I feel like when my my running distance races comes up in casual conversation the most common question I get (besides “How far is a marathon?”) is “So how fast can you run a mile?” And my answer has always been, “I have no idea. I’ve never tried it.”
My best guess up until a few weeks ago would only have been that I knew I could come in somewhere under 7 minutes and 10 seconds because I tend to run at that pace when I am doing a couple of mile intervals. But I haven’t done a one-and-done, timed mile since something like sophomore year of high school.
I recently started running with the Bull City Track Club and when I heard about the Magnificent Mile, a popular, flat, mile road race in Downtown Raleigh, through the club’s listserv I thought it would be fun to give it a shot.
I got downtown a while before the 2 PM start with some BCTC members and did about 2 miles worth of warm up. Getting there really early was probably the best thing for me. My body usually needs a mile or two to get with the program so a good warm up was helpful in a situation where I was going to have to set an abnormally fast pace for me right out of the gate.
After watching some of the top runners of the men’s competitive mile start and finish impressively fast (the winner came in at 4:11), I lined up close-ish to the front of the non-elite pack for the women’s competitive mile.
Having no clue what my pace would be, I wasn’t at all sure where to position myself except that I knew I wanted to stay in front of all of the over-eager elementary aged kids that I could potentially trip over. The race started and a couple of them somehow still managed to weave in front of me and trip me up a little in the first couple of feet, but once I managed to not fall on my face and maneuver around them I had a nice open path.
I knew the race would be over before I knew it. I didn’t want to go out too fast but figured that was unlikely since my body and brain are hardwired to cross race starts at paces I can maintain for 13-26 miles. So I took it at what felt like a sprint and focused on keeping my breathing under control.
At the halfway point the clock was reading somewhere just over 3 minutes. I was feeling the first half but still had some left in the tank so I started trying to pass a few people. Once we rounded the last turn and were on the straightaway to the finish my lungs were burning but I was able to just ride the energy of the spectators to the end.
I finished in 6:16.6. I placed 6th out of 19 in my age group and 28th out of 196 women
Magnificent Mile was a great experience. It was interesting to try a race distance that was foreign to me and it was really inspiring to see some amazing elite runners perform. Seriously, Cristy Cazzola won the women’s race with a time of 4:41.1, which is utterly mind-blowing to me!
Have you ever done a mile race? Or just timed yourself on a mile just because? How did it go?