When I first heard that Maryland was going to host an Alumni Mile, I was super psyched. That it was on a Thursday night was even more awesome - a twilight meet! I figured it would be part of an intersquad meet, just to give the kids another chance to run before heading home or onward to regionals, IC4As, whatever. Then I found out that it was a quasi-legitimate "last chance" meet and there would be some fast people.
I tried to rally support for the Alumni Mile, encouraging as many people as I know live in the area to come out. The attendance was not as great as it could have been, but those of us there had immeasurable amounts of fun.
I picked up Doug Allen, my old roommate, and we headed down to the meet amidst intermittent (wait for it...) rain. It has rained every day for a week now. Wednesday night I thought was a culmination, but it was just as bad during the day Thursday. Nothing like screwing up my ability to ride outdoors this late in the spring. Back to the story. We get to campus and run into a few people right away, including Matt Sanders. The 3 of us, plus Tom Stott, were all psyched to be there.
Tom and I head out for our warmup, and I wanted to run around as much of campus as we could so we toured North Campus, weaved in and out and finally ran back up Campus Drive to the track. I felt terrible. My legs are beyond beat, which is to be expected given my increased volume of other things, so I was just hoping to not completely embarrass myself in this short race.
Fast forward to race time and we've got the 4 of us, Bobby Van Allen, Pat Reaves, TWSS teammate Denise Knickman, Maryland women's mile record holder Rosalind Sheppard and the trio of Laurel Jefferson, Ali Carney and Shari Gorga. I didn't realize we don't have a "line" to indicate where a full mile should start so they broke the measuring tape out for the "whole 9" and lined us up. Gun goes off, and honestly after about 50 feet I knew I was in for a rough day. I really just have not been running well, feeling well or enjoying running for weeks now.
I come through my first lap in something like 75, and if that felt hard, I was obviously not going to run any faster than that, so 5:00 was out of the question. I traipsed through the puddles in lane 1, sitting a few seconds back of Tom, Matt and Laurel. While the view from behind on Laurel was not one I would complain about, I was not enjoying my inability to not run faster than her. The gap would stay pretty constant for the remainder of the race, and I would finish at a sad 5:13. I'm glad that I can go out for my first mile of a 10 mile race in 5:20 and have it not feel as hard as that did. I really just didn't have the legs today!
Doug somehow ran a 4:44. That kid is amazing to me. Sanders, who allegedly has not run in 3 years, and was also sporting a Tier 3 sex offender mustache, slipped under 5 (4:59). PR ran a PR, 4:36. Tom was 5:01 and Laurel was 5:05. Quick little girl.
The race seemed to be the highlight of the meet; the attention of the sparse crowd and teams was completely focused on watching us, which was pretty cool. After the race they had brought in some delicious Chick-Fil-A sandwiches, so I ate one as we cooled down. I figure I need to learn how to eat chicken sandwiches while running for later this year. Tom and I cooled down for about 30 minutes, running down Knox to Route 1, then up to Queens Chapel and down through the old neighborhoods, before running up College Ave and campus. Then I ate another chicken sandwich and watched the rest of the meet, including TWSS teammate Ed "Cheese" Aramayo run a 4:07 1500m.
As everyone parted, it was time for me, Doug and Sanders to hit the town. It was 9:30 but Santa Fe was like a ghost town. I loathe paying covers too. We stayed there for a little before heading to Cornerstone, which was marginally more crowded. After a little while there, Sanders was informed of a track party taking place and the three of us tools began walking about a half mile away, only to have him not remember where the house was/not get a call back from the person with whom he was communicating. Back to Cornerstone. Now it was really crowded, and we left there after a minute and headed for the trifecta - Bentley's.
In college this was pretty much the only place I went. I don't know why. I hate it there. Being there last night reminded me why. I guess a lot of people go to that Thirsty Turtle place now, which, alas, I've been to.
1:40 comes and it's time to leave, so Doug and I head to Cluck U, since there is no more WaWa. And here is where the best part of the night comes - Cluck U Pac is still working there! It has been 10 years since I started school and first encountered Cluck U Pac. The dude seriously looks identical to 2Pac, and apparently he and Pac actually did grow up somewhat around one another and were allegedly boys. Cluck U Pac even has an album or two that he sells out of his car. I remember the Diamondback article like it was yesterday... Anyway he gives me my Buffalo Chicken Sandwich and 10 chicken tenders and off we go. It is a mob scene down on Route 1, so we drive and eat in the car. I have now consumed 3 chicken sandwiches and a couple of tenders, and I get home at 3am.
What a night.