It is always difficult for me to run a mid-distance track event for the first time in any given year, because my pacing is completely out of whack from having run much longer distance earlier in the year. My muscle memory for 5K and longer is not too bad. But when it comes to 800m or Mile, my legs just don’t remember how fast I should be going. Today’s 800m time trial was a perfect example. Having raced 800m a couple of times last year, I had a good idea what my time might be. My target today was 2:20: I wanted to run even pace with 70 seconds each quarter. Yeah, right.
It was cold and really windy at City College of San Francisco. The wind was swirling and changing directions. A typical San Francisco spring weather. I warmed up, did some drills and strides. I walked a bit and put on my new spikes. A couple of more strides. My team mate Aaron volunteered to time me.
70 seconds. 15 seconds faster than my 5K pace, which I am usually good at hitting in my intervals. It was just a time trial, nothing to prove. No one was watching. Lane 5. 3, 2, 1, Go! It might have been that I had the gusty wind on my back that helped me accelerate. At around 100m, I cut in to Lane 1 (Aaron suggested that I practice that) and was feeling pretty fast. At 200m, I swung my left arm in front of me to get a reading on my Garmin. 30 seconds. D’oh! I slowed down, and the wind helped me slow down the next 200m. The first quarter, 65 seconds. Too late to correct it now, so I tried to keep 70 in the second quarter. My breathing getting heavier. I ran the next 200m in 35 seconds (1:40 per my Garmin). Right on the money! I used my arms and focused on the form. But with the wind blowing against me, lactate building up and going into oxygen debt, I slowed down the final 200m and finished it 38 seconds.
2:18 isn’t bad at all for this time of the year, and I am glad I did the trial today and made the mistake. Hopefully, I will pace it better in the meet. There are two factors that could throw my pace out the window: Competitors and 1,500m. I am doubling 1,500m and 800m at the next meet. My 1,500m pace is slower at around 77 seconds and I will be practicing the pace in the next week and a half. I just hope my legs can memorize these two paces. And competitors, though this is really me, not pacing myself and following faster or slower leaders.
I don’t know if any of the readers have similar problems or experiences. If so, how can this be remedied?