Saturday, August 05, 2006

Draper Mile - 25th Anniversary

I have lived in the Blacksburg/Christiansburg area since 1996 and actually lived in the next county over since 1990. For over 16 years, I have never heard of the Draper Mile Road Race. Is this possible? Since this is SWVA, where the main form of publication/announcements are flyers posted around town, the yes, I believe so! I was introduced to this race by my good friend and running partner Beth. It just so happened that at the time I found out about this race that Runner's World magazine had published an article on how to train for 1-mile road races, which are pretty common during the summer times.

So Beth and I set out to conquer this road race with the aspirations of completing it in the 6-minutes. As our speedwork at the VT track progressed, I made myself realize that anything 6:30-ish would make me happy! Twice a week we would jog from the office at down to the VT track to do sets of 200m sprints or 200/400/600/800/600/400/200m ladders and then jog back up for the cool down. One word - painful. But we were determined and persevered, week after week.

Race day was finally upon us last night. Our nerves continued to grow throughout the day. We drove over to Draper Road and parked my car so we could start our warm-up. It didn't take us very long to get warm since it was 6pm. Normally we are warming up at 6am....quite different!

Since our race aspirations were around the 6:00 finish time, that allowed us to enter the Elite running group, which ran separately from the open group. (Ladies had to have a finish time of 6:15, and men a time of 5:15 to enter in the Elite group.) We lined up and I was quite amazed to see that of the 200+ participants, there were only 33 people in our heat. Before we knew it, we were off!

I would say that I felt really good for the first half. The second half, however, I started to feel the pain. Mainly it was pain from the hard breathing. I felt my lungs working overtime. By this time, the majority of the group had a substantial lead and I was bringing up the rear. haha. Right around the 3/4 mark I passed two people, who then kicked it in the end and passed me back. My friend Beth was one of those people who just kicked at the end. She blasted past people to get a time of 5:49. This was amazing! I am so proud of her. She is one of those people who can truly dig deep at the right time to make things happen. She ended up second overall in our age group. Congrats Beth!!

As for me, I finished in an astonishing 6:09....a lot faster than what I thought I was going to do. I can't believe it actually. :-) This time put me in 5th place. Yay! Often it takes me a while to figure out or realize that my results from a race are actually good. After I saw my time posted on the Run About Sports website I was happy. The fastest I have ever ran a mile was during a track meet where I ran it in 6:00 flat. It's good to know that after 10 years and two kids I am only 9 seconds off from that time. That's pretty cool. ;-)

Only one more race of the season (for me) left. Anyone up for practice swims at Claytor Lake??


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