I ran my fourth Macklind Mile yesterday.
Before yesterday, I hadn’t run a mile since the KT82 Trail Relay three weeks ago. I may do a more detailed post later, but the short version is my hip flexor pain never went away so I’ve been getting treatment on it at Precison Health Group. My doctor had me do a test .50 mile run Thursday. I completed that with no pain, so he cleared me to run Saturday, with the caveat that I listen to my body.
I was so happy to be able to run because this is one of my favorite races. The one mile course on Macklind is only a couple miles from our house in south city and it has a real neighborhoody feel. People stand on their porches or sit in their front lawns and watch runners go by, like a parade. And it’s the complete opposite of most of the races I train for so it’s fun to mix it up.
My women’s competitive heat didn’t begin until 8:50 so I parked near the finish around 8am and walked to the start as my warm up. As I walked north on the course the non competitive wave was running south. I saw lots of people running with strollers and lots of pretty young kids running a full mile. I don’t often get to spectate so this was a real treat. Seeing all the people trying their hardest, especially the young kids, made me overcome with emotion and nearly in tears most of my walk. Nothing gets you into a racing frame of mind like a good cry.
I got to the start around 8:20 and stood around getting nervous for half an hour. The pressure should have been totally off–I haven’t run in three weeks, if I hurt I planned to walk, etc–and yet I still felt nauseated. I had way too much time to think (obsess). I was thinking it would be nice to run the mile in the 8s, there’s no way I’m touching last year’s PR of 7:04, oh god what if I’m no longer fit enough to run a mile in 9 minutes. I was happy when then horn blew at 8:50 and I could just focus on seeing what my body could do that day.
The course starts on a sharp downhill and I let myself get swept up in the crowd. I was certain the pace I started at was unsustainable (probably in the 6s) but I decided to just bank the time. After that downhill there’s a gradual uphill, which is a surprise if you’ve never run this race advertised as a net downhill (which it is). I allowed my body to slow up to recover a little but was still passing people. My breathing was a hot mess (haven’t run in three weeks!) but my body was strong and pain free. So grateful for that.
I decided not to look at my watch at all. They have quarter mile signs along the route so I focused on putting them in my sights and reaching them. I had a lot of “soon this will be over”s going through my mind any time walking seemed like a good idea. We hit the half mile mark and I saw the race clock showed a time in the 3:30s. That’s certainly not a 9 minute mile! That gave me a giant boost of confidence as we reached the part of the course that is just downhill.
That last section of the course you can see the finish line in the distance and big crowds of people near Big River Running. It’s pretty exciting. However you can see that a long time and that’s tough when you’re running at maximum effort. Instead I focused on the bodies ahead of me. I tried to catch people but it seemed everyone around me had the same idea because we were all locked into our positions even though I know we were running faster.
Closer to the finish I could see the race clock. It still had a time beginning with a 6 on it. Um, what? Who am I and what am I doing? Around that time I heard Meghan from training team scream “GO NORA!” I did not see her, but I knew it was her. It’s nice to have loud friends. (She’s in black, on the left.)
Anyway, back to the race clock. It had a 6 on it but it was nearly to 7. I gave every last ounce of what I had to try and break 7.
Despite apparently levitating to the finish, I came up a little short of breaking 7 minutes.
Anyway, enough about me. This year the race organizers added a new event, the dog mile! Since I prefer animals to people, this event made my dreams come true.
This dog was the winner, and ran the mile in about 4:30. That’s the real time. There was also a person with him.
Here are some of the other finishers.
The following dog had to be coaxed with a tummy rub before finishing.
After the dog mile the elites ran, which was over very quickly. Then it was time for the kids quarter mile dash, which is pretty adorable.
Some kids are in it to win it.
The kids quarter mile was the last race, so after that my Big River friends and I took a photo.