the race.
I also switched my footwear when I started training for Berlin. I started using Newton® running shoes, which are made using the principles of barefoot running. The basic idea of the shoes is that, instead of striking on my heel and rolling forward, the shoes caused me to shift my weight up and strike on the ball of my foot, the same way I would if I was running barefoot. This shifted my balance, changed my stride, and improved my overall running technique going into this race.
And, last but not least, I did speed workouts at least three times a week, so that I would be able to pick up my pace when it really counted. Every Tuesday, I would go down to the track and run repeats, while on Wednesdays I would run 10 miles at race pace. On Saturdays, I would do six 2-mile repeats, and really push my pace to the limit. My speed training was essential to the way I performed at the marathon, and I try to include some kind of speed work in every training program I do, no matter what I’m training for. It’s always useful to have that little push in me when things come down to the wire.
The race-day rain made me revise my original pacing plan: instead of going for a 5:50 minute mile pace for the first half, I decided that I would run the first half at an even 6-minute pace, or a little below. Starting in the second half, I started to pick it up a little. I pushed myself harder and harder with each passing kilometer, and I managed to cross the finish line running negative splits by a few seconds.
The Berlin Marathon was an unbelievable experience for me. It was a fast course with a lot of history to it. I’ll never forget what a great race I had there, and I know that, from here, I’ll keep improving, keep training, and—hopefully—run even faster.

Splits

5 km 00:18:43 18:43 03:45
10 km 00:37:05 18:22 03:41
15 km 00:55:38 18:33 03:43
20 km 01:14:30 18:52 03:47
Half 01:18:33 04:03 03:42
25 km 01:33:12 14:39 03:46
30 km 01:51:50 18:38 03:44
35 km 02:10:16 18:26 03:42
40 km 02:29:02 18:46 03:46
Finish 02:37:03 08:01 03:39

07/25/10 – Mann Wins National 45-49 Title in 1500m

Mann Kicks Home to Win 1500m

Mann Kicks Home to Win 1500m

It was hot, hotter and hottest in Sacramento, and the Strawberry Canyon Track Club netted some nice hardware in the form of two bronze medals and one gold medal! Yes, Jeff Mann is the Strawberry Canyon Track Club’s first-ever USA national champion as he won the men’s 45-49 1500-meter race in a stellar performance. Teammate Matt Bogdaniwicz wrote the following effusive email:
Strawberry Canyon TC Masters performance of the year- my vote Jeff Mann 92.46% Men’s 800. No open Strawberry Canyon athlete, or Pacific striders open, master, senior etc has ever reached that milestone. There may have been a 90% somewhere, but doubtful that is like a 4:07 Mile, 14:00 5k, or 29:00 10K at the open level. The 2:02.51=1:49.35 open. I just think it should be recognized somehow. I know Pete Magill use to list performance by % on his site.”
Yes indeed!
Backtracking a bit, the first day of competition was Thursday morning, in which Strawberry Canyon TC stalwarts Thom Trimble and Tim Keenan competed in the 5000-meter event. Divided into age group sections, Thom Trimble ran first and posted a mark of 17:41.52 (11th-place) on a day when the temperature was in the upper 80s and muggy at the start of the race.
Keenan - 17:14 5,000m

Keenan - 17:14 5,000m

Tim Keenan lined up in the men’s 45-49 division of the 5000 and ran a solid time of 17:14.27, not under the 17:00-barrier he’d hoped to crack but then again the conditions did anything but favor a distance runner’s physiological requirement for cool air.

The next round of events for the Strawberries was the 10,000-meter event and the weather did indeed disappoint as temperatures crept up all morning. There was a cruel irony in that the 60-89 men’s race went off at 7 a.m. when it was in the 50s and they actually put up some impressive times, lending false hope to the 10K runners competing in their later morning heats.
The men’s 50-59 heat was combined and Thom Trimble and Jeff Teeters were entered. Jeff had been nursing a sore hamstring and made a race day decision to jump in, realizing he could always step off the track if he felt that dreaded twinge. At one point he openly wanted the conditions to be “120 degrees and with high humidity” so he would be able to grind out a race and not be forced to rely solely on his gimpy hamstring with a faster pace a cooler day would predictably allow for.
The temperatures were already pushing the low 80s and the humidity remained, which slowed things down considerably. Thom and Jeff both went out conservatively, perhaps Jeff’s sore hamstring was a blessing in disguise as he really set himself up for a pretty good run. however (in his own words), he “got greedy” and started charging after some attainable guys in the middle of the race. Thom bided his time a bit and caught back up to Jeff. Thom’s 37:06.05 (4th place) barely missed the medal podium, while Jeff managed to fight his way to 37:23.95, likely not what he had been hoping for timewise but considering his significant tweak he was happy to survive the race intact.

Trimble - 4th in 50-54 10,000m

Trimble - 4th in 50-54 10,000m

Next up was the men’s 30-49 age group 10000 and the weather wasn’t doing the competitors any favors. At one point it started to feel like Jeff Teeter’s weather forecast would be uncannily accurate as the 90-degree weather took it’s toll on everybody. Tim Keenan was able to maintain a strong pace in significantly hotter conditions than the earlier morning races and finished with a time of 37:06.61, good for 6th place in that age group. Coach Carl Rose did not enjoy that morning’s jaunt and finished in 10th in 40:12.82.
Sunday was the final day of competition and the Berries heated things up in the middle distances. First off was the men’s 45-49 age group 800-meter run and Jeff Mann was raring to go despite having various niggles and tweaks (hamstring, back, calves) during the course of the season which were reflected by some up-and-down performances. However he ended tangling in an inspired three-man war and came through fighting tooth and nail all the way until the end. His third-place bronze medal was arguably the club’s best all-time performance (see Matt’s endorsement above) as Jeff cranked out a phenomenal time of 2:02.51. He was just edged by Ireland’s Kevin Forde (2:02.40) and Oregon’s Mike Blackmore (2:01.12). This was one of the best races of the meet, going all the way down to the wire. Jeff was very pleased with his season-best breakthrough and bronze medal.
Bogdanowicz Runs 2:01.99 800m

Bogdanowicz Runs 2:01.99 800m

The wounded warrior brigade continued, as Matt Bogdanowicz lined up in the men’s 40-44 800-meter race with an injured achilles. He managed to run an exciting race, running as evenly as possible with his sore achilles. His 2:01.99 was a season-best performance and he finished 6th overall. He should be able to break 2:00 fairly easily next year if he stays healthy and can train with our stable of sub-2:00 middle-distance runners.

After missing the USATF Club nationals meet with a strained soleus and possible inguinal hernia, Joshua Seeherman could not resist the temptation to race in the USATF meet either come away with a season-ending performance or exacerbating a potentially bad injury. He courageously and perhaps ill-advisedly ran the in the 800-meter men’s 30-34 race, and though his 2:04.09 reflected three weeks of lost fitness, Seeherman was still able to secure a prestigious bronze medal in this event. Those do not grow on trees so regardless of his time, getting a medal for the club, while injured, was huge in my humble opinion.

While some runners can only handle a little over 2 minutes at 800m pace, club member Bill Brusher was able to endure this semi-sprint race for over 3 minutes! It’s not that Bill is a bit slower or out of shape, it’s that he is running with about a third of his red blood cells tied behind his back. As many of you know, Bill is in the middle of chemotherapy to treat his cancer. Chemo is good for treating cancer, but not good for helping runners transport oxygen. Bill’s hemoglobin count of around 10 mg/dl is well under the normal 14-18 mg/dl – almost like running with just one lung. If his blood count drops a bit more, Bill could be the only athlete at the meet who was LEGALLY using EPO (a red blood cell producing drug).

Prior to being diagnosed with cancer Bill had his sights set on running in the high 2:20s and making the finals of the 55-59 division. Rather than pull out of the meet, or even worry about finishing last, Bill pushed forward with his plans. He expected to run about 3 flat and finish last in the prelims. He did – 3:01.68 to be exact. It turned out it would have taken a 2:21 to make the finals anyway.

Bill has only four more chemo treatments and hopes to be cancer free and back to serious training and more hemoglobin soon. Bill turns 60 next summer and will be raring to go for the World Championships to be held in Sacramento in 2011.

Last but not least…on Sunday Jeff Mann had more work to take care of and take care of it he did…in the men’s 45-49 year-old 1500-meter event. He was lined up against some great competition, including all-world 45-49 age grouper Pete Magill, coming back from an injury-riddled season himself, as well as Jeff’s nemesis in the 800-meter race, Kevin Forde. Mann went out in 70 holding on to a solid third and fourth place, with Magill shadowing his every move. The runners cranked, as the race thinned out into a five-man race by the 1K mark, with Forde, Francis Burdett, Andi Di Conti and Magill. Things really got hopping after the bell lap as Mann took the lead with about 300 meters to go. Forde and Magill were a half step behind, dangerously riding Jeff’s coat-tails for a punishing finishing kick. Not to be denied, Mann dug down deeper and fought his way down the home-stretch. He was not about to lose to Kevin Forde a second time, and he crossed the line in a spectacular time of 4:13.90, just clear of Forde’s 4:14, and Magill’s 4:15.
Congratulations to all of the Strawberry Canyon Track Club masters and seniors runners for putting together such inspired efforts and represent us so well at USATF nationals. Great job everyone! (Carl Rose)

06/22/10 – Records Shattered at Chabot

The 1600m – With nearly 150 years of experience in their legs, the Three Masterteers took the Chabot All comers #1 by storm – Tim Keenan, Thom Trimble and Ian MacLeod. The short club senior records were looking somewhat pathetic and we were here to make things right. Thom Trimble and Tim Keenan screamed into the Chabot JC parking lot and sprinted into the track stadium like they were late for a bus. Actually, they were late, or close to it, for the first event of the meet – the 1600m. With a 5:30 start it was nearly impossible to hold down a real job and make it to the initial race with anything resembling warmup. We covered the 400m from car to track in just under 60 seconds, but it was uncertified, so no record.
Trimble was able to get in 200m of extra warm up while simultenously slipping on his racing flats. Keenan was a bit more pedestrian as he sat on the bench pulling off sweats. The field was a variety of talent and ages. Most were pre-teens on the local track club, a couple “normal aged” guys and then a few old farts like ourselves. With meet protocol resembling a rave party, we got to pick our own hip numbers (Accutrak….seriously!). Since 1 through 9 was already taken, I had the extra burden of lugging TWO hip digits around the oval. Damn! The meet guy peeled off a couple of 5′s for me. Cool, 55, Tim Lincecum’s number, and he was pitching at that very moment against Houston. What could go wrong? Tim was given number 22. I think that was Mercury Morris’ number. Fast guy.
The gun went off and a flurry of short people put us to shame over the first 200. Miniature Seb Coe’s and Alan Webbs kicking our ancient butts. But, as it usually is with naive youth, these little munchkins thought Pace was something in a salsa jar. Timmy (Keenan, not Lincecum) and I picked off the little buggers like fleas off a dog. I set my prerace goals high – no one under 4-feet, or named Gramma beats me. With zippo warmup our legs responded like week-old flounder packed in ice. What is usually a very fluid analog physiological event (running) became very digital – left….right….left…right…repeat. Lap one in 78. Argh, felt like 68.
On lap two we reeled in a couple more preschoolers and a lady in a walker – 2:39 – we’re slowing Tim, more coal! I hung on for life to Tim’s back. Actually it was more for a wind break on the back stretch, as we navigated a pass-less lonely lap 3. 4:02….gads, we’re losing oil. Hang tough. No DNF. We were able to put down a semi-respectacle gun lap of 75-76. I decided to share the burden of leading with 100m to go to ensure my pathetic time was slightly less pathetic than Tim’s – 5:17 to 5:18. Third and Fourth. No ribbons for YOU!
The 100m – Yes you read it right. The fricking uno cero cero. Just like the 10,000m, but with 50 less turns. Tim was licking his wounds and speed boy Ian had yet to arrive. The club record for the 100m was….non existant. I was sure to own it. Just had to finish. My right hammy twinged at that moment.
I pulled off my sweats and lined up for Heat 1 – the old guys. Old guys being anyone over 15. Six lanes of raw fast-twitch…and me…in lane 1. The other five guys were doing this bouncy leg-shaky thing, so I did too. Anything to blend in. They all had fancy spikes, and me with my distance flats. Oh, and my thighs were half their size too.
As I lined up at the start I stumbled over some metal contraption. Wussat? Oh yeah, blocks! I knew blocks could do nothing but embarrass me, but not wanting to look like a distance weenie, I did the “get in the blocks” posturing – kneel down, shake out right leg and place in block, shake out left leg place in block, dust of hands and tuck in my necklace. I almost laughed. Really.
Take your marks……seeeehhhhhhhtttttttt………..click! No ammo apparently. That was good, cuz the other 5 guys were 30m down the track and me still stuck to those block things. Destiny delayed. I could see the fear in their eyes. Finally, the gun fired and they were off, then I was off, literally stumbling out of the blocks like I just saw a snake. I swear it took me 3 seconds just to get up and running – not a good strategy in this race. I knew I was a second-half type racer, but I guess that don’t work much when one is 5 seconds down. I spent the last 30m flailing and thinking “do NOT fall down…do NOT fall down”. I leaned. Tim cheered. The fans for all the others were already gone. It was probably not a good sign that I had stopped and was resting a mere 10 meters beyond the finish.
Wadja git me in? Whats my time? Tim had 14.80 on his watch. The finish line guy showed me a hand-scrawled time of 13.37 (Accutrak only has sooo much film ya know). Wow…not bad. Wait….is that a 3 or a 5? DOH! 15.37 seconds. Oh well. Age graded thats like what, 14.50? Club record, nonetheless.
The 800m – My game plan was to take down the pedestriam senior 800m club record of 2:26 point whatever. However, before I could even catch my breath from the 100m, my plans were rudely interrupted, by the third Masterteer – Ian MacLeod. Ian, who turned 50 like eight minutes before arriving, was there for his feature event. “Was that YOU I saw sprinting?” Ian asked me. I could feel the sarcasm, but he hid it well. Trash talk ME will ya? We sprinters don’t like trash talk. I knew Ian could lay down a 2:15 800m with no problem, given the right conditions. He too however fell victim to the micro-warmup. They were calling the 800m runners to the line before Ian could even get his spikes out of the bag. I figured if we could start before Ian got on his second spike I might claim the club record for my very own.
No luck. Ian toed the line with me, a couple other older guys and some 20-something guy. Before the gun stopped echoing in my left ear, Ian was gone. Perhaps he thought this was the 400m. I hung with 20-something as the other two tailed behind. Ian flew through lap one in 65 seconds. I could barely hear the split from so far back. Me and 20 came through in 73ish. I felt good. 1600m pace can do that.
With the club record essentially in Ian’s pocket I focused on earning the #2 spot and getting under 2:26. 20-guy pressed the backstretch as I used him to break the wind. We hit 600m in 1:51. Must….kick….soon. With 80m to go I turned on the “afterburners” and eased by into second place. With 20m to go the afterburners ran out of fuel and 20-something nipped me at the line – 2:25:28 to 2:25:32. Curse you Accutrak! Still good enough for #2 in the record books. Ian scorched the two-lapper in an amazing 2:16.88, almost 10 full seconds under the old record. What could he have done with a little competition and some warm up? Scary.
The 3200m – The final event of the meet. You can tell, cuz everyone has left but the real skinny guys with the watches on their wrist. With speed deamons MacLeod and Trimble left with very few slow-twitch fibers to use, the 3200m was Tim’s to lose. Of course the fact that Tim was the ONLY one running it played into that saying well. The Portugese soccer team had a better chance of losing to the North Koreans. I digress.
To help Tim with his quest of a 10:40-something, Ian and I decided to do some pacing for him. Low-80 second laps would be good, Tim told us. He then proceeded to nearly drop both of us with a first lap 78. Maybe he thought it was the mile again. Tim eased back a bit on lap two with an 81 but my legs were burning and Ian called it a day – dang 800m guys! We hit 1200m in 4:01 – ahead of our 1600m split – and I had yet to take the pace. I guess I was unclear on the concept of pacing; me back here trying to survive the effort. I finally gathered enough manliness and literally pushed by Tim on the inside to take the lead for lap 4. “Get out of my way; I’m here to help!” My goal was not so much to take the burden of pacing from Tim, but rather to record a slightly better mile time than we ran earlier. Who wouldn’t?!
As we approached the mile mark, where I had planned to dnfaoi (did not finish ALL of it), I decided to forge ahead and, um, follow Tim for another lap. We hit the halfway mark in 5:22, only four seconds slower than the 1600m race! We clipped off another 82 lap for a 6:44. I stepped into the infield a few meters later. I would later figuratively kick myself for not gutting out the last 3 laps in pursuit of the senior record of 11:06. I only needed 87s!! DOH and DOH!
At that point 800m specialist Ian took the reigns and dragged Tim through another couple of low 80s laps. He hit the gun lap in about 9:28. A sub-82 would give him his 10:4x time. Little did I know he had planned to do one of those “kick” things. I broke the wind on the back stretch only to see him press by on the inside, in full “grunt” mode that he does when the end is near. My legs reminded me why I had chosen to drop out earlier. With 100m remaining I just yelled “GO” for no apparent reason (one of those coachy things), but it made pulling out seem appropriate. Tim hammered the last lap in around 74 to record a very impressive 10:42. Both of the remaining spectators cheered. That is the second fastest 45-49 time for the club, behind his 2009 effort at the same meet.
We plan to repeat this adventure again next week. Maybe skip the 1600m this time. (Trimble)