This was to be my first open 800m race since 2001, when I was graduating from High School. I managed to dip under 2:00 that season, just barely, and since then I've been slowly rounding into shape after my best winter of training ever. Needless to say, I was nervous throughout the day on Saturday in anticipation for the gun and my two laps of pain.
I arrived at the track early enough to settle in and chat with Leslie and I quickly realized I did not bring enough clothing to keep me warm, so I didn't waste too much time and decided to get into my warmup and give myself a solid 25 minutes to get the legs moving. It didn't take me very long to realize I left my watch at home, so I was going to fly solo for the warmup and my pickup, ah well, there was no sense in stressing out, I'd have plenty of time to do that after my warmup.
I was seeded at 2:03. Steve decided that all on his own and I felt it was an ambitious goal. I had already worked out my own goal, to break 2:05, and seeing my seed time shifted my mental approach a bit so I decided I had to get after it and get comfortable with the pain I knew I'd feel.
The goal was to go out in 61 and then hang on as well as possible to break 2:03, and if everything fell apart I'd still squeak in under 2:05. We lined up in our staggered lanes, and my body was nearly shaking with nerves. I knew I just had to get the race started, but I tell you, in this situation 1 second feels like an eternity. The gun went off and before I knew it I was well behind the leaders coming through the 100m and even still at the 150m mark. I won't ruin the rest of the story for you because I can show you a video of my race. So head over to Trackie.ca and watch the video. If you're interested in reading some more once you've watched it, come back and keep on reading.
So, you came back, or you never left. Either way, let's keep this rolling. So I aced the race. I ended up running 2:02.51, just under my seed time and a great effort throughout the entire race. Here are my splits as I remember them:
400m: 61.00 (200m split: 31s)
600m: 1:32.XX (200m split: 31s)
800m: 2:02.51 (200m split: 30.5s)
As I crossed the finish line I was very relieved, and so excited to see that I came so close to my seed time, and even beat it. I felt so strong in the last 400m, and I'm amazed to see that I was able to maintain that pace so evenly through the full 800m. Who knows, maybe I'll be flirting with a sub 2:00 effort by the end of the season?
I'd also like to give a shout out to my cheering section in the stands. Melanie, Sara, Wes, Brian and Rob....it's so amazing to know I've got people who are willing to take time from their busy schedules to come see me run around an oval track. You all mean so much to me!
And so, that's that folks. I'll be racing again this week, a 5000m on the track, my first 5000m on the track. EVER. Oh man, this is going to be interesting.