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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Portland All-Comer Track Meet: Fun and Fast

(Note: This is a repost of content I provided for the Run Oregon blog)

Summer is here and that means so is the Portland All-Comer Track meets on Tuesday nights.
Schedules and general program of the meet can be found in this previous post by Kelly.

And also thanks to a post from Kelly I had no choice but to run the mile tonight!

To set the stage: I am a long distance running. And this is not in terms of a track meet. Long runner in terms of marathons and ultra-marathons. My legs start getting limber after about 5 miles :-)

That said, I had a ton of fun running the Predict-a-Mile and the 200 meter events and then watching many of the other events on the schedule at the track meet tonight.

Traffic was crazy getting to the meet so when I arrived around 6:15 the meet was underway. Registration was handled very well by the Foot Traffic organizers and you just cannot beat the $2 price for as many events as you can handle!

Tonight was a record attendance for an All-Comer meet with my estimation of over 500 people with probably half kids under the age of 12. In the Predict-a-Mile there were over 50 people who ran...awesome!

So what exactly is a Predict-a-Mile you might ask?
First, you sign up for the event and write down, in hard black and white, what time you think you are going to run.
Then you run 4 and bit laps of the track while your legs and lungs burn and scream to stop but you brain steadfastly refuses to quit and pushes you on to experience that euphoric feeling of crossing the finish line and gasping to reduce your oxygen debt.
Finally you wait with baited breath to see if you were close to your predicted time. Why not just look at your watch that you took splits with and timed your mile? Because watches are NOT allowed for this event!! Makes perfect sense for this type of event but man did I miss my splits. I live by my watch during a race: should I speed up, should I slow down...WHAT IS MY TIME! :-)
Later, the official times and results are posted and the first 5 places are those people who correctly predicted the closest to their actual mile times. Mile times ranged from 4:52 to over 12 minutes. I was off predicting my time by 10 seconds but I did tie my PR from the only other mile event I have ever ran and that was 9 years ago! 5:32 is my line in the sand for the mile. The winner predicted her time to within 0.26 seconds!

And yes, I did run the 200 and was attempting to smile the whole way as I powered in for a
strong last place. But I really could care less as the crowd is really supportive to every athlete and it also felt really good to try to run that fast! This attitude of just doing you best and having fun permeates the events.

I was also inspired watching the other events from kids running
their first mile to the guy who won the 400 meter in 50.8 (as shown in the picture)!! Great family fun and athletic event all rolled into one.

So check the schedule and come out with your two bucks for some speedwork, a great time and a well organized Foot Traffic event. See you next time as I try to get better predicting my time running a mile without at watch!

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