Ah, the old season opener. Success means great things to come later in the season. Failure means it’s a “rust-buster” and the runner is just coming off an injury/was sick last week/hasn’t done any speed work yet/was just doing it as a workout/hasn’t raced on an indoor track in two years /just had a minor surgery that morning, blah blah blah. Fortunately (or unfortunately), most of these didn’t apply to me (except the last two). Not that I used those as excuses, I swear.
In any case, I ran the Hal Brown Last Chance meet last Friday in Toronto. Despite my many protests, Steve entered me in the 1500m. I would have much rather run a 3000m, but the 3k hasn’t been very competitive at Hal Brown in the past few years. Of course, Steve turned out to be right (as usual), as the 3000m was won in 10:15 while the 1500m proved to be a complete gong show. Besides, if I am focusing on the 1500m and the 5000m over the outdoor track season, I should at least pretend to be a 1500m runner during the winter and during my indoor track season which started and ended at Hal Brown. My training this year has included some work at 1500m pace on the track, so I wasn’t entirely unfamiliar with the effort level.
The meet was running on time or maybe slightly behind, but I still managed to barely make it to the start line on time. I did my warm up jog with some of the Guelph women, and between my suburban and their rural backgrounds (it’s a joke, see, because they go to Guelph, which was and still encompasses an agricultural college), we lacked the necessary big-city navigation skills and got lost in Toronto. After asking a few pedestrians for directions, we eventually made it back to the track. So there I was, having just laced up my spikes thirty seconds ago and having done a total of zero strides, about to throw myself into a race where the top seeds were aiming for 4:30.
As expected, the pace felt crazy fast from the start. I stayed at the back of the pace so as to avoid going out too aggressively. Nevertheless, after about 300m, I started to remember how bloody hard a 1500m is as the Guelph runners put a gap on me and I wanted to quit indoor 1500m races forever and take up ultramarathons. But instead of doing that, I kept pushing and worked my way through a few runners in the last 500m. I worked my way up to fourth place, finishing in 4:40.52. Not bad for someone ranked tenth going into the race (admittedly, one or two ranked ahead of me were rabbiting teammates).
I was a bit disappointed with my effort immediately after the race, but I came to realize later on that it was a decent season opener for me. My time was actually the second-fastest I have run indoors (behind a 4:36 that I ran on the Ottawa 400m indoor track which converts to a 4:38 on a 200m track, so I’m not sure if it counts…anyway…) It was tough for me to be so far behind Courtney Laurie and the Frost sisters, but I realize that they have run quite a few more races this year than I have. I’ll be looking forward to going at it again after more training and some more racing to shake off the haven’t-raced-since-national-cross rust.
So, in the end it was a decent day in Toronto. Except for the part where after the race, I had the worst case of track hack I’ve ever experienced in my life. First there was the uncontrollable coughing, which was so violent that I was forced to run for the nearest garbage can and vomit the entire contents of my stomach. So, another first for me: my first post-race puke.
I suppose I ought to write about how I’ve been training like a crazy person over the past two months and such, but honestly, I’ve utterly failed at blogging since mid-January, so I had better get this one online before I start rambling about the next thing and get carried away and spend another week on it. I’m racing the Really Chilly 10k on Sunday, so at least I have some future blog fodder that will force me to update. At least I won’t be able to complain about dry air and coughing fits after a road race.