Friday, March 7, 2008
Bill's excellent adventure that wasn't
This was it. After weeks of training I was finally ready to run my first indoor sprint race at the Mason Dixon Games in Louisville, KY at Broadbent Arena on Friday evening 3/7/08. Concerned that the meet would be cancelled due to weather, I went right to the top. I emailed Frank Miklavcic, the Executive Director of the KY Track and Cross Country Association and asked if there was any possibility at all that the meet would be cancelled due to weather. It had never before been cancelled in 47 years.
Here was my exact question and his exact response for posterity:
ME: Any chance the Friday evening events of Mason Dixon Games will be cancelled due to the weather? Thanks.
Frank Miklavcic: "no, we plan on holding the meet regardless."
So, I drove 200 miles to Louisville to be told at the gate the Mason-Dixon Games were CANCELLED. This meet was my last chance to run my specialty race, the indoor 55m and I also planned to run the 400m. Normally I wouldn't think of driving 200 miles each way to race, but this was my last chance to get a national indoor ranking. If I did really well, I would've entertained the thought of going to the Masters Nationals in Boston. Not now.
[UPDATE II: Check the comments, I wasn't the only one to get misinformed. The commenter claims he/she received information on the morning of the track meet that it was still on and would be held. They also drove 200 miles each way.
They could have submitted a cancellation notice on KY public radio, but no. I listened to it all the way up and heard nothing of any cancellation].
The Mason-Dixon Games were sold as an opportunity to "RUN ON THE SAME BOARDS THAT WILMA RUDOLPH, BILLY OLSON, RENALDO NEHEMIAH, RALPH BOSTON, STEVE SCOTT COMPETED ON."
A rare vintage indoor wooden track with banked curves. I saw it in pieces by the loading dock.
Being a shorter guy, 5'7", I could run those tight indoor curves like a maniac. I remember in HS, we had a championship 4x200 relay team. In the state meet, I ran lead off leg of the relay against the eventual 60m state champion. I'll never forget it, his name was Jerry Blow from Nyack, the fastest sprinter on an all black relay team, the fastest HS guy in the state of NY. To the utter surprise of everyone south of White Plains, I smoked him on those curves and handed my teammate the baton and the lead (... he then got us disqualified in the next handoff due to a lane violation).
Anyway, I had put my distance (5k) training on hold and was taking significant time off to recover from the aches and pains of sprinting and sprint training. Naturally, I was really really upset by this misadventure, so when I came home, I punished myself. I went out into the dark freezing rain and wind and ran my ass off. It was the first hard distance I've done in a while. I felt a slight wheezing in the maximum part of my lung space. I'm not in top aerobic shape.
These times, although not very impressive, were hard fought and painful.
This was my "painful freezing punishment work out" (which, as you can see, I started over zealously) :
3 mile run
20:49 - (6:08, 7:28, 7:12)
10 min rest
2 mile run
13:49 - (6:43, 7:05)
Next time I do this workout, it will be faster. Especially the 2nd and 3rd miles.
I sit here looking at my new sprint shoes, the new sharp pyramid spikes gleaming in the light, specifically purchased to run on that wood track but never used. The feeling of blasting out of the blocks and tearing up those corners will have to wait til next season. Who knows, the 100m is not a great race for me but maybe I could do the gut wrenching 400m? Meanwhile, I will continue to punish myself with painful speed work and fast distance. I'm so much more built for power and quickness. I'm really not a distance runner. I can't compete with those long legged tall big chested guys who seem to be made for the sport. But I'll keep trying.
Sprinting is so much fun. It's such a rush. I fucking hate distance running ... it's so painful... I hate it, I hate it, I hate it... But I hope I never quit.
I emailed both Frank Miklavcic and the Mason-Dixon Athletic Club President, Kenny Morton ... as of yet - no response.
Today was better. 3 mile run in 20:14 - 6 min rest - then a 6:41 mile. The last mile felt easy.