Summer Grand Prix is here

By Dana Stetson

The heat is upon us and that can mean only one thing (the sun has gone nova and we will soon become cooked trout). No, it means that summer Grand Prix track season is here at last. This is a track series with two alternating schedules of events.
These events range in distance from 40 meters all the way up to a 5k run. Long jump is also included for those who are so inclined. Each week has a featured race for GWTC grand prix points, but all are welcome to run this featured distance.
Last Thursday, I decided to face the challenge against Tallahassee’s best trackies. The featured event was the 400 (meters); or the 1-lapper as I like to call it. Now, one lap sounds real short to pretty much anybody you ask. I picked the 400 for my high speed leg turnover test. I ran a couple of miles just to shake the dust off.

Going to one of these events is like going to a high school reunion; you see people you haven’t seen in years. So, in the course of talking to some of my long lost friends, I missed the first two heats for the 400. As I lined up in the third level, I was pretty sure I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but it’s only one lap, I wisely reasoned.

As we took off on the first curve, I couldn’t really believe how fast I was moving backward. On the first straight I hunkered down and slowed my retro motion somewhat. By the third curve I no longer had competition on my mind. It rapidly became survival, finishing this one lap, living for another day.

On the last straightaway the air turned to jello as I tried to push my way upstream. My proud form eroded into that of a cooked shrimp; bizarre noises poured forth from me and time lost all its meaning. Eventually, of course, I finished about a half of a straightaway behind the last runner according to my very embarrassed daughter. In spite of my finishing place and my pathetic pace, it was fun to be track racer again, if only for 75 seconds.

Susan’s Addendum: Comment overheard at track meet after Dana ran – “Dana ran 50 miles too short”!