A.M. Total of 12. Benjamin did 2.5 warm-up for the track meet in the evening. We took Joseph and Jacob to the track at Orem High to do a mile time trial. Benjamin paced Joseph, while I paced Jacob. Jacob ran 7:04.2 with the splits of 1:46, 1:45, 1:47 and 1:43 - the remaining 3 seconds rounded off go to cover 9.34 meters extra.This is Jacob's new PR by 5 seconds. He is headed for being the first child in our family to break 7:00 mile before turning 7. He turns 7 on July 21.
Joseph opened with 1:41, then fell asleep to 1:47, then 1:45 and a kick of sorts in 1:41 finishing in 6:57, 5 seconds off his PR. Benjamin is still learning how to pace a kid,and Joseph is difficult to pace because he has a mind of his own. Jacob is much easier - you tell him to run faster, he just does it. Also Joseph runs to win, not for time. So he stops pushing once he feels is safely ahead of Jacob. So perhaps this year Jacob will just get faster, maybe run 6:40, and this will force Joseph to run 6:30. Or maybe we should just have Jacob race him for the last 800.
Jenny did 4, Julia 2, William 0.5. Joseph and Jacob ended up with 2 total.
P.M. Took Benjamin to a high school track meet at Juab High in Nephi. This was our first experience with the high school track. First for Benjamin period, and first direct experience with the US high school track for me. When I was of high school age I was in Russia, which back then was part of the Soviet Union. I raced, but it was a very different system. Running in the US I heard a lot about US high school track, I read race reports, but I had never actually been to a high school track meet.
So two surprises I ran into. One - I did not realize that in a little town of Nephi you could have such a big deal of a track meet. We struggled finding a place to park. There were as many people around at you would see at the Moscow city-wide youth championship, perhaps even more. Expect in Moscow most people came by public transportation - no cars or school buses.
The second surprise was the spread of abilities, particularly as the distance got longer. In all the meets I ran in Moscow, in 14-15 year old division in 3000 last place would finish in around 11:00 even though there was no official qualifying standard. If you could handle being laughed at for being last, you were in. The winner ran maybe 9:10-9:20 in the city championship. Converting this to 3200, that would be maybe 9:50-10:00 for the winner and 11:45 for last place. At this particular meet in Nephi the first place was 10:08, but the last place was 14:36 and it did not appear to be a statistical fluke - all the gaps were evenly filled. Last place in the "fast" heat was 12:04. That was in spite of the age limit being around 18 years old.
So those two surprises caused us some problems. I did not realize until the day of the meet that there would be 43 people on the starting list, which means two heats, the fast one and the slow. Benjamin did not have an official 3200 meter mark, so I just entered nothing instead of giving some info indicating his abilities. So they put him in the slow heat. I asked the course clerk to change that but he told me it was too late. So we figured we'd make the best of the situation.
3200 was the next to last event. It was difficult to estimate when it would start. The meet director gave me a lower bound of 5:00 pm at the earliest, so we got there at 4:30. Benjamin did not get to run until 7:45 pm. With the slow heat, the delay, and some intimidation factor of being crowded by older boys in his first high school track meet, I was not expecting much and I told him to just go out and enjoy it. However Benjamin outperformed my expectations.
Being without a mark he ranked lower than the boys with any mark, so they put him on the outside in the second row. During the first lap he worked his way out of the pack hitting it in 82.4. I yelled at him to get out, but he did not quite understand what I meant. He passed a couple of guys, and then comfortably settled behind the leaders. After the second lap of 86.4 he finally got the message, pushed his way out, and went for it. From that point on he was completely alone. 80.4 - good. 82.7 - acceptable, but the slowdown is a cause for concern. Is he getting tired maybe, perhaps the stresses of the day are wearing on him? Not wanting to discourage him I told him to just try to hold it. 5:31.8 at the 1600. Second place is 5:57 at that point.
80.6 for the next lap. I guess he is not really tired. Later he told me he was just having a hard time gauging the effort and was afraid to push too hard. 82.7 for the sixth lap. I yelled at him to start his kick. At this point he was passing lapped runners in herds, which provided some encouragement. The spectators started cheering him - "Go Crocks!". This was a rather unusual sight I suppose - a home-schooled 14-year-old wearing a plain looking Fast Running Blog singlet and a pair of Crocks lapping team-uniformed high school boys wearing all kinds of fancy spikes. Maybe it was good that he ended up in the slow heat, it created a chance for a little bit of a show. His next to last lap was 78.9.
And then he started his kick for real. I was pleasantly surprised. He was moving, it was quite a sight to watch. At the start of his lap I yelled at him to try to lap the field. He thought I was kidding. But I knew that if somebody runs 82,86 then 3:09 for the next 800 they are Benjamin-lappable. He blew by the second place right before the finish line with the last lap of 72.2. His official time was 10:46.64. I had 10:46.1 on my watch. 0.25 of the difference goes to automatic timing. The rest probably from me not seeing the finish line at a good angle from where I was. Second place in his heat was 12:12. I know all kinds of things happen in high school track meets, but I suppose lapping somebody you were with at 800 in a 3200 meter race on a 400 meter track is rather rare. Benjamin ended up finishing 8th overall, and 2nd among freshmen. Fastest freshmen was 10:37, which is a bit of a bummer because Benjamin could have run with him. But he got to Crock-lap the slow heat instead, so I suppose it is all good.
On the way back home Matthew was crying. Without being asked Benjamin moved right next to him and sang songs to him all the way. Sarah pointed out that not many 14 year old boys would volunteer to do that after finishing a hard race.