Coming through the quarter. Photo by Jess Tilton
The mile is not my specialty, but this race is too cool to pass up. Last year was the inaugural Millen Mile, a one-mile track race held at half time of the Kennett High School football home opener, under the lights. It is held in memory of former Kennett High football coach, social studies teacher, and all-around good guy Gary Millen. I only had Mr. Millen for 9th grade Civics, but he was a good teacher and he took an interest in all sports, and you would routinely see him at many sporting events. Gary died of a heart attack in 2006; way too early, especially for someone who meant so much to the community.
Last year I won the race in 4:38, about 3 seconds slower than my PR, but I was pretty happy with it as I pretty much ran alone and hadn't really done much track work to prepare for it. This year I knew I would have my hands full as Tim Livingston has been running well and Fryeburg Academy and University of Southern Maine alum Tim Even would be toeing the line. Adding to difficulty of this race would be the fact that I have felt like garbage all week. I wasn't sick, but I felt run down everyday and each run was not pretty until Thursday, where I managed 3 miles and some drills and strides and I didn't feel like I was going to fall over from dead legs.
All that aside, I got in a good warm-up with plenty of drills and strides and just tried to stay loose. The timing of the start of this race is interesting as you need to keep an eye on the game clock, but you never really know when you'll start because of all the timeouts and such. After each runner was introduced we got on the line and got ready to burn our lungs for four and a half minutes.
Tim Even took the lead early, as expected and Tim L. and I filed in behind him. The pace was a bit quick for me, but then again, any pace on the track is probably too quick for me. I came through the first quarter in 67 just behind Tim E. with Tim L. on my tail. I knew it was a bit quick, but I wanted to take advantage of having both Tims to run with and maybe run a PR, so I went with it. I tried to stay close, but Tim E. accelerated onto the back stretch on the second lap and Tim L. went by me at the 600m mark. My goal was to stay smooth on this lap and see what happens. I stayed on Tim L. to the 1/2 mile mark (2:17) and went around him going into the turn. At this point Tim E. had a pretty good gap on us, but I didn't know what his fitness was like, so I just tried to keep running hard and see how things would shake out.
I was tying up a bit on the third lap, but sub 4:40 mile pace will do that to you. Tim. L passed me backsoon after, and I stayed as close to him as I could and banged out another 70 (3:27). The bell lap hurt like hell, but I felt like I was speeding up. I tried to closer the gap on Tim L. (Tim E. was long gone at this point), and I was hoping to make a move on the home stretch. Fat chance of that. Despite the cheers of the crowd, I couldn't close on Tim and ran a 71 for the last lap. Ugh.
Overall, I am happy with the race as I did zero prep for it and ran as fast as last year. One of these days I really should run an indoor season and try to break 4:30 for the mile and 15:00 for 5k. I don't have the wheels to do that without any track training. Congrats to Tim Even on his 4:29 and the win, Tim Livingston on his fast race, Darin Brown for nearly cracking 5, Gabe Flanders for jumping in at the last minute and running a 5:22 (a PR!), Steve Piotrow and Allen Whitley for pushing themselves on the track, Leslie Beckwith on her win in the women's race running a 5:44, and to Cathy Livingston and Meredith Piotrow for going out and racing hard! Also, thanks to Bernie Livingston and the Millen Foundation for organizing such a cool race and to the spectators for cheering us on. It's a really unique experience to run in front of a crowd like that under the lights.