CSULB Distance Carnival – 2003

December 12, 2003

Despite the name of “Distance Carnival,” this event was a track meet with 4 races.  Most of the competitors were high school and junior college age, but Todd Rose, Todd Byers and I also went, because the cost was $5 for all events you wanted to run (and $10 just to watch).

The event was at night and about 40 degrees out – cold enough to see one’s breath – and not particularly ideal for the first event – the 2000 meter Steeplechase.

I have never done a Steeplechase before, and I am not particularly good at jumping.  Maybe there is this preconception that tall people are great jumpers, but I am not.  I can usually reach up higher than normal people, but I can’t get my legs up higher or easier than normal people.  Also, there is the ‘my-legs-are-still-really-stiff’ issue.  While I was not planning on doing a hurdle-like jump over the barrier, my plan was certainly not to come to a complete stop and then climb over the barrier!

When I got to the water barrier, I had the same problem, except that I didn’t have good enough balance to stand on top of the barrier and jump over the water, so basically I sit on the barrier and drop straight into the water and… run with wet shoes.

I am briefly not in last place, as one of the kids ahead of me trips over the barrier and does a header into the water… but when he recovers, he powers on past me.

By my second to last lap, I discover that there is a very small ledge on the other side of the water barrier.  My feet are narrow enough to stand on it edge-wise and not drop directly into the water.  Except for the kid who tripped, everyone laps me twice (he laps me once).  I finish in 9:51.9, in last place, but the best “Open” finisher – the ONLY Open finisher!

The next race is the 800 meters (approx. 1/2 mile).  I do get a short break, because there are too many people to run all at once.  I’m in a heat with Todd Byers and Todd Rose.  Out of 43 total competitors, we three finish in 41st, 42nd and 43rd place.  This is a decent field, given that I ran 2:59 (5:58 mile pace).

The third race (and no, my shoes have NOT dried out, and my feet are really cold!) is the 1600 (~ mile) and I am pretty tired from the other races.  Again, there are multiple heats, so I get a little bit of a rest.  There are 65 competitors… can you guess, Todd Byers, Todd Rose and I come in 63rd, 64th and 65th.  Again, I have a good time – 6:59… but it is the worst of the group.

For the last race, the 3200 meters (~ 2 miles), I don’t get a break.  Todd and Todd don’t run the race, so I am alone with a bunch of people 10-15 years younger than me.  I think I am an odd sight (besides being a head taller than most of them) because I am wearing a hat, and don’t have the speed that everyone else has.

I am lapped by the entire field… twice, so I do get a big cheer from everyone as I try to finish without being embarrassed.  I finish in 14:38, which is a really decent time, considering that I ran all 4 races AND I did all of them in wet shoes (and I was only lapped by people half my age).

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