This is a very exciting blog post for me. After five cross country season and four outdoor track season at San Jose State, the Men’s Track & Field team has been reinstated! This is the first time since 1988 that San Jose State has an official men’s team competing in track and field. It also marks the first time that I’ve had to opportunity to race an indoor track season. It’s a shorter break from the end of cross country season to the start of the outdoor track season, but I’ve always liked a bit of a challenge and today’s race was definitely that.
Indoor track is a bit different from outdoor track and not just in location. The track is a 200 meter track with banked turns (similar to those found on a cycling track) in comparison to a 400 meter flat outdoor track. It presents a new set of technique and running style that I haven’t experienced before, but I enjoyed my season opener if it was nothing else but practicing my technique.
This meet all the distance runners, except Evaristo, were entered to run the 1 mile race. In my race was Jose, Edgar, Charlie, two UCLA runners, and a few runners from New Mexico. My plan was to take the race out running somewhere between 63-64 seconds per lap. The race went out exactly how I needed it to go, with the first 400m at 63 seconds. There was a nice string of about 5 of us in the lead pack, with a rabbit about 10 meters ahead of us. The rabbit would pull us through 800 meters before he stepped off the track. I passed through 800 at 2:07, again exactly where I needed to be. The turns took me a few laps to get the hang of and I was hovering more towards the outside of lane one so I didn’t clip anyone that was on the inside of me. After I got more comfortable with the pack, I ran the turns tighter and had a better feel for the track. My ankles got clipped a few times by a runner behind me and I was lucky not to have fallen earlier in the race. That luck didn’t hold on forever though. Just after we passed through the 1200 meter mark, a runner behind me kicked me a few times before deciding to jump to the outside lane and try to pass me on the curve. He got in front of me and moved back inside, I got tangled up with him in the process, and I went down. I learned that indoor tracks are not as soft as their outdoor counterparts can be and they also make a much louder noise when you fall on them because they’re wood underneath. Because it was on the curve, I ended up rolling down the track into the sand pit before I could get back up. I was down for maybe 2 seconds, but in that time the lead pack had put pulled away too much and I couldn’t get back with them. I got up and gave it all I had left, and didn’t have much of a kick because I spent so much energy after the fall. I ended up finishing in 8th place with a time of 4:20.9 (Which converts to a 4:14 mile at sea level).
Overall I’m pleased with the effort I gave, happy that the fall didn’t hurt me anymore than a few scrapes and bruises, and I’ll take it as a learning experience to do better in my next indoor competition. The combination of it being an early season race, the altitude in Albuquerque, and falling mid-race made this a very difficult race, but I think that as the season progresses, I’ll only have better races to come. More than anything I’m so excited that Men’s Track and Field is back at San Jose State and it’s so exciting to be a part of this fantastic team! The men’s team will be traveling to Idaho for the Bronco Challenge on February 9th.