Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Track 5,000

USATF New England and East Region Masters track & field championships at Providence Career & Technical Academy (200 meter flat Mondo surface oval)
I’ve always enjoyed indoor track.  I’m a big fan of feedback and getting splits every 200 meters appeals to me.  I signed up for the Masters championships since they had a 5,000 meter which is a rare treat for indoor track.  Most of the meets have 3,000 meters as the longest race.  Heck it takes me that long to find a rhythm.  Dan Verrington was also interested so we met up with teammate Jim Pawlicki and Somerville Road Runner Joe O’Leary and drove the 100 miles to Providence.
Joe and Dan headed outside for a warm-up but I chose to run on the indoor surface.  It was quiet as we were the first event so most people hadn’t arrived.  I did my typical 3 mile warm-up and then changed into racing flats.  I was a bit nervous as I had a pretty lousy race the weekend before (5:59 pace for 5k at Tewksbury).  My goal was to run 42 second laps for as long as possible, which would be a 17:30.  I thought that realistically I’d run somewhere between 17:20 and 17:40.  I did another mile with strides then headed to the line with the other 16 starters.
The official went over the specifics of what lapped runners should do (stay in their lane) and how the lap counter would work (it would be based on the leaders but we’d each have someone telling us how many laps WE had).  Then he gave us the option of where we wanted to be on the line as most didn’t want to be way out on the curve and chose to start in the second row.  I went to the second row figuring that’d be the safest place to be.  My seed time had me at seventh in the field and I figured second row would keep me out of trouble.
Off we went on a 25 lap journey!  The first four guys took off (including Dan), then it was Joe O. and John Brown, then me.  I was happy to be in the clear and just work on running even splits.  I felt pretty comfortable but knew that wouldn’t last so I settled in, clicking off 41 & 42 second laps.  Joe and John slowly pulled away, but I never felt in “no man’s land” since we were lapping people along the way.  I hit the mile in 5:38, two seconds behind my hoped for pace.  I picked it up a bit, now running mostly mid-41s.  Joe pulled away but John drifted back my way.  I caught John at 2 miles (11:12, 5:34 split) with Joe now about 10 seconds ahead.  I got around John and began to focus on reeling in Joe.
Jim Pawlicki was on the infield calling out how far back I was which was helpful and I was also checking the clock every lap to see Joe’s time as he rolled through the start/finish line. With 1km to go the leaders (Chris Magill and Doug McLucas) came storming by.  I rode their wake and that helped me continue to close the gap on Joe.  With 3 laps to go I went around Joe and consciously tried to up the tempo so that he wouldn’t latch on.  I thought I pulled clear but Joe came storming past me on the final straight.  I can’t complain, I just didn’t have another gear.  I was very happy with my 6th place finish which got me 2nd in the 50+.  Generally speaking most people found the track to be a bit slow.
I got in a nice warm-down outside in the sun and 50 degree temperature then headed back in to watch the remaining distance events (3,000 & mile).  This was a very well run meet, kudos to USATF NE!
Pl  Time                Name                                    Age        Cat Pl    Team
1  16:33.0             Christopher Magill           M43       1              BAA
2  16:37.1             Doug McLucas                 M45       1              BAA
3  17:10.7             Ryan Davenport               M41       2              BAA
4  17:12.7             Daniel Verrington            M53       1              CMS
5  17:24.9             Joseph O'Leary                 M48       2              SRR
6  17:26.1             Dave Dunham                   M51       2              CMS
7  17:35.1             John Brown                        M33       1              Unatt
8  17:42.7             Ray Sikorowicz                  M49       3              RR
9  17:52.1             Jessica Marlier                   W30       1              GMAA
10 17:59.4            George  Berg                       M47       4              Unatt
17 finishers
Kilometer splits

Pic by Scott Mason

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