Meditation Before Battle
Saturday, May 23 -- Final Tune Up (-37:30:00): One final track session before the dawning of the Very Funny-Viper Challenge. Same routine as before. The statistical rundown:
4 x 400 meters
- Goal pace: 6:55-7:20 per mile
- Lap 1: 1:41.64 (6:46 per mile)
- Lap 2: 1:43 (6:54 per mile)
- Lap 3: 1:41.95 (6:46 per mile)
- Lap 4: 1:39.89 (6:38 per mile)
- Average pace: 6:46 per mile
- Total distance: 3.7 miles
Sunday, May 24 -- Party Time (-16:00:00): Annual Memorial Day party brings more beer. Pre-race dinner is appetizers, hot dogs on the grill, potato salad, broccoli salad, ginger snaps and birthday cake. Running out of Labatt's leads to poor choice of Bud Lite as a one beer substitute. Johnnie Walker to the rescue. Also, there are shots to celebrate that birthday. What is 153? Not good.
Sunday, May 24 -- A Frisky Mr. Sandman (-8:00:00): To bed finally, but rest is not good quality. Should be a fun race day.
Putting on the Foil
Monday, May 25 -- Arise, Chicken (-1:45:00): Alarm goes off. Feeling somewhat unwell. Send the Martini a text, "I has risen." He responds, "Arise, Chicken. Chicken, arise." He will pick up at 6:45 a.m. because he still needs to register. Feeling heavy. No breakfast. Only a sports drink for hydration and calories. This will be my first sock-less race.
Monday, May 25 -- Warming up (-1:00:00): We pick up our bibs and mill around for a few minutes. Martini has Courvoisier in a flask and hands it to me for a snort. This is hair of a dog that did not bite me.
Monday, May 25 -- More warming up (-0:30:00): Martini and I head out for a short warm up jog. Ten minutes at most, probably less knowing us. We jiggle our limbs and bounce up and down to keep loose.
Monday, May 25 -- Still more warming up (-0:15:00): Martini lies in the grass. I leave for light pole intervals to shock the system. Four strides of two light poles at speed with one light pole rest, out and back. People are starting to congregate at the start line. We grab one last swallow of water because we are already feeling dehydrated.
Monday, May 25 -- The race, finally (0:00:00): My race strategy for 5-Ks is to start fast and rely on my kick to finish hard, hoping the middle mile doesn't suck. This is a clock-timed race. No chip. We line up toward the front, about five people deep.
Monday, May 25 -- A second faster (0:07:30): The jockeying for position at the start. A long uphill stretch. A quick dose of water. I'm OK with my first mile. This is three seconds faster than my PR pace. But more importantly, this is one second faster than Mike's first mile.
Monday, May 25 -- I see the beast (0:14:40): I have never beaten Martini in a race. Approaching the turnaround, he passes within closing distance. I use the downhill to fly for a 7:10 second mile.
Monday, May 25 -- Over the hill (0:21:53): There are no hills on the track. Past the second mile marker and around a neighborhood block, it is all uphill to the third mile. I'm getting passed and I'm not liking it. But I like the 7:13 mile. Just a tenth of a mile to go.
Monday, May 25 -- Log jam (0:22:26): My legs are starting to feel dead. The crowd picks me up. I hear my cheering section. My 10-month old, lucky PR charm is working. I bolt into the worst finish line log jam I've ever seen. I stop my watch, thinking I achieved at least two of my top three race goals and pretty confident about nailing the third. Smells like victory.
Monday, May 25 -- Losing seconds (0:22:29): They corralled us like doomed cattle into the chute. I tore off my tag and handed it to the collector, who strung it on the cord. Checking the official results later in the day, I lose three seconds from my watch time, which is a first. Usually, I gain time. C'est la vie. I'll gladly take a 59-second PR and a crushing victory over Mike's 24:46. His PR is next.
Martini finished less than 30 seconds ahead of me. Our closest margin yet. We celebrate at the pub with a beer and a shot of Jameson before parting ways.
Mike, the Master, has been vanquished. The Very Funny-Viper Challenge was a blast. It gave us both some motivation to get our asses into shape and fine tune our smack talk in the process. However, in a challenge, there always has to be a loser. And that loser is Mike. Good race, Mike. Cheers.