Saturday, May 14, 2011

TC 1 Mile Race Report

I know what you all are wondering—did Ryan Hall ever win a "Most Beautiful Baby" contest at Kmart?  Most likely not.  Of secondary importance is how the big duel went on Thursday.  Read on to find out.

Katie and I set out for downtown around 6pm, and thinking that parking would be crazy downtown, I picked out a garage ahead, and we ended up there.  Pulling in, we realized that the Courthouse Ramp may not have been the most popular place to park.  Ignoring that, I parked next to the only other car in the garage (a jerky thing to do, I know) because it was the perfect chance for a submission to Autobuds!

Mine is on the left. Unsuspecting autobud on the right.

We journeyed over to the festivities as the "Friends and Family" wave was getting ready to start.

Lining up with Uncle Sam in the front

The finish line was 1 mile in this direction

Friends and Family on the move

It was time to warm up.  Katie and I tried running up the course, but it was tough weaving through all the people on the sidewalk, so we crossed Washington Avenue and we found a little plaza that was quite empty.  While I was warming up with some strides, Katie came by waving wildly saying "I think it's him!!"  Sure enough, Ryan Hall was warming up on the same plaza.

This should be the paragraph where I tell you that I went up to him, introduced myself, and got him to sign my shoe.  But I didn't.  I didn't do this for 2 reasons:
  1. I'm not the best person at going up to strangers (famous or not) and striking up a conversation.  How do you start a conversation like that? "Hey, you're Ryan Hall!" (I think he knows that.)
  2. He was warming up.  Every runner has a pre-race ritual.  A runner needs to get both mind and body prepared for the race.  If Ryan Hall was in a chatty mood, he wouldn't have been warming up by himself.  I've got my own pre-race ritual, so I respect that.
So, I didn't get to meet Ryan Hall.  Disappointing, yes, but that's okay.  Witnessing him running later, and watching all the elites was a highlight for me.  Maybe someday I'll meet a famous runner.

Back to the action...

I wished Katie good luck, lined up, and then we were off.  The first quarter was uphill, followed by a slight downhill for the rest of the race.  My first quarter was a hair too fast, but not a game-ender.  

The rest was a blur.  The only thing I remember was seeing two friends, Ariel and Brian, as volunteers around Orchestra Hall.  The thing about the mile is that it hurts.  Always has.  Always will.  A mile is a sustained sprint—probably the most painful race a person can run.  With about 200m to go, Steve, snapped a photo of me:

Rounding the curve, I saw the finish and started kicking.  My goal for the race was sub-6.  Final time was 6:01.8.  Very close, but not quite.  A little bit later, Katie came flying in with a time of 7:21.5—her first ever mile!

After we finished, the USA Men's and Women's Championships started.  There's plenty of coverage all over the web, so I won't get into the details, but the short of it was:
  • Sara Hall had a fantastic final 200m and won with a time of 4:31, netting a $10,000 bonus for breaking 4:32.
  • David Torrence won for the third time in a row with a time of 3:58, netting a $10,000 bonus for breaking 4:00.
  • Ryan Hall finished last.  Dead last.
I had a fantastic evening.  I've never been to an event as exciting as this for running.  Running through downtown, the great crowd, the 1 Mile Championships, the Halls—all made for a night to remember.  It was the first time I had ever witnessed a sub-4 mile.  I may not have beat my own time goal, but this one of my top races ever.

Oh, and I crossed the finish line before Ryan Hall.


Hannah said...

Holy cow! 6:01! That's crazy! What you said about the mile being painful is so true! Congrats on a great race!

And Matt, maybe one day you'll BE a famous runner!

Matt said...

Thanks, Hannah!

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