I'm especially fond of street miles, because they are not broken up into tidy quarter-mile loops, but rather present a unique course, often a single loop or point-to-point (my favorite) without the distraction of repetition. There might even be some (gasp!) hills! You just run all out for 5280 feet, with no aid stations, no bonking, and the wind in your hair (and bald spot). You get to experience the sensation of pure speed (YOUR speed, whatever that may be), and it's all over before you can say "energy gel". There's nowhere to "hide" in a mile. There are no excuses. There's no time to take a breather mid-race and reboot. It's go time from the gun to the finish line.The New Year's Day Capitol Mile, a longstanding event put on by the Willamette Valley Roadrunners, is the first such race of the new year. The race is an out-and-back in Wallace Marine Park in West Salem, with pre- and post-race festivities inside the Courthouse Athletic Club.
I participated in last year’s event, which was my first actual mile race. I would agree with Joe – it was extremely nerve-wracking knowing that there was no sense in holding back. It was also extremely humbling as the holiday season had really caught up with me. One of my quotes from the recap is:
A mile is a mile is a mile. It’s 5280 feet of pavement that most people can do, but a smaller number of people can excel at. After taking the majority of December off to nurse a sore knee (and a full appetite), I came to the event knowing I was out of running shape. But I still felt energized and my passion renewed from my time off. I had a goal in mind…and I fell way short. My lungs were short of breath quicker than I wanted (perhaps made more challenging with the cold winter air), my legs were tired earlier, and I had no push and drive at the end. Yes, it was humbling.
Despite this, it was a start for 2015 and it propelled me to over 30 races, pinnacled with a 20 mile trail race at Peterson Ridge. That was the first mile of nearly 1000 and came with an experience, a race in the books, and a coffee cup in hand. Check it out!