3k at the University of Oregon

In my two years competing for the Community Colleges of Spokane (WA) back in the early '90's, we never had an opportunity to compete at one of the most historic venues in the USA, Hayward Field.  The closest I ever got to competing at the University of Oregon was when I ran the Eugene Half Marathon in May of 2015, where we finish the final 200m on the track.  Never in my wildest dreams did I even think to run on that prestigious track, until Dave Ross posted on Facebook that he had registered for the 3k, noting it was an open race so anyone can register.  Anyone!  Clearly, I couldn't pass this up, and having a fair amount of conditioning under my belt, I spent March and April doing periodic speed workouts about twice per week.  I picked up some creative workouts from Jesse McChesney, who has a group of speedsters training on Thursday evenings at Union High School.  It's always fun to see what other people are doing for training and I was thrilled to be able to train with, or as I saw it, behind Jesse & Co.  For the 3k, I had been training to run 78-80 second splits (400m's), and I felt really confident going into the race that I could do it.  The first lap was a little quick, so the small pack of five that I was with made the adjustment before the end of the next corner.  Around and around we went, and finally some racers fell off the pace around lap four, and again during lap five.  I was able to sustain my pace and eventually caught up with a Red Lizard, Joe Dudman, who graciously battled the head-wind down the backstretch on lap six.  It wasn't much of a head-wind, more of a breeze, but it was enough for me to make the decision to be patient and wait until 500m remaining in the race to pass him.  It was at that moment I wanted to encourage him to hang and run together. After all, I had been running half and full marathons the last six years and the etiquette in the longer races is pretty supportive altogether.  I feel a bit sad that I didn't say anything, but I was encouraged during this mornings run with my new friend Monte, who shared with me that in track races, it really is a fend for yourself atmosphere.  Before the 3k, I kept to myself mostly, but after the race, I felt a good amount of support in the finishers tent among the other competitors.  It was a good vibe, one which I wish I spent more time in, however, I was in a bit of a rush to get back to my wife, Kaci, who had taken the day off of work to come watch, and my kids, who we yanked from school to join us as well.  During the race, I could hear their yells of support, which made the experience that much greater.  Support feels good, and it was joyful to hear them during the race, which made me eager to get to them afterward.  All in all, this experience was pretty grand, and breaking 10-minutes definitely helps with this feeling.