Tuesday, March 02, 2010

A new PR in the 400

My indoor season ended kind of dismally, so I wanted to end it with a bang and try to get a PR in the 400. When I was "sharpening" for the 5k, I did a workout of 5x400, and I was supposed to do each 400 in 75. I accidentally did the first one in 71.2 without even trying to run so fast, so I thought I had a good chance of breaking my PR of 68.9 in the 400.

The evening of the mini meet proved eventful, as the five guys and I went to the OMAC only to find that it was closed. So our indoor track meet had to move to the outdoor Hope High School track, which was blessed with a very strong wind yesterday evening. This was good for the 200m but not so good for the 400m, which had to fight it.

Lucky for me, two guys also wanted to do the 400m. I was hoping that I could draft off of one of them on the windy stretch from 100 to 200 meters. When our starter said "go," one of the guys (Brian) absolutely took off, and he was gone immediately. However, the other guy (Dave) was faster than me on the start but not much faster than me after that. So after we had done our one-turn stagger in lanes, I cut into lane 1 and drafted off of him down the straight, and stayed out of the wind.

As we neared the 200m mark I prepared to pass him, accelerated, and got right behind him. But as soon as Dave heard me behind him, he accelerated and appeared to simply zoom away. So I spent the curve catching back up to him (didn't want to pass on a curve anyway) and prepared to pass him at the beginning of the straight. However, just as soon as I caught him and was preparing to move into lane 2, he sensed this and zoom! away he went again. About 50 meters from the end, I realized that I was clenching my face all into a scowl, so I relaxed my face for the last little bit and zipped over the finish line in a more proper sprinting form.

Since I couldn't catch Dave, I was afraid that I might not have achieved my goal of a PR. After all, last spring I tried to run a PR and ended up running 70.2, well off my goal. (The fact that I had just done a workout half an hour before the meet might have had something to do with it.) So I was pleasantly surprised to see 65.16 on my watch! The official timer had it at 65.0, so that was nearly a 4-second PR.

I thought it might have been the largest percentage decrease in PR that I had ever achieved from one race to the next, but actually it's not. From 68.9 to 65.0 is about a 6% decrease, which is pretty huge. However, last spring I improved my half marathon PR from 1:40:19 to 1:30:47, which is a decrease of 10% and therefore even more huge.

65 seconds puts the world record at 73.2% of my time, which is the same score as I got in the half marathon. So I am about equally good at the 400 and the half marathon. (For comparison, the world record is 81% of my indoor 3k time, so my indoor 3k is much better.) However, I plan to change that at New Bedford when I hope to run much faster than 1:30:47 for the distance.

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