Wednesday, March 2, 2016

USATF East Region and NE Masters Indoor Track Champs

Due to snowshoe race postponements, I realized that I could give the indoor 3000m another try at the USATF East Region and NE Masters Indoor Champs. I wasn't happy with my 10:58 at BU and wanted to give it another practice run before New Englands on 2/21. I was warned that this track was "slow" compared to BU, but I felt confident that I could still pull off a faster time. Since I was traveling so far for a track meet, I decided to sign up the mile, too. Make it worth it. 

John and I left fairly early for the 3+ hour drive to Providence. John slept the whole way down, which was good since it makes the travel easier on him. It was beautiful day with temps hitting close to 60 there, so it felt weird to be running indoors when it was so nice outside. We got there really early so that I could register before the time cutoff and have to time to get John settled, followed by a nice warm up outside. When we walked in, I was so shocked to see how laid back it was, a far cry from the craziness of BU, and I liked it already. I was also surprised to see so many familiar faces. If you had told me a year ago that I would walk into a indoor track event and know a lot of people there, I would have laughed, but here I was in the unfamiliar land of the indoor track, surrounded by familiar faces. It felt good, I have to admit. The vibe here was great. Relaxed. I liked it already.

After getting John settled, I ventured out for a warm up. Behind the building, I spotted Alicia Eno warming up on the outdoor "track" and ran a lap with her before moving on down some random streets. I ended up running around a park and then back down the main street. I had a good laugh when I passed by some guys coming out of a store. One of them looked at me and asked, "Can I run which-oo?" I laughed and said, "Sure...if you can keep up." He laughed and I ran on. I eventually turned around and ran back to the track. 3 miles 7:28/mi pace.

Photo by Diane Levesque
Inside felt HOT and stuffy after being outside, and I started to feel a little nervous about the race. So... how do I run a 3000 again? I had no idea. Got all prepped and ready to go then waited for us to be called. Somehow I ended up seeded second to last so I was way on the outside. It was a fairly large heat, and a lot of the other women looked fast. It was cool lining up next to my friend, Ellen Tidd, on my right and then the amazing Jan Holmquist on my left. Alicia and Diane Levesque were on the line, as well, so I felt comfortable, yet still nervous about the racing part of it. haha. Instructions were given and then the gun fired! My first thought was to get the hell out of the outer lane so I moved quickly inside and right behind the first woman. I was in the pain cave by the end of the first lap. I was passed pretty quickly by the woman behind me and watched as those two pulled farther and farther away until I felt like I was all alone in 3rd for the rest of the race. And that pretty much was the case. And it was definitely the sufferfest I remembered from BU. My mouth was dry and the laps seemed to go by slooooowly. It was nice hearing my name being called from around the track, though. It definitely helped boost me up in those last few laps around the indoor oval from hell. I was so relieved to see the lap counter finally turn to 1. I knew it was about to be over. As I rounded the corner and saw the clock, I was not happy. I was barely going to beat my time from BU. Ugh!! I came across the line in 10:54. Only 4 seconds faster! I was hoping for better than that, but at least it was better!! I finished in 3rd, 2nd in my age group. I was still pretty happy with how I ran, even if it was a bit slower than I had hoped. 

Photo by Dave Dunham

Photo by Scott Mason
I watched the men's 3000m which was right after ours then grabbed my award for winning the Mountain Series that Steve Vaitones had brought along to the meet for me. I laughed at how fitting this award was and took it as the USATF-NE endorses beer drinking. :)

2015 USATF-NE Series winner's award
Ellen Tidd and I were over at the bleachers gabbing away when I just happened to look up and see a bunch of women lined up on the start line. That's when Ellen and I realized we were about to miss the mile. I immediately ran over and lined up...once again second to last (why did that keep happening?). We made it in time, and I was immediately wondering what the hell I was thinking signing up for this! I was at least relieved to see there were fewer laps. It was still going to hurt, but we were off before I could keep thinking about it. Once again, I made my way right to the inside and behind a woman dressed in one of those fast-looking outfits. I assumed she was fast because you must be fast if you're wearing that, so I stayed behind her for the first loop which felt too slow. When I saw the first lap was slower than my first lap of the 3000, I knew I had to pass her, which I did, and held onto 1st for the rest of the race. It was cool getting the bell lap, I have to admit. My time wasn't great at 5:44. I ran 5:31 in the mile on the outdoor track in September, but I knew it would be slower, and my first lap was way off. And I was really doing it for fun, so no disappointment really there. It wasn't great, but I didn't really care. It was cool to win it, though. I never thought I'd see these in my bowl of medals that I will never display. Haha.

I watched the men's mile then went out for a short 1.5 mile cool down outside with Phoenix, whom I'd brought along. I came back in, changed clothes, then sat with John to watch the last few events. We drove over to Ogie's Trailer Park which we had been invited to. That place was cool. Good beer. Good food. Good company. Memorable. Long drive home, but it had been worth the trip down for sure.

Group at Ogie's. Photo by Scott Mason

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