(Results) On Friday night, I ran my fourth PR of the year -- 5:04.98 in the mile. This is a huge PR, of over 7 seconds, and it comes after I had already taken 4 seconds off of my PR just five days earlier. So in less than a week, my mile PR went from 5:15.90 to 5:04.98. A year of training has really paid off!
Upon checking in after my warm-up, I was happily surprised to find myself seeded in the second section. (In previous years, I have been lucky to avoid being in the very last section.) Within each section, we were randomized (the person wearing #1 was not necessarily the fastest), and I ended up with #10, in the forward part of the barrel start. Here is a video of the race, from FloTrack:
I was planning on an aggressive start, but everyone went out so fast that I just settled in the back. I was somewhat boxed in, but we came through 209 meters in 38 seconds, so I saw no reason to move. We went through two laps in 76. It felt the way it should -- not super hard -- so I was very happy with how the race was going. When we came through four laps in 2:32, I was thrilled. This was exactly the pace I wanted to be running! 5:04, here I come!
Here is a picture about 10 seconds after the start (we are still in the barrel):
There was a lot of jostling in the pack, even though I was near the back. People kept cutting me off; I had to put my arm out to prevent them from jumping in front of me, and on two occasions I thought the girl in front of me was going to fall down because I was about to run into her. I was thinking, "stop it! all I want to do is run!"I could have gotten away from it by running outside in lane 2, but then I would have to run farther than a mile, so I stayed on the rail.
We came through six laps in 3:48. "Three seconds over 5-minute pace!" I was thinking, and then suddenly the girl in front of me was going down, I was jumping over her, and I found myself on the infield. What the heck?! I had only two thoughts:
1. I've just been disqualified for taking more than 3 steps off of the track. I might as well not even keep running.
2. Get your feet back on the track!
Because I was sort of on autopilot -- I was racing a mile! -- I kept running, got on the track before I even though about it, and tried to catch back up to my group. My first priority was to get my feet back on the track so that I would only take three steps off the track, and in the video you can see that I basically cut off another runner in my attempt to jump back on the track at the first opportunity. As I was accelerating back up to speed, I was thinking that I didn't know how many steps off the track I had taken, but I was pretty sure it was more than three. (In fact, it was probably about eight.)
At that point, I just wanted the race to be over. I didn't really have my head in the game because I knew I was going to be disqualified, so I wasn't thinking about racing other people at all; I was just running as fast as I could.
I ended the seventh lap in 4:27. I instantly added 40 seconds and got 5:07. "Wow, I can still run a PR!" I kicked the last lap, but I wasn't really paying attention and I didn't even know, until I watched the video, that someone passed me at the line. (I did notice Yvonne taking a picture on the backstretch, and I'm looking forward to seeing it.) I was shocked to see 5:04 on the clock as I finished. I thought I would have lost a lot more time than that.
The first thing I did when I was done was to walk up to the officials and ask if I got disqualified. They didn't know, and they didn't even know who I should ask! Steve V. assured me that I wouldn't be disqualified, because I didn't gain an advantage. I was not as certain, because I knew I had taken more than three steps off of the track. After I took my spikes off, I walked up to the timing booth and asked them if I had gotten disqualified. They told me that no one had gotten disqualified in the whole meet so far! So that was a relief. And my coach told me that they would appeal it if I did end up being disqualified (which I never was).
Looking at the video, you can see that I lose about 10 meters from falling off the track. 10 meters is about two seconds, so I should have run at least 5:03. And if I had been with the pack and not distracted by imminent disqualification with two laps to go, I am confident that I would have raced the other runners, and at least tried to pass them all on the outside. I wouldn't have run under 5:00, but I think it's clear that my fitness is at 5:02-5:03 range (at least on BU's track). So I'm very happy with the race, and at least it has given me a good story to tell.
1 day ago