Report: T-Bone Breakthrough
mile has a classic symmetry. It's a play in four acts."
- John Landy
had his eyes set on a sub-five mile starting about midway
through his fortieth year. Salivation was sufficiently induced
on his birthday, when he ran a 5:06…not bad for January. He
planned on making a more serious attempt during this summer's
All Comers meets.
week before the first meet, he did a dry run in 5:13. In his
first meet, he ran a 5:06. His second meet, a 5:03 and won
his race, despite some traffic which cost him some time. I
planned on hooking up with him on July 27 to witness his next
attempt…no better way than to run it with him.
jogged over to the track talked about our pacing strategy.
He was running his first lap a bit too fast which was costing
him on lap 3. I had him do some 200's with me in our warm
up to get him a sense of what a 74 second opening lap should
feel like. He looked real good. I felt good too, which helps
a lot if I was going to be any good to him at all. The last
thing I wanted to do was die on the second lap and not be
there for him on lap three. In his other attempts, he had
not been under 3:50 after the 1200, and that was leaving him
virtually no room on the last lap, even as strong as he is.
were as loose as we could expect at the start of a race (which
never is the case for me). There was a throng of runners (about
30-40 I would guess) toeing it up. When the gun sounded, Tommy
grabbed lane one as he always does…the one good thing about
his patented jackrabbit starts. He pushed hard through the
first turn and already was about 5 yards ahead of me. He eased
up on the back stretch and I pulled up on his shoulder at
the 200 mark, glancing at my watch: 37 seconds. I said "good
job, Tommy" and stayed on him through the second turn and
on the home stretch of lap one. We came across in 74 seconds.
were still running 1-2 through the third turn and I then heard
a couple of runners coming up. Sounded like about three of
them. I didn't know where Tommy was and hoped he was right
there. He was. We came across lap two at 2:29 and 2:31 respectively.
Right on the button. I then started my third lap push, trying
to get a sense of digging through turn five. On the back stretch,
this kid came ripping by. I said to myself…shame on you, son
for letting such an old man do all the work…It was a real
motivator to keep me pushing. I felt good as could be expected,
but was starting to fatigue going into turn six.
came across lap three in about 3:44. I could hear someone
churning behind me and I hoped it was Tommy. Later,
found out it was and he came across in 3:47. Perfect. I also
found out later his gentleman running cost him a couple of
steps yielding lane one to a couple of dudes, who then proceeded
to slow down in front of him. We'll work on that later. I
then shifted my attention to the dude in front of me and launched
a covert attempt to try to reel him in through shear hate.
I was hoping Tommy was feeling the same hate toward me. If
he did, he would have no problem taking it to the house. I
closed the gap on the back stretch and pushed hard through
the last turn, but could not catch him. But the good news
was T-Bone charged hard down the final stretch for a 4:59.
next week, he ran a 5:00.50, paying a big price for another
fast opener on lap three. The scary thing was he closed with
a 70 flat! With his strength and some more focused track work,
I think he will surprise himself…but not Bruce and I. Stay
tuned. Next year, I will writing about how he ran 4:55 and
dropped me on the last lap.
All Comers Meet Report
I put my $2 down for the first All-Comers meet of the year,
I did not know what to expect. Let's face it. I never really
know what to expect before any race, given the fact I still
have a lot to learn about running, but today was different.
I had not done a track work out in a couple of weeks and had
not run Kong since before the Jasper To Banff Relay in early
June. While mile repeats are the workout of choice pretty
much every Thursday with T-Bone and Coop, it is one thing
to pump out three 5:30's and running one sub-5:00 mile. Weighing
on my mind was also the reality that the last time I ran a
hard mile on the track was pacing T-Bone on his 40th birthday
last January. Given these circumstances, I was not what I
would call brimming with confidence for the joggers' mile.
have some people fooled. While I have some speed for an old
guy, I really have to work at it and would not have progressed
at all had it not been for Bruce turning me on to The Truth
method. My speed does not come from one of those effortless
looking, long athletic strides. Instead, it's one of those
manufactured looking things: Short, choppy, fast turnover
from a fast twitching lower body coupled with a weird, crouched
upper body that is getting worse every time I am forced into
that position running up Kong. But that's the key. It's intensity
and hills that replaced the junk. And most importantly, the
Truth Method has got attitude, baby…just like my golf swing…or
the way I used to play baseball…helping get our team back
into a game or taking us completely out of one with some of
the chances I took… It would be attitude that would have to
carry me today. I was not about to die on the track with my
wife, daughter and son watching.
I expected, I felt like crap in my warm up. I did my normal
down to the bookstore and back warm up, two laps around the
soccer field and then put on the spikes. If my feet did not
feel light by then, well, it was time to fire up the attitude.
My 200s @ 37 were not bad, but I still did not have the pop
I was hoping for. While it was windy and hot, it did not bother
me. I was not track ready. When we toed it up, I just focused
on the inside lane and was going to make sure I grabbed it
and take it from there. I couldn't believe how easy the high
school kids gave it to me. Other than the horse that jumped
way out front, I had it to myself with what felt like about
four runners right on my shoulder. The horse died after 600
and we all went by.
others behind me should have been ashamed of themselves for
wind-maggoting on a 43 year old. I almost took off my hat
and threw it in the infield just to piss them off in front
of their swooning girlfriends as we past the west grandstand,
but decided against it. Instead, I flashed back briefly to
the days when I was their age…my blond mane, dancing off my
shoulders as we headed into the fourth turn…which is about
the time they blew by my sorry ass. My hearing did serve me
correctly. There were four of them. My lead after 600 meters
was a short one. My first lap was right on the button at 74.
I make it a habit of checking the first 210 and I was right
where I wanted to be @ 37, which included the waterfall start
distance of about 10 yards. I felt better than I thought I
would, but I knew it was way too early to tell.
of the high school kids broke free ahead of me at the start
of lap 2, opening up a gap on the other two who fell back
to fourth and fifth place. I made lap two in 75, for a cumulative
2:29. I was starting to hurt. Manciata's advice for lap 3
then blared into my subconscious: Concentrate! I tried hard
to push through lap 3, but I felt like I was losing ground.
Negative thoughts crept in and I starting already settling
for something in the low 5's. Then, when I held lap 3 in 75,
my attitude changed. It really changed when I heard my son
yell "Go, Dad!" That was it, baby. Bruce's voice came back
inside my head for his famous lap 4 advice and said "Find
someone to hate." The poor fourth place kid happened to be
within striking distance. I reeled him in just before going
into the final turn and was in full latac hell at that point,
but was flying and gaining on the kid in third. I pushed hard
down the stretch and finished in 4:57.
it sounds like a great story of running on pure attitude,
today's lesson is (1) make sure you stay on the hills (hard
steep runs for at least 30 minutes, twice per month…and that
means Kong) and; (2) don't get too far from the track if you
expect to run fast. Heeding this advice would have kept me
from being wiped out for two days after a mile race, which
was not because I am 43. And yes…I kept the hat on after the