Ever since we moved to St. Louis I have been fascinated with this race. It's an open 1 mile, which is pretty rare. It's net downhill, so it's particularly fast. It's around Independence Day, so it's ridiculously hot.
I ran it last year, with mixed results. I was happy to finish in 5:01, but a bit disappointed I was so close to being under 5 minutes and I couldn't quite finish it off. I was in good shape, but I screwed up royally by doing a (too) hard track workout a few days before the race and I was still sore on race day.
I told myself this year would be different. I was in even better shape in the spring than last year, so I might be able to pull off something really special. The problem is that I was really starting to feel worn out by my spring campaign by the end of May. I was exhausted and I was starting to have some minor knee pain creep into my runs. This scared the hell out of me, so after the U. City 10K I stepped my training way back in an effort to let my body recover. One easy week turned into two with our trip to San Francisco. Two turned into three in the hectic week after we returned. Three turned into four when my knee just kept not feeling right. Before I knew it the Macklind Mile was a week away and I was feeling incredibly unprepared. But I had been looking forward to this race for a year. What could I pull together in a week?
Well, I went for a short, easy run and had no knee pain. Good. A few days later I went for a slightly longer, slightly faster run, again with no knee pain. It was hardly ideal preparation, but it will have to do. On race day my warmup went well, so I figured I would just let it rip and see what happened. I started out about the same pace as last year, only I didn't slow down, I kept speeding up. My third quarter was the fastest, whereas last year it was much slower. I passed a lot of people in the last half of the race and finished strong in 4:52, my official chip time. My own watch, which I started before I crossed the start line and stopped after I crossed the finish line, indicated 4:49-4:50, which I like better. Anyway, it was a significant improvement over last year and it came after nearly a month of none-to-light running. This is faster than I ran when I was 15. I'll take it.
One of these years I'm going to get this race right.
After my run, I had the pleasure of watching my mom run her first race (at age 60). My parents were in town visiting and my mom (who I didn't even know started to run) decided to run the race on the spot. Congratulations to her for quite an accomplishment.
A little while later Will ran the kids quarter mile run. He started off well enough, but after about 15 seconds he just sat down in the middle of the street and started crying for no apparent reason (I think what happened was a grown-up running with their kid bumped into him and he didn't care for that). After minutes of bargaining with him and even carrying him a little while we finally got him to run. And run he did. He was fast. He passed a bunch of people and ended up (even after the fit) finishing two minutes faster than he did last year.
Then I ran 7 miles home in 100˚F heat.