"Each step forward has a sacred meaning of its own" Sri Chinmoy
2 Mile Race - Jamaica, Queens - August 2018
You just never know with a 2 miler. It can go like a dream or fall apart in the first few minutes. Unless, of course, you are regularly running speed sessions at race pace and know exactly how your body is going to react. Right now I know my fragile running form couldn't sustain a regime of "quality" sessions on a regular basis, so the 2 mile race is always something of a step into the unknown. At least in New York, on the course I have run more than any other, I'm in the company of friends and just taking part is pretty satisfying.
This particular 2 miler started with little expectation - it was hot and humid and my last race had been the 10k at the end of a triathlon, in which my right achilles niggled from start to finish. Having run myself to a pulp on that occasion I expected the same reaction from my dodgy tendon when I put it under pressure, but surprisingly it didn't happen. From the start I took it easy (ish) over the rise and felt in good nick as we eased into our respective race-paces past the clock opposite Thomas Edison school. The hours of meditation I've put in since the race have to some extent wiped the detail from my memory but I remember Vaibhava ahead of me at this stage along with Amur and Durdam.
As lap 1 unwound and I shortened my stride on the hill I was relieved to feel no pain from calves or tendons and the only thing limiting my speed was fitness. That made it a genuine contest of me against 2 measured miles, with a season's best of 12.27 the obvious target. I knew that wouldn't be easy as the NYC course has "the hill" as you turn off 164th Street and the steady rise past Jamaica High School, both of which you cover twice. On the plus side you are likely to be in an inspired mood from racing during Celebrations and with lots of friends running alongside you. Coming down off the rise it was Tarit calling the times and my half way point was 6.18 - with lots still in the tank I knew I had paced it just right and could run a reasonable race.
I overtook Vaibhava and Amur and stepped up the rate of breathing (or should I say gasping) to keep myself at max speed. These days I'm aware of the "ceiling" that stops me going any faster, that being my general aerobic fitness or VO2 max or whatever you want to call it. Whatever term you use, at 50 I know that the accelarator doesn't respond like it did in my thirties, or even my early forties!
Lap 2 went well, with my mind happy in the intensely mantric silence of race effort, and a feeling of gratitude that I was out there still running, having first raced on this course in 1994 at the age of 25. Almost a quarter of a century of "Runners are Smilers" races! I gasped over the line in a breathless 12.27, which tells me the days of attacking the 12 minute barrier are quite probably behind me, but I was well happy with that time as it was my joint best of 2018.
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