Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Grand Prix: One Hour Track Run

The One Hour Track Run was the first event in the 2011 Grand Prix series. The idea is pretty simple. You run around a 400 meter track for an hour. At the end of an hour, they determine how far you've run. For the lap count, they used timing chips. When the event director called the time, everyone stopped where they were and waited for an event official to come around with the rolling distance measuring wheel. They took up the timing chips and marked on a clip board how far around the track you'd gone since passing the mat for the timing chip.

Initially, I didn't really have any goals for this race. I was just planning to treat it like any other hour-long training run. Running on a track isn't especially exciting, even though they were playing music the whole time. I hacked my watch each time I completed a lap so I could keep track of how fast I was going. I wanted to maintain an average lap time of less than 2:45 (for an average pace faster than 11:00/mile). After my first few laps, I decided I would try to maintain a constant pace for the entire hour. By the time I was rounding out my 12th lap at about 31 minutes, I realized that I might have a shot at completing 6 miles in the hour. So I started pushing my pace a little.

If I could've gained just a few seconds on each lap, I might have been able to squeeze in just a little more distance before the time was called. When I came around the track and saw there was only 11 minutes left, I knew I wouldn't be able to make it to 24 laps. It was humanly possible, yes. But not Jennily possible. I'd have to pull out an 8:30 minute mile... and I just didn't have it in me. So my new plan was to finish out the 23rd lap and then haul ass for whatever time was remaining to get as far as I could.

I made it about halfway around the track when I heard the event coordinator call time. I was so tantalizingly close! But I'm still quite pleased with how I did. Roughly 5.87 miles in 1 hour. I'm still waiting for them to post the official results, to see how I did in my age group, and to see how many Grand Prix points I earned toward my total.

Oh, and did I mention it was 46 degrees and raining? Yeah, it was a great day to go for a run.

Update - Officially I ran 23 laps and 783 feet for a total distance of 5.898 miles (so close!!). I was 40th out of 75 women and 7th for my division. Because this was also a championship event, I earned 12 points toward my Grand Prix total. Woo hoo!

And may the peace of the Lord be always with you.

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