All good things must come to an end! After three one mile McKirdy Mile races, yesterday marked the fourth and final mile of the series.
I woke up at about 7:00 am on Saturday and went for a slow one mile shakeout run around Welles Park. The temps were in the 70's and I was somewhat loose. I had run a few extra miles the week before and was feeling them a little in my muscles. I didn't think I would be able to best my best McKirdy mile which was a 5:36 for race #1. I just hadn't improved my fitness over the last few weeks enough to run an earth shattering time.
Once again, I sat around the house and read and relaxed until noon. I put on my singlet and ran over to Horner Park. As per the last race, I timed the traffic lights - trying to get a full quarter mile in of running, before I actually got into Horner Park itself.
I saw the lights turn red, jogged back to my starting point along Manor Ave (out of eyesight of the traffic lights).
After 45 seconds of jogging in the opposite direction I turned around, started my Garmin and I was off!
Mile 0.25: I wasn't holding back, but I wasn't flooring it. Since I'd done this three times before, I tried just to run a pace I knew I could hold for the remainder. I came up on the intersection at California and Montrose, the light was red, but would change at any time. Luckily it did (at the last moment) but there was still a car in the intersection waiting to turn left, would they wait for me to cross? No! The car floored it right in front of me, causing me to stop dead in my tracks! They quickly got out of the way, but it was disappointing that I had to stop, however briefly. 1:28 (5:51/mile pace).
Mile 0.50: Got to the quarter mile point just after entering the Horner Park portion of the race. 1:26 (5:45/mile pace).
Mile 0.75: Crossing the halfway point, I was winded but not too much. This is the portion of the race where my biggest concern is what to do if I can't make the light ahead. Do I turn left and go uphill along Horner Park or take a right and have to cross eight intersections, but keep it flat? The pedestrian light at the intersection of Irving Park Rd and California Avenue was red as I approached. Would I make it in time for it to turn green? 1:27 (5:50/mile pace).
|My McKirdy Mile #4|
Mile 1.0: Yes! The traffic light turned green just in time, so I would be able to keep running straight without turns! I crossed the road and up ahead I saw a jogger about 100 meters away. He was too far away to catch in such a short distance, but he was a good marker of my progress as I closed the gap between us. I started to floor it and was gaining. With about 50 meters left in the race, he suddenly stopped and started walking. This may have caused me to subtly slow as well. I should have striven to keep pushing it until my watch beeped, but I was pretty much out of gas anyway. It seemed like 10 seconds of deceleration before my watch mercifully beeped and I was done! 1:26 (5:43/mile).
Official Finish Time: 5:47
Official Pace: 5:47/mile
Garmin Pace: 5:47/mile
1/2 mile splits: 2:54 and 2:53
1/2 mile splits: 2:54 and 2:53
For the first time my first quarter mile wasn't my fastest. In fact it was my slowest. Maybe having a car stop me in my tracks was the reason, but it got me to slow down nevertheless! My splits were all within two seconds of each other, so for all intents and purposes they were even splits. Maybe after four races, I'm finally getting the feel of what my mile pace is? The strategy I had during the final section - where I was focused on "catching" the jogger in front of me - didn't pan out as he slowed to a walk. I didn't determine the wind direction beforehand and I think I may have been running into the wind, instead of with it.
Well, that's a wrap. My four mile times were all within nine seconds of each other, and it would appear my fitness is plateauing at the moment. I was probably in better shape in early May than I am now. In May, I still had residual upper body strength from working out in February and March which could be a bigger factor in shorter distance races (more powerful arm swings).
I'm sad it's over, but after four very similar races (in venue and final time), it is probably time to move onto another distance.
McKirdy Mile Race Pace Comparison:
"Living life a quarter mile at a time"
Maybe a 4th of July virtual race!