I think I take the sport of track and field for granted, especially given how little publicity it receives in non-Olympic years. That's why I will take the opportunity to watch track whenever, wherever and however I can find it. The USA Track & Field (USATF) Indoor Championships were this past weekend, and I just so happened to get access to the remote channel they were being broadcast on (NBCSN). I spent a couple hours over the weekend just getting to enjoy spectating the sport. With 2015 being an off-year for Indoor World Championships, a lot of the big name athletes were not there, and a couple non-standard distances were contested as well (i.e., 300m, 600m).
Despite my background as a miler, I found the 600m to be one of the more interesting track races of the weekend. Casimir Loxsom, a Penn State graduate and current American record holder over 600m, ran a great race and appeared to be running at ease the entire time. I think the announcers said at one point that Loxsom never won an NCAA title, but that did not stop him from continuing to compete and improve. It paid dividends as he set a new American record for the distance.
Speaking of getting back to track, I ran my first indoor track race in over three years this past weekend too. I ran the mile, and although it was a far cry from the USATF Indoor mile winner (4:01) and from my own personal best in college (4:11), it was great to be back at my alma mater running in track spikes again. It was NOT great however to have that feeling of "track lung" again. I must have blocked this part out of my past, but as soon as I got done with the race, I couldn't breathe, and I definitely couldn't talk. Every time I tried to talk, I ended up coughing; not a pleasant thing to try and deal with.
Back to the race, I could not have been more happy with how it went. After taking nearly two months off this winter to get my body healthy, I've been slowly (VERY SLOWLY) increasing mileage, mainly in the 40-45 mile range and a 12 mile long run. I had mixed in a few tempo runs and speed intervals, but I was expecting to run something in the 4:40 to 4:45 range. I was pleasantly surprised to run 4:35, and even happier that I was able to finish strong and move my way up to fifth place in the race ahead of several high school and college runners.
The top racers in the field were 4:19/4:20, and I can't help but think that if I can have a consistent spring, I can get back down to those times and be competitive. More importantly, I'm just happy to be back to running injury free.
2009 Mile Video of GPAC Conference