On Saturday I ran in a one mile race. Yes, you read that correctly- ONE MILE. The last time I raced an all out mile I was 18 and a senior in high school. That was over 16 years ago. In college I ran the 1500 a few times but usually the 3000.
When I first read about this race a few months ago on Arkansasrunner.com I honestly didn’t think much of it. My first thought was- why would I drive all the way to Little Rock to race 1 mile? We live about an hour from Little Rock which is not necessarily far but any race outside my city requires more time and planning with the kids.
Then about a month ago I got an email from the go! Mile elite race coordinator who offered me a comped race entry. I read more information about the race and discovered that there was actually prize money for the top three overall finishers male and female. So I decided as intimidating as racing an all out mile sounded I could not pass up the opportunity. I emailed her back and submitted my registration. A week later she emailed me again and said that The Capital Hotel in Little Rock had a select number of rooms for out of town elite runners and would I be interested. Would I?!! A night out with J at a four star hotel with no kids?! I think it took me all of two seconds to respond- “Absolutely!!!”
So on Friday afternoon J and I headed to Little Rock and left the kids with my in-laws. Coincidentally it was their 38th anniversary so I thought it was very generous of them to keep four children on their special day.
The Capital Hotel is awesome and we had a great time! We walked around a little after checking in and ate dinner at one of the hotels restaurants. We didn’t stay out too late though because it was a race night and I was getting in my usual nervous/ anxious pre-race mode.
|My race packet was ready and waiting for me in the hotel room- that’s a first!
|John and I inside the Capital Hotel|
My A Goal was to run a 5:20 (or faster) but I really didn’t know how realistic that was. My fastest mile ever was 16 years ago when I ran a 5:27 in high school. This brings me to my B Goal- anything 5:26 or faster. I just wanted to beat my high school time! I didn’t really have another goal. If I ran slower than a 5:27 I would have been a little disappointed in myself because based on other recent race times I should be able to run faster than that. However, a mile is a tricky race. There is really no time to make-up time. It is a sprint from start to finish and every. second. counts.
Last September I randomly decided to run a timed mile around the track by myself. I ran as hard as I could and finished in 5:29. I knew then that I wanted my next timed mile to beat my high school time.
As I’ve mentioned before on this blog I have been using this summer to focus on speed training. For the first time in over a decade I am following a 5K training plan- not a marathon training plan. Mileage is lower and the speed work is faster! In the last few weeks I’ve even switched up a few 5K track workouts for some 1 mile/ 1500 workouts.
Saturday morning we were able to sleep in until 7! What a treat! I had some oatmeal but I could barely eat any of it because I was so nervous. (This brings me back to my general racing rule- the shorter the distance the more nervous I get!)
My race was the last heat at 8:50. I was actually a little nervous about that because I knew with every passing minute it would get warmer and warmer. We left our hotel around 7:20 and we were at the race by 7:45 which meant I had about an hour to kill.
There were hundreds of people at the race and it was quite a fun family friendly atmosphere. The go! Mile has 7 different racing heats:
My goal was to run 80 second quarters (or faster) in order to hit a 5:20. I also wanted to place in the top three but with a distance like a mile there is always the possibility of an unknown high school or college age girl coming out and surprising everyone. The mile brings out a lot of younger (and faster) competition! The day before the race I actually changed my watch setting from beeping every mile to beeping every quarter so I could know my splits. So glad I did this!
|Good question. I guess we’ll find out…|
I watched one of the heats run and then found the restroom. Then I figured it was time to warm-up. It’s always a little challenging to “warm-up” when it’s over 80 degrees but I know it must be done. I decided to just warm-up about 1.5 miles and do some strides. Part of my warm-up was on the race course so I knew where each quarter mile was. The race itself is one big lap and it is located in a way that you can actually see runners almost the entire way as they run around which is pretty cool for spectators. Before too long it was time to line up.
|Let’s do this already!|
|The Start of the Elite Heat|
|I’m the one in pink next to the guy in red on the far left- photo courtesy of AR RRCA|
0.25- 74 seconds. A little faster than I had planned but I told myself I could do this!
0.50- 78 seconds. By the halfway point I was starting to feel tired but I knew the third place female was right on my heels so I could not let up at all.
|Right around the halfway point- third place female is right behind me in the blue- photo courtesy of AR RRCA|
0.75- 82 seconds. Uh oh! I was hoping not to see anything 80+ but I knew during my warm-up that the 3 quarter was going to be my toughest. Even though I had slowed down I was still passing several of the men and no one was passing me. I knew I was prepared for this pace and I still had some fight left in me for the last quarter.
1.00- 77 seconds. Once you reach the 3rd quarter a race volunteer rings a cowbell so you know you are on your last “lap.” I kicked it into my fastest “all I have left” gear. I knew that these final seconds could make the difference of going sub 5:20 or not based on my other quarter splits. I gave it everything I had.
|photo courtesy of AR RRCA|
|photo courtesy of AR RRCA|
5:17:99. (I’ve got to say I love that .99!)
2nd female overall (out of 249). 1st was 5:05 and 3rd was 5:24.
Official race results can be found here.
|John and I after the awards. Yes, I bought him his shirt! Lol!!|
A one mile race is very different (for me) but exciting. It surprised me how much fun I had “only” racing a mile. I think every runner regardless of their racing times should put themselves out there and test their speed occasionally in an all out mile. It requires training, focus, strategy, and race execution just like any other racing distance.
Go! Mile was a very well run and organized race. I will definitely be back to run this one next year! I loved that this race brought out so many runners that might not necessarily come out for other races- including 5K’s. I think the “First Mile” (the heat for new runners and inexperienced racers) was a great race to include in the running events. There were all ages and talents represented Saturday at go! Mile and that made it even more fun. If you live anywhere near central Arkansas you should definitely consider adding this to your racing calendar for June.
The entire weekend was amazing and I am thankful I was given the opportunity to race in it this year. HUGE thank you to Joyce Taylor, the Elite Coordinator for go!Mile for organizing such a fabulous weekend! I know there were many others who helped coordinate and volunteer for this event as well and they all did a great job. Thank you!