Friday, June 14, 2013

Diesel at the top fuel drag strip

The day is finally at hand - the Cambridge Classic Mile is this evening, and I'll be running the Social Media Mile at 7pm before Nate Brannen crowns off the evening by attempting to break the 4 minute mile on the crushed clay track at Galt Collegiate Institute at 8:20pm.

What a place to race!
Photo source: Mississauga Track

My own aspirations are rather more humble. While the McMillan Running Calculator claims I should be capable of a 7:21 mile based on my 1:58:12 at the Mississauga Half Marathon in early May, it also assumes that I've trained appropriately for the distance and am fairly well rested.

None of these assumptions are valid.

Not having done a lick of speedwork since the one interval workout back on May 2nd, I decided it was time to head back to the track on Tuesday to see if I could whip my legs up into something quicker than my usual shambling trot. I warmed up by running along the Linear Trail to the oval at Preston High School, inhaling the lovely scent of the phlox growing along the river.

This gorgeous view is 5mins from my house.

There was a soccer game going on in the field between the track and the trail, and another going on in the field within the oval of the track itself. Oh joy, and audience to witness my suffering! I soldiered on regardless, and laid down the following:

800 w/400 recovery: 4:06.24
800 w/400 recovery: 4:11.25

400 w/400 recovery: 2:07.50
400 w/400 recovery: 2:07.84

200 w/200 recovery: 0:58.25
200 w/200 recovery: 0:58:38

This haggard photo brought to you by speedwork.

I clearly completely blew myself on the first 800, because I still have no clue of how to pace intervals. The goal was to run each one a little faster than the last, and in this respect we can file this under "abject failure". I'm going to use the excuse that my legs were still tired from the 100k Tour de Grand from two days before, which represented the last day of a 17.25hr training week. Yeah, we'll go with that.

In any case, it casts pretty serious doubt on my ability to finish this ridiculous venture in 8mins or less - while those final 200's would do it, I don't like my odds on stringing 8 of them together in a row with no rest in between. It would be nice to think I could take less than 200% of the time an Olympian does to sprint a mile, but the reality is that I'm trained for distance and not top-end speed. Hell, I'm not even very competitive at longer distance, but I can keep on chugging along at my stately pace for hours on end. This mile experiment is just that - a test to see how hard I can push myself. 

Plus oldschool dirt track racing for a buck a lap!
Photo credit Will Spaetzel

For the sheer silliness of the whole thing, I'm going to offer a little contest - leave a comment here on the blog with your estimate for my final mile time, and whoever comes the closest will receive a small prize pack with some goodies from Cambridge. Open to anyone near or far, domestic or international, athlete or champion at keeping couches from floating away. I've given you the best information I have to make your educated guess, so have at it! 

Bonus points if you correctly guess which lap I barf on!

If you're in the Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge area, come on down to GCI any time from 5pm to 8:20pm this evening to watch some incredible racing. The schedule kicks off with the wee ones - Grade 5 and under - with the intensity ratcheting up through the heats. You'll see elementary school runners, high school speedsters, Masters athletes, up-and-coming collegiate racers, and even some courageous Emergency Services members turning themselves inside out against the clock in what must truly stand as one of the most classic distances in the world of running. Even if you can't come down beforehand, let's try to fill the stands by the time the elite women set out to scorch the clay at 8:10pm, and raise a thunderous cheer as the Olympians test their mettle in the men's elite race at 8:20pm.

Just try not to laugh too hard at me, ok?


  1. Look forward to seeing you tonight. I ran 7:49 last year, would really like to earn one of the Sub 7 ribbons, but probably don't quite have that in me.

    I'll put my prediction down for 7:25.

    1. You flatter me, sir! Thanks for reading and the vote of confidence, not to mention the shameless lift of one of your photos from last year - look forward to meeting you this evening!

  2. 8:20. See you there...
    (I'll be the guy using a timed mile as a warmup for the Guelph Lake tri tomorrow. (Ill-advised indeed...)

    1. That's nails! You did great out there - was nice to see you again, and best of luck for Guelph Lake!


Go on, have at me!