Tuesday, July 15, 2014

1 mile PR Dart for Art

Monday was the inaugural Dart for Art in Ann Arbor to kick off the street fair week. I want no part of the street fair, but I had seen a postcard for the race on the registration table at the DX-A2 expo and it looked fun. More importantly - it was a timed mile with an elite category. Most single mile races are untimed kids events, but I had checked ahead of time to make sure this one would be timed. Many runners avoid inaugural races, but I figured they can't mess up too much over one mile, and if it's terrible, it'll be over in a few minutes anyway.

The elite men ran at 6:00, the elite women at 6:10 and everyone else at 6:20. It started sprinkling at 6:14 and continued for a good hour, but it wasn't hard and didn't make the road slick. The weather was low 70s and breezy and just about perfect. They had timing / pacing signs at the start and I put myself squarely between the 7:00 and 8:00 signs, hoping to improve on the 7:51 I ran at the Flying Pig Little Kings mile. I was hoping for a PR, but my heart really wasn't in it. My cat has been sick and I wanted to be home with her, yet I had already paid for the race and timed 1 milers aren't super common, so I went, knowing I would not be disappointed at all if I didn't PR.

The race ran around the Law Quad at UMich, which meant it had five turns. I had looked at the course map ahead of time and started on the extreme left, then after the third turn, cut the tangent to the far right.

And I ran. I ran hard, trying to replace the emotional pain of my cat with physical pain. Physical pain is good. If I can't breathe, I can't cry over kitty. (I feared I would be deciding today whether or not to put her down. She isn't fatal, thanks be to God) For the first 0.35 miles I was in the 6:15-6:20 range. I "slowed down" about halfway. There was a water stop in the race, which I think was a really nice touch. I didn't stop, but it's entirely possible there were runners or walkers, for whom a full mile was a big deal and who needed the water. It was nice to have the option.

I saw the big clock at 7:12 when I finished and thought something must be wrong with that. I don't run 7:12s! I paused my watch and according to that, I ran 7:11:59, but only for 0.94 miles.... My projected finishing time by my watch was 7:35, so a PR either way. It's possible my watch was affected by the heavy clouds, or maybe she lost a satellite for a few seconds. Maybe she skipped part of the distance because I was going so fast and she couldn't keep up ;)

When they printed and posted the times, I swear mine said 6:58. The official results online have me at a 7:10, which was good for 7/35 in my age group (separated in 10-year increments). The winner in my age group was sub-6 minutes. The course was certified, so it had to be exactly a mile, it's just weird. My watch has never ever been short. Most times it's longer than the actual course due to less than perfect turns and tangents, but I've never been short. Likewise my time has never been longer than the official time. My watch is generally a few seconds less than the official time. I know that their clock is the official one, so for once the discrepancy worked in my favor.

The goodies were very nice, especially for a 1-miler. I got a cotton t-shirt, a drawstring bag containing a mini boxing glove that someone is getting as a birthday present (gag gift), a packet of Hammer gel, and Chapstick!!!!! We also got a finisher medal made by Motawi Tileworks. It's different and very nice.

A few minor suggestions to improve for next year's race:
1. Push back the start from 6pm to 7pm so we don't have to contend with rush hour traffic.
2. Separate the open category into a few different start times, or different waves every 2 minutes so there is less congestion at the start.
3. Do a straight line point-to-point course to eliminate the turns.

Overall it was a really good race. Packet pickup was in a tent right next to the start. Registration was online and took 3 minutes. I received numerous emails beforehand with updates and information. And it was cheap - $20 altogether. Nice job Epic Races!!! :)

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