Dan Verrington and I are both getting ready to race at the USATF masters national championships (Aug. 2-5) and at age 50 & 48 respectively we need all the speed work we can get. Neither of us had been on the track in 4 weeks so the time was right to get rolling again. I was still pretty beat up from the Loon Mountain race on Sunday but figured I'd go and run the 800 and 400 for some turnover. Once we got to Newburyport Dan convinced me to run the 2 mile/800 instead. I wasn't sure how much help I'd be but we planned on alternating the lead with Dan taking the first and third half and me taking the second half and if able taking the last half.
The Winners Circle puts on these meets over a five week period and they are well run with a decent turnout (mostly youth and HS runners but the odd open and masters showing up). We did a 3 mile warm-up on the Clipper Rail Trail and the scenic Riverwalk trail. I switched in flats and did another mile with strides. I was not feeling confident but figured I'd give it my best. The plan was to try and hit 80 seconds per 400, which we like to call "optimistic 5k pace".
Dan took us out right at 80 and through the half in 2:23. I took over and we ran two 79-point quarters and we rolled through the mile in 5:22. I felt a lot better than expected as Dan moved to the front and ran 81-point for his quarters bringing us to 1.5 in 7:45. I upped the tempo a little and hit 400 to go in 9:25. I'd run a 10:42 a couple of years ago at one of these meets so I was gunning for that time and kicked it in with a 75 second quarter for a 10:40. Dan rolled in 7 seconds later in 2nd place with a 10:47 which matched his time from the road 2 mile we'd run on the fourth.
Both of us continued on using the time for the 2m to finish and one heat of the 800 to be run to get in another 6 laps on the track. The timing was actually pretty decent as it was enough to recover but not so much to tighten up. We lined up for the 800 with a couple of other adults and 5 or 6 kids. Dan's plan was something like 'run as hard as possible for 600 and flail around for the final 200'. I was looking for anything under 2:30. Two of the kids were off like a shot but slowed 100m in and I took the lead, taking Dan along through a 73 second opening 400. I could hear Dan right behind me and at 500m he blew by into the lead. I was hurting but did not want to give anything less than my all. I hung tight behind Dan and swung around on the final straight. My arms were flying all over the place but I was able to pass him and hold him off with a 2:26 for a one second victory.
We headed out for a very slow 2 mile warm-down and called it a night (10 miles). I was very happy with the results, especially so closely after racing. Now we've got 3 weeks until nationals! Dan will be doing the 5k, 10k, 800, and 1,500. I'll be doing the same except no 10k for me, we are both hoping to get on a couple of relay teams as well! Should be fun...
2m splits (400m track, my splits below are all from the finish line)