Racing an all out mile is by far the most intimidating distance to me. For the last three years I have raced the mile once each summer. My time has gone from 5:17 in 2013 to 5:20 in 2014 and then even slower this year with a 5:31. For whatever reason I was a little off this June at GoMile in Little Rock so I was very tempted to redeem myself when I had the chance.
I had already registered my older 3 kids and a few days before the race I decided why not- might as well put myself out there and see what I could do. The only problem was my marathon schedule. Marathon training is not always conducive to racing an all out mile. The day of the race I was actually supposed to run 16 miles with 8 @ tempo. I messaged my coach and asked him if / how I could work in this race. I let him know my priority was getting in a good quality workout- not necessarily running a mile PR. I was able to run the 16 miler with tempo (8@ 6:28) on Friday morning so Saturday I could race the mile. I knew my legs would not be fresh or tapered but I wanted to do the best I could and not hold back.
The Wildcat Mile starts behind the Harding intramural fields and finishes on Burks Blvd. which is only about a 5 minute drive from our house! My friend Kerri and I warmed up together and then I did some strides. Both of my girls were also in this race. (There are two heats- women’s heat first followed by the guys.) Last year I ran this race with Abi because she wanted me to pace her. We both quickly realized that was a mistake! We run better together in longer (read: slower) distances.
My strategy was simple- run hard and leave it all out there! I did not set my watch to beep every quarter like I usually do for the mile because I didn’t want to stress/ over analyze this race. I was just going to run it and not make a big deal about it. I think I tend to psych myself out too much with this distance.
The gun went off and the girls took off flying. There were a lot of high school girls running this and I forgot how crazy fast high school girls take off. This made me smile because that was my high school racing strategy too! I think this was my fastest mile start ever. The first quarter I glanced down and I was at a 5:07 pace! One high school girl stayed with just passed the first quarter. I looked down at my watch way too much for this short race. It was hard and fast but it wasn’t awful. I didn’t feel nearly as bad as I did in June. It felt very controlled and smooth despite having run long the day before.
As I rounded the corner before the final stretch I saw John and Ashton cheering. Then I saw the finish line clock was still in the 5:20’s. Official finish time- 5:28. (1st female). Official results can be found here. Overall very happy with how this last minute one mile race went. I think if there’s one thing I learned from this race it’s that I can push myself harder from the beginning. After I finished I turned back to cheer for Abi and Anna as they came in. Abi finished in 7:12 and Anna set a mile PR in 8:57.
Then I jogged back over to the guys starting line. I wasn’t sure if I’d make it to my son’s start in time but since I did I was able to run it with him. I always love being able to run and share race experiences with my kids. My son finished in 8:15.
The mile is a great racing distance because it brings in a lot of runners who might not normally go for a longer distance. It’s a perfect race for kids who don’t have much (if any) running or racing experience. This race definitely had a younger crowd than most of the races I run but it was a lot of fun. I want to give a little shout-out to one of my coaching clients Kerri who set out to break 7 minutes and she smashed it with a 6:32!! Her daughter also ran and set a PR as well!
Overall it was a great morning and we were home from the race by a little after 9! I must say I really like this course. The start was a little crowded but I think the fast start worked to my advantage. I think next year I’ll actually plan this race into my schedule and try racing it on fresh legs! It’s time to go sub 5:17!
When was the last time you raced a mile?
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