On Friday night, a little over 10 years removed from graduating Ursinus College, Drew and I drove up to UC for the annual Twilight meet. After an hour and 20 minutes in rush hour traffic with some great conversation, we arrived and were greeted by some familiar faces, but mostly a lot of young kids who probably think I’m as old as their parents.
The ‘meet’ has only three races. An alumni-mostly mile, then two 3200m races where alumni can race against the boys and girls on the team if they’d rather do that than the mile. My plan was simple, PR in the 3200m (just short of two miles).
I ran 9:42.7 in the 3200m in May of 2009. After high school, you never really race this distance, so Twilight is a rare opportunity.
The top guys were planning to hit ~4:35 through the mile. Too fast. I told myself that ~4:50 would be ideal. After 1600m it was me and one kid, a tall freshman named Troy. We hit 4:52/3. Not perfect, but enough room to PR if I was feeling good.
Troy ran one step behind me for five laps and clipped my foot once. With three laps to go I thought the race was slipping away; I was hurting, the lap splits weren’t getting any faster, and Troy had no intentions of taking over pacing. I was pretty much in ‘hold on’ mode, assuming that the PR wasn’t quite there.
With two laps to go, the clock showed 7:20 which is easy math – if I can run a 2:21 last 800m, I can PR. I surged and dropped Troy, fucking finally. That 400 was a 71/2, so with one lap left, it was within reach.
I kept going, closing on a kid who went out too fast, then with 100m left, I turned on the rockets, so to speak, this PR was mine. But then, 50m from the line, guess who comes past me… fucking TROY! Absolutely blew by me. I fought through the line, it was a 10/10 effort.
Post Race Thoughts
First, kudos to the UC guys, it’s about time we have some respectable times here!
Race-wise I was happy. I was probably never going to have a chance to run this fast again, so PR’ing, even by less than a second, was a good feeling. And as always, the beers and stories after the race are priceless. Even when I’m in worse shape, I will enjoy events like this. Rothman is around the corner and I don’t want to speak too confidently, but sub 26 feels inevitable.
Beyond that though is the night itself. In total, I think 7 alumni showed up to run, and none opted to race the two mile. Most are happy to run a mile, have a few beers after, and call it a day. Honestly I don’t feel that weird about it, but being the only alum to show up and take it ‘seriously’ feels odd. Like I’m stuck in the glory days. I mean, I’m writing an entire post about breaking a 14 year old PR by less than a second. I’m not exactly setting the world on fire here.
I guess it comes down to if I’m still having fun. And I am, 100%. I have a few years left before the times will get a lot slower, and the motivation will be a lot lower. I’ll always run to some extent, but I realize the next 2-3 years are my last shot for running fast times, so I will shamelessly race the college kids.