Yesterday it all came to an end. Team Blogger along with lots of other teams headed over to the Lake Shore Park Track to see how much we had improved on our mile time.
The week leading up to this event, I was constantly checking the weather. Chicago was in a heat wave… Not only heat but also humidity. Luck was on my side, the extreme heat broke during the day yesterday and with the aid of clouds and that whole “cooler lakefront” thing, the conditions where much better for running.
We met up and got checked in for the event. They provided cow bells, team race bibs and a baton. Of course there was a team picture before the first heat started – And yes, we coordinated on purpose
We were to each run a mile (4 laps) then hand off the baton to our next teammate until all 4 of us were done. We had decided earlier in the week that Maggie would start us off, followed by Erin, Myself and Erica.
I had never done a track-meet before and had certainly never run a race where I had to hand off a baton to a teammate. I was surprised that I had an extreme case of race jitters. Despite all the races I have run, I still get jitters before every single one… but more so for this event.
Our time to beat was 32:19 – My personal time to beat was 10:30 – And boy did I want to beat it… I desperately wanted a 9:30 mile
Maggie lined up with the other runners for the first heat
I am not going to lie – I was very glad that I was not first or last. I was also glad that I was not second… I wanted to see the hand-off before I had to do it myself.
Maggie completed her 4 laps in 6:50 and handed off the baton to Erin (Sorry for the blurry pic)
Soon it was going to be my turn. Erin and I had already figured out that I would need to run each lap in 2:37ish to hit my goal of 9:30. After Erin’s third lap, I got into position. I was ready to go. She handed off the baton to me and I was off. Her mile time was 7:27
About a quarter of the way through my first lap, I looked down at my watch which told me I was running a 6:47 pace… Whoops… We need to slow that down. I forgot to check the clock when I got the baton, so I checked the clock on the opposite side of the field when I got there and it read 14:55. There were two first heats running at the same time but the start/finish were on opposite sides of the field.
I was feeling good but every time I looked at my watch I saw some weird pace… 4:37 (HA – Yea right), 14:59, 12:27, 8:51, 7:48, etc. It was all over the place. So I decided to stop looking. I was going to use the time clocks instead but that would have required me to LOOK at the time clocks… I didn’t pay any attention after that first lap. Instead I was running by feel. I was running hard but I felt like I could maintain my pace. As I rounded the last curve on my last lap, I took off at a sprint and handed the baton off to Erica.
I checked my watch which told me I had run at a 9:21 Pace with an overall time of 10:38 for .88 miles… Huh? Tell me how THAT math works. However, we quickly confirmed that my mile was indeed 9:21. I just took 1:09 off my mile time.
We cheered on Erica and before we knew it, she was crossing the finish line after her 4th lap. Her mile time was 6:11.
Needless to say, I had some very speedy teammates. Team Blogger finished with a total time of 29:48
Erica Crossing the Finish Line
We took a “selfie” group pic and then hung out for the rest of the event
Sadly, we did not win… The team that won for most improved took nearly 7 minutes off their time… We were a tad skeptical but oh well. We could still be proud of taking over 2 minutes off of our overall time.
The event was a lot of fun and I am so glad I participated in it. I had wonderful teammates and it was a lot of fun!
I never thought that little girl who dreaded the yearly physical fitness test would, not only do another timed mile, but also take 1:09 off my time. The whole point of the exercise (aside from being a PR Stint) was to get faster. My run times over the past several weeks have showed that I am faster. A huge part of me still thinks it is all a fluke so only time will tell. But I intend to take what I have learned from this wonderful experience and apply it on a more regular basis to my training. I still fully intend to run 90% of my races for fun and not time but I still want to improve my running in general.
A heartfelt thank you to my wonderful teammates, Maggie, Erin and Erica for helping to make this a truly amazing experience!