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Chasing myself

August 1, 2010

Back when I was in my early teens, I ran. A lot. I was all about the track racing, mostly running the 400m and 800m, but occasionally stepping up to the 1500m. At the age of 15, not entirely certain of my race strategy, I found myself in the County Championships 1500m race. I won that race, after a hard slog with another runner on my tail the whole way round, in 4:46. After that, I never beat that time.

And then I ran less. I stopped competing in track and field events, focused on studying for exams (call it a convenient excuse, if you will), and eventually discovered beer. Beer and running don’t mix so well, unless you’re into hash running, in which case beer is an integral part.

Matt Tegenkamp wins 1500m section 2
Image by nocklebeast via Flickr

So, come the present day, it was with a slight sense of trepidation that I lined up for the club championships 1500m time trial. At the moment I seem to be better suited to longer distances than shorter distances. While I’m regaining my ability to make a last-minute dash for the line, there isn’t a massive difference between my top speed and the speed I’d choose to run 10 miles in. There were also some very serious runners lining up with me – the ones wearing compression socks, specialist sun glasses and matching vest-and-short combos.

There was a pack of four of us looking to run around 5 minutes. My previous 1500m had been something like 4:59, so 5 minutes sounded a reasonable goal. With the main body of runners tearing away at the start, we focused on our strategy of negative splits (where you run the second half of the race faster than the first). By two laps in, we were starting to overtake some of the early dashers, and we kept on building the speed.

Eventually, with the closest I could muster towards a hell-for-leather finish, I crossed the line in 4:50, putting me 6 out of 40. More importantly, in 15 years it looks like I’ve only lost 4 seconds. Feeling pretty happy about that…

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Shaun permalink
    August 1, 2010 7:35 pm

    Well done! would be interesting to find out what i could do in the 1500 metres…i had no interest in running at school – it was usually used as a punishment for being late or forgetting your kit meaning you had to run in your underpants, lol
    A lot of these youngsters that get the edge on the vets like myself and seniors like you will have to go through the beer drinking years in pubs and clubs, etc…i’ve been there done that and got the T-shirt…and now i can just concentrate on the old running…with the occasional night out on the town of course 😉
    Hooky 6 next Sunday!

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