29 Feb 2004 04:21:29
Donovan Rebbechi
race report: Armory Track Meet

Date: Thurs 26 Feb 04
Race: Track meet consisting of a mile, relay, 400 and 800 races in that order.
Conditions: Indoor. Warm, extremely dry air probably due to heating or
something. A lot of people were coughing.

Recently, the local running organisation (NYRR) scheduled a series of four
indoor track meets. I was very enthusiastic about doing one or two, but the
first two were scheduled in my base building period, and I missed the third due
to a hideous cold. So the fourth was all that was left. So I decided I'd have
to run at least the mile and one other race. On advice of a team mate, I
brought some cough candy. This was probably one of the best pieces of running
advice I have received in a long time -- people at the meet were coughing like
it was a war zone or something.

On to the races: the whole thing was a bit chaotic -- they lined everyone up,
called out times in ascending order so for the mile, someone would say "4:00,
4:01, ... " like an auctioneer, and people would step up until they had enough
people for a heat. Many people "downrated" themselves -- I was almost lapped in
the mile race!

The track was a 200m indoor track with banked corners. For the mile and 800,
they used staggered starts where a group of people started forward on the
outside and had to run the first lap in the outer lanes.

Shoes: recently acquired some flats -- Tiger Paws. I'd road-tested them for
a 200m jog/run/sprint outside and loved them immediately. Extremely flexible,
and despite what I've heard about flats, I found the cushioning very
satisfactory, even for jogging.

One thing I saw that they didn't have at the road races were large numbers of
college and high school runners. Some of these guys were *fast*, amazing
turnover. I felt like a slug out there.

First race was the mile. I started with a group that supposedly went from about
5:00 to 5:15. First lap, I held a steady pace for about 37-8. A little fast
but OK. Nearly everyone went out at what I thought was a suicidal pace. I sat
back and focused on my own race and tried to ignore the noise. After a few
laps, it occurred to me that some of these guys were just damn fast and their
starting pace was just fine -- for them. Half way in about 2:36. Overtook some
people who probably shouldn't have chased the leaders at the start, to finish
in about 5:06 (don't have the offical time yet) -- not dead last, but not far
from it.

It was a humbling experience -- you know, if you're 50th or so in a road race,
you might look and feel pretty good. If you're the 50th fastest competitor in
a track meet, you probably look like a slug compared to the others. But this
was good for my times -- the presence of the faster runners creates the
illusion that the pace is "too slow" which makes it easier to run fast.

Then there was a huge relay. I enjoyed what I felt was a well-deserved break,
before getting ready for the 400. Lined up with a high 50s/low 60s group.
Not much to say except that I came dead last, but stayed reasonably close to
the pack for about 61-62.

Then there was the 800. I decided I'd just do this to put an 800m time on the
books. I hung back with the slower runners this time -- they were in the last
group and I was still tired from the 400. In the group before me, local runner
Sid Howard was attempting to set an American 800m record in the 65-9 age group.
The record stood at 2:24. I was looking around trying to work out which one was
Sid -- none of them looked close to 65. I worked it out eventually by following
the commentary. He finished in 2:19.

After cheering Sid on, it was my turn to race. A bunch of the runners went
out very hard for them, but about right for me. Stayed on their tails and
coasted to the 2 lap mark in 1:10. Then on the third lap, I unleashed my
"kick" and stormed to the front (I think I did a 33 second lap), and once you
do that, there's no turning back: 100% effort from there. Gritting my teeth and
hanging on for my life, finished up in about 2:19.

Overall, a very enjoyable experience. I'd recommend jumping into a track meet
just to see what it's like even to people who haven't tried it. Be forewarned
that the level of competition at these things is pretty high though (I felt
like a slug running a mile in just over 5) -- I'd recommend doing some homework
on the expected level of competition up-front.

Cheers,
--
Donovan Rebbechi
http://pegasus.rutgers.edu/~elflord/


29 Feb 2004 06:16:04
SwStudio
Re: race report: Armory Track Meet

"Donovan Rebbechi" <abuse@aol.com > wrote in message
> Shoes: recently acquired some flats -- Tiger Paws. I'd road-tested them
for
> a 200m jog/run/sprint outside and loved them immediately. Extremely
flexible,
> and despite what I've heard about flats, I found the cushioning very
> satisfactory, even for jogging.

I tried a pair in the fall. Comfortable running shoes for sure,
although they're a prime example of shoe companies trying
to disguise a lightweight trainer as a flat. The worst offender
of this is the NB330, which actually has a medial post, along
with being quite beefy.

Anyway, another shoe you may like that has a similar design
is the NB rc240. I find they last a lot longer. I usually get about
2 months, more if I have a couple pairs that I rotate. They are
even momre flexible, with no nasty medial posts or other rigid
areas in the midsole, like 99% of other shoes DO have.

cheers,
--
David (in Hamilton, ON)
www.allfalldown.org
"The most insecure people are the ones you see,
putting other people down constantly."




01 Mar 2004 01:33:41
Lyndon
Re: race report: Armory Track Meet

Donovan Rebbechi wrote:

>Date: Thurs 26 Feb 04
> Race: Track meet consisting of a mile, relay, 400 and 800 races in that
>order.
> Conditions: Indoor. Warm, extremely dry air probably due to heating or
> something. A lot of people were coughing.
>
>Recently, the local running organisation (NYRR) scheduled a series of four
>indoor track meets. I was very enthusiastic about doing one or two, but the
>first two were scheduled in my base building period, and I missed the third
>due
>to a hideous cold. So the fourth was all that was left. So I decided I'd have
>to run at least the mile and one other race. On advice of a team mate, I
>brought some cough candy. This was probably one of the best pieces of running
>advice I have received in a long time -- people at the meet were coughing
>like
>it was a war zone or something.
>
>On to the races: the whole thing was a bit chaotic -- they lined everyone up,
>called out times in ascending order so for the mile, someone would say "4:00,
>4:01, ... " like an auctioneer, and people would step up until they had
>enough
>people for a heat. Many people "downrated" themselves -- I was almost lapped
>in
>the mile race!
>
>The track was a 200m indoor track with banked corners. For the mile and 800,
>they used staggered starts where a group of people started forward on the
>outside and had to run the first lap in the outer lanes.
>
>Shoes: recently acquired some flats -- Tiger Paws. I'd road-tested them for
>a 200m jog/run/sprint outside and loved them immediately. Extremely flexible,
>and despite what I've heard about flats, I found the cushioning very
>satisfactory, even for jogging.

But with flats when the competition is wearing spikes, you are at a sizeable
disadvantage. This isn't as bad in 1500-5000 because the speeds are lower, but
there's a big difference in 800 and shorter events: Spikes grip much better in
the turns, and the advantage is greater indoors. The difference is often 1-2
seconds per lap.
>
>One thing I saw that they didn't have at the road races were large numbers of
>college and high school runners. Some of these guys were *fast*, amazing
>turnover. I felt like a slug out there.

Here in SoCal, it's fairly common for high school xc/1600/3200 types to use 5K
races as overdistance training in the winter/spring if they don't have a race
that weekend. So there are often the fastest kids running 5 minute pace in
road races. What you describe is, I think, why road racers don't run in track
meets too often. But if you run in a college 5000, instead of 800 or 1500,
you'll probably find an 18:00 5K more competitive than the equivalent time
would be in 800.
>
>First race was the mile. I started with a group that supposedly went from
>about
>5:00 to 5:15. First lap, I held a steady pace for about 37-8. A little fast
>but OK. Nearly everyone went out at what I thought was a suicidal pace. I sat
>back and focused on my own race and tried to ignore the noise. After a few
>laps, it occurred to me that some of these guys were just damn fast and their
>starting pace was just fine -- for them. Half way in about 2:36. Overtook
>some
>people who probably shouldn't have chased the leaders at the start, to finish
>in about 5:06 (don't have the offical time yet) -- not dead last, but not far
>from it.

I warned somebody else on r.r last week to expect a suicidal pace. You can
take advantage of the kids' inexperieice to pick some off. In a 1500 I try to
stay at the tail end of the lead pack--just barely in contact--through 400.
Then if you maintain your pace through 800, some of the idiots (now in lactate
city) will come back to you. But you can't do this in an 800 or 400 indoors
because the race is tto short and it's too hard to pass people.
>
>It was a humbling experience -- you know, if you're 50th or so in a road
>race,
>you might look and feel pretty good. If you're the 50th fastest competitor in
>a track meet, you probably look like a slug compared to the others. But this
>was good for my times -- the presence of the faster runners creates the
>illusion that the pace is "too slow" which makes it easier to run fast.
>
>Then there was a huge relay. I enjoyed what I felt was a well-deserved break,
>before getting ready for the 400. Lined up with a high 50s/low 60s group.
>Not much to say except that I came dead last, but stayed reasonably close to
>the pack for about 61-62.

You can sometimes use careful pacing to pass people here too. World class guys
can only accelerate for 60-70 meters, so every race over 60 is--to some
extent--an endurance race. The optimum pacing for most people is to hold back
0.5-1 second in the first 100 of a 200, and 1-2 seconds in the first 200 of a
400. You can train for this in a 400 by doing a 4 X 200 workout midweek before
a race: Run the first 200 all-out for time, and the rest 2 seconds slower on
pace. Then on race day, you run at the pace you trained at that week.
>
>Then there was the 800. I decided I'd just do this to put an 800m time on the
>books. I hung back with the slower runners this time -- they were in the last
>group and I was still tired from the 400. In the group before me, local
>runner
>Sid Howard was attempting to set an American 800m record in the 65-9 age
>group.
>The record stood at 2:24. I was looking around trying to work out which one
>was
>Sid -- none of them looked close to 65. I worked it out eventually by
>following
>the commentary. He finished in 2:19.
>
>After cheering Sid on, it was my turn to race. A bunch of the runners went
>out very hard for them, but about right for me. Stayed on their tails and
>coasted to the 2 lap mark in 1:10. Then on the third lap, I unleashed my
>"kick" and stormed to the front (I think I did a 33 second lap), and once you
>do that, there's no turning back: 100% effort from there. Gritting my teeth
>and
>hanging on for my life, finished up in about 2:19.

Given that you had already raced a mile and a 400, you should be very happy
with your time.
>
>Overall, a very enjoyable experience. I'd recommend jumping into a track meet
>just to see what it's like even to people who haven't tried it. Be forewarned
>that the level of competition at these things is pretty high though (I felt
>like a slug running a mile in just over 5) -- I'd recommend doing some
>homework
>on the expected level of competition up-front.
>
This is correct, but something else should be said. The kids I see at NCAA
meets are all very nice. A week ago in Reno, I was probably the only person in
the whole meet over 30, and several college kids came up to me to ask how I did
(didn't get out of the blocks). If, as an older runner, you're willing to just
line up and race (no age group stuff), they really respect you. But directors
at major events (such as Millrose) are cancelling age-group races because,
frankly, nobody gives a damn.

Lyndon
"Speed Kills...It kills those that don't have it!" --US Olympic Track Coach
Brooks Johnson



01 Mar 2004 02:36:10
Donovan Rebbechi
Re: race report: Armory Track Meet

In article <20040229203341.02894.00000647@mb-m15.aol.com >, Lyndon wrote:
>
[snip]
>>Shoes: recently acquired some flats -- Tiger Paws. I'd road-tested them for
>>a 200m jog/run/sprint outside and loved them immediately. Extremely flexible,
>>and despite what I've heard about flats, I found the cushioning very
>>satisfactory, even for jogging.
>
> But with flats when the competition is wearing spikes, you are at a sizeable
> disadvantage. This isn't as bad in 1500-5000 because the speeds are lower,
> but there's a big difference in 800 and shorter events: Spikes grip much
> better in the turns, and the advantage is greater indoors. The difference is
> often 1-2 seconds per lap.

Yeah, this is probably just one of many novice errors on my part. As you can
see, I'm very new to this track game -- my first race on an indoor track. I
think most of the kids were wearing spikes, while a lot of the road runners
just wore their normal flats.

> Here in SoCal, it's fairly common for high school xc/1600/3200 types to use 5K
> races as overdistance training in the winter/spring if they don't have a race
> that weekend. So there are often the fastest kids running 5 minute pace in
> road races. What you describe is, I think, why road racers don't run in track
> meets too often. But if you run in a college 5000, instead of 800 or 1500,
> you'll probably find an 18:00 5K more competitive than the equivalent time
> would be in 800.

Yeah, I noticed this. I was in about the 18:00 range in college, and I wasn't
exactly the fastest, but I wasn't a slug either, at least in 3k and up. I
remember trying a 400 once, I could do it in about 60 then. And I was one hell
of a slug (-; I think I would have needed mid 50s to look decent, and close to
50 to look good.

> I warned somebody else on r.r last week to expect a suicidal pace. You can
> take advantage of the kids' inexperieice to pick some off. In a 1500 I try to
> stay at the tail end of the lead pack--just barely in contact--through 400.
> Then if you maintain your pace through 800, some of the idiots (now in lactate
> city) will come back to you. But you can't do this in an 800 or 400 indoors
> because the race is tto short and it's too hard to pass people.

Yeah, the relative difficulty of overtaking was one thing that was new about
this experience. Something I wasn't really prepared for. Wasn't a factor in
the 400, worked out OK in the 800 too because by the time I was doing much
passing (on the back of lap 2), the pack was already broken up.

But in the mile, I really felt it in part of the race. I remember having to
surge in lane 2 so that I could get back into a spot in lane 1, and remember
noting that doing that surge probably cost me a couple of seconds.

> You can sometimes use careful pacing to pass people here too. World class
> guys can only accelerate for 60-70 meters, so every race over 60 is--to some
> extent--an endurance race. The optimum pacing for most people is to hold
> back 0.5-1 second in the first 100 of a 200, and 1-2 seconds in the first 200
> of a 400. You can train for this in a 400 by doing a 4 X 200 workout midweek
> before a race: Run the first 200 all-out for time, and the rest 2 seconds
> slower on pace. Then on race day, you run at the pace you trained at that
> week.

...
> Given that you had already raced a mile and a 400, you should be very happy
> with your time.

Thanks for all the tips -- next time I do a track meet, I'll be looking to beat
those "reference times" I've set, so I'll do more serious preparation. Maybe
get some spikes too.

I was very happy with the way I puhed myself in the 800, I'm glad the time
looks good (I have absolutely no intuition for comparing 400/800/mile times)

Cheers,
--
Donovan Rebbechi
http://pegasus.rutgers.edu/~elflord/


01 Mar 2004 15:37:39
Donovan Rebbechi
Re: race report: Armory Track Meet

In article <tYj0c.990$R37.383@read1.cgocable.net >, SwStudio wrote:

> I tried a pair in the fall. Comfortable running shoes for sure,
> although they're a prime example of shoe companies trying
> to disguise a lightweight trainer as a flat.

Thanks for the tip. Since they're the only "flat" I've ran in, I don't
have many reference points. To me it feels like a light and flexible shoe.

> Anyway, another shoe you may like that has a similar design
> is the NB rc240. I find they last a lot longer. I usually get about
> 2 months, more if I have a couple pairs that I rotate. They are
> even momre flexible, with no nasty medial posts or other rigid
> areas in the midsole, like 99% of other shoes DO have.

Thanks. I'll take a look at these. Yes, you're right that I'd prefer not to
have any "stability" doodads. I picked up a pair of DS racers that have such
a thing, and I'll probably still use them for training and longer races, but
I'm more interested in the more flexible shoes.

PS can't believe they canned those RC 150s or whatever it is (you know, the
super lightweight flat that Global used to wear)

Cheers,
--
Donovan Rebbechi
http://pegasus.rutgers.edu/~elflord/