Well, the title says it all. Senior Games, event #2 on my list – the running session. I did the 800 meters and the mile. Here’s what happened.
The event was held at Gwynedd-Mercy University in Lower Gwynedd, PA, about 15 or twenty minutes from my house. We arrived on time, 6 PM.
I checked in and looked around. There was a nice crowd gathered – runners from age 50 to 85+, and fans ready to cheer. One man’s family had all dressed in green (to match his running outfit) and carried a sign with his name, Tony, on it. As for me, I had my husband there to encourage me.
The first events were the 100 and 400, and there were quite a few heats. Six people ran at a time, from youngest to oldest, women and then men, filling the lanes in this order. Awards were given by age group but the actual races were run in mixed ages.
We stood by the side of the track, in the middle of one of the straight stretches. We fell into conversation with several women, one I knew from another competition, and others I just met. It turned out nicely because we could cheer for each other.
I noticed many more men competing than women. This fits in with my experiences with 5K’s – after age 50, men really outnumber women, though I think it’s the opposite in younger age groups. I don’t know why this is and I offer no opinions other than to say, I don’t plan on giving up until I give out, so I’ll do my part to keep the numbers up.
All right. Finally it was time for the 800. Only three women ran it along with 10 or so men, I think. So our heat included men and women.
I’ll tell you now, I haven’t run these distances since high school in the 1970’s. I am a 5K+ runner, and I had no idea how to do the race. So I just tried to start out strong and stay with it.
All right. I made it. I had hoped to be faster than 4:30 and I was – 4:20. So I was happy. I will say that it’s darn hard to start out running fast, though. I’m used to getting an easier start and building up! I ended up second in my age group (all the runners were in my age group) and that pleased me, too.
After a rest while the men finished, it was time for the mile. Once again, there were three women and more men. I had a better idea how to manage this race, since it was longer. I started off easier; my first three laps were virtually the same split. I was going along in 3rd place. By the 4th lap I had warmed up and I could see the second place runner was flagging a bit. I thought I could pass her – decided to make my move on the straight stretch before the final curve, so I didn’t have the extra effort of passing her on the outside and making things harder for myself.
The strategy worked and I felt very pleased with myself for thinking it through! My final lap was 15 seconds faster than the first three. That’s what training for 5K’s will do for you, I guess. My time was 9:31, meeting my goal of 9:30 or so. I ended up in second place and once again I was pleased.
Here I am finishing the mile.
I felt quite a bit of relief now that it was all over. All that remained was getting our awards.
And here I am, triumphant.
Oops, let’s try that again.
Now all that remains is the timed walk, tomorrow, at Montgomery County Community College. Until then…