Yes you read it right, I recently raced a 3000m on the track. First off, let me explain that the last time I ran a track race was back in the summer of 1999 (the year I graduated high school). That means it has been 11 years nearly since I last raced on the track. For that very reason, I was nervous as heck for this race. It wasn't a big race per say, just a small club meet where not many older people run. It really wasn't the race itself that made me nervous, it was more so the fact that I had many people who used to know me 11 years ago, tell me that they were looking forward to watching me race again. Ugh.
You see, I was an all star track kid running a smoking 5:19 1500m at age 10. I continued to be an all star until Grade 9 where things went downhill. They continued sub par until I quit competing in track at the end of 1999. I was a frustrated athlete with a coach who basically said to me "put in more effort or quit and move on." Wrong thing to tell a frustrated athlete as I pretty much gave up at that point. You see, it came naturally to me as a kid and then after puberty a certain amount of effort was required. I did not comprehend that concept at that time and didn't put in that extra effort, hence the sub par results.
Since 1999, I have done road races and some trail races, but no track races. Sure I did some workouts on the track, but never a race. The thought of it scared me. It scared me to get back on the track and not run faster than when I was 13 years old. Then after my Eugene Half, my coach Matt decided that it might be a good idea to work on some speed and in doing that, to jump into a track race. It was either do a time trial by myself (boring!) or get into a race. The plan was to run a Victoria Track Series 3000 on May 15th; however, that changed when I was already booked to attend my sister's boyfriend Grant's graduation celebration in Vancouver that afternoon. So since I couldn't make the race on the 15th, the next option was to race here in Nanaimo on the 23rd.
Luckily for me, one of my good competitors Melissa was also going to run this. I thought that this was perfect as we could work off each other and hopefully both run a smoking fast (well for us) time. She had recently done a 10:25 on a windy night and I had done a 3km road trial back in March in 10:20. I figured we were perfect for each other so I was looking forward to it!.
I arrived at the track and registered, only to be told "you were running faster when you were 13 than you are now" after I advised that I was hoping to at least equal my road trial. Nice eh? Thanks for the vote of confidence. Did I mention I don't train for 3000's anymore and that I have been half marathon training for the last 6 months? Some people.
Anyways, I did my warm up and felt pretty good. Nerves were still there, but I kept them pretty controlled. I supported Becca in her 2000m which was for the BC Summer Games Trials while finishing my warm up. Before I knew it, we were on the line. There was only 5 of us, all girls as they couldn't run guys and girls together (they would go on to run us 5 and then a separate race for 2 guys). I was the oldest, then Melissa and then 3 girls all under the age of 17. Those girls went out fast, but before I knew it, it was myself and Melissa 1-2.
I know we went through the first lap in 1:19 or 1:20. I slowed for the next lap to 1:22 or 1:23 I think. After that I have no idea what my splits were. My garmin memory became full and I couldn't hear the times the guy was reading out. Why wear my Garmin on the track? To auto record my splits and upload them to my computer. I definitely do not use it for distance/pace. After 2 laps, memory was fully and no longer recorded my time. Darn.
Basically I was thinking I was capable of 10 flat to 10:10 based on recent training. I fell off that pace quickly without even realizing it. Unfortunately, it wasn't Melissa's day either as she fell off pace and soon I was basically racing myself. I don't know when she fell off or how far behind she became, all I know is I couldn't hear her directly behind me. I tried to keep the pace strong and I thought it was consistent.
Apparently it was fairly consistent but at too slow of a pace. I wish I had known my lap times! Grr. I heard the time at the final 200m for the first time since 800m into the race. I heard 9:40 something to which I thought darn, way off the goal and kicked it in to finish in 10:20.2 which basically equals my road trail time. Doh. Not what I was looking for; however, the race felt much easier than the 10:20 I ran back in March, so that is a good sign that there is more to come from this gal!
I finally beat my PR from either grade 7 or 8 (can't remember the exact year but it has to be before grade 9 when it all went downhill) of 10:34. Woo Hoo! I also caught the itch to want to do another track race! I want to improve on my 10:20 and next time I will be sure to know my splits. In the end I felt strong the entire way and look forward to whenever I get a second attempt at another 3000!