Some races are just worth returning to due to their worth as a measuring stick. Maybe not necessarily to other races of the same distance, but to compare effort and capability of previous years. The one mile course at Uberthons New Yearathon is such a race. With varied terrain and a little more climbing than one would probably expect in a race of this distance, it is a great course to use to see how much you have improved over the previous time. I will cut to the chase here and tell you my achievement. One second. But there is a story behind that, as you might suspect.
As always at Uberthons events, check in was a breeze. I have raced at Cook Park before, and find it a pretty area, if not an ideal location to go fast. I had been battling a nasty bug the week prior, and decided that the one mile would be fun, but to try a double would not be particularly healthy. I was still coughing during runs, and it was really bad after any level of workout, to the point that I would start dry heaving. I figured with the one mile, by the time my body figured out what I was up to, I would have already finished. Luckily, it worked out as I planned.
It has been a long time since I raced a mile….a year exactly. Unfortunately, there are not many chances to race at this distance. I do get on the track periodically for time trials, basically racing the clock and run under 5 minutes consistently. My pr is 4:47 and I have hit that a few times. With 5 sharp turns and two inclines, obviously that is not a time I would be hitting at Cook Park, especially in the winter. Last year, I ran it alone, and crossed the line at 5:13.
This year was definitely different. I wasn’t fully healthy, but definitely wanted to push it. Seeing Chris McIsaac in his Portland Running Company Race Team singlet let me know this was not going to be an easy race. I have met him before in the past and have found him to be a fun adversary.
This was immediately noticeable as he surged right off the gun. There is nothing quite like a short race for flat-out speed and I was caught off guard momentarily. I remembered this would not be the place for my normal race tactic of a smart start and reeling people in, and quickly surged to get with him. We were side by side for about 100m around the edge of a baseball field. I led across the parking lot, begging my legs to remember how to run fast. As we made a sharp right back onto the paths, he made the shrewd move of getting in front.
The next sections would not be favorable to passing. The paths gently curved and then it was a sharp right into the dirt. Another hard turn to the left and he gained a few steps. Then back right and up a muddy incline sealed the deal. The last section was a gradual uphill, curving to the right. My breathing was in control, but my legs and torso seemed out of sorts as I tried to maintain pace. He didn’t gain much more, but my ability to kick and chase him down was considered and discarded as I held my place. On a better day, I’m sure I could have made it a good race, but he had the upper hand on this one. It was a blast, and I gave it all I had, as he finished a good 5 seconds ahead of me.
Due to a rare Uberthons mishap (they are unparalleled in their timing process) one mile results were not immediately ready. But by the time I got home and showered, they were available. Other than that, this was a fun, flawless event. Cook Park is a beautiful place to run, and the weather cooperated. I am definitely planning on returning next year, much healthier, to attempt to take back my title.
You can find the full results on the Uberthons site.
1. Chris McIsaac 27, 5:07
2. Brian Bernier 31, 5:12
3. Joe Dudman 50*, 5:34
1. Betsy Seth 56*, 6:41
2. Emily Dimick 28, 6:43
3. Shannon Aguilar 35, 7:15
1. Dean Anderson 40, 6:00
2. Tung Yin 47, 6:14
3. John Patrick Riley 57, 7:37
1. Keely Linn 51, 7:16
2. Jackie Groah 47, 7:47
3. Eileen Kuffner 45, 9:06
‘*’- denotes Masters