Bringing Back the Mile

When the gun goes off, you have to be ready. Standing on the start line isn’t a casual thing. Your adrenaline is pumping. Your nerves sit like a pit in the bottom of your stomach. Your mind is preparing itself to get out fast and never stop. All the while, you are also trying to save a little extra to kick in for the win. It’s scary, but it’s also a fun and exciting rush. There is something about it that just draws you in. It’s quick enough to hold even the shortest of attention spans, but long enough to test the mental and physical limits of the human body in a way that keeps you on your toes. The drama of the finish is always a sight to see and invokes a certain feeling that can’t be described. This phenomenon is what I like to call running a mile.

 Finish of the women's field at the Sir Walter Miler

Finish of the women's field at the Sir Walter Miler

In all honesty, it has been a while since I have truly been in the position to run a fast mile. Marathon training has been at the forefront the last couple of years. The focus of my training, for obvious reasons, hasn’t been conducive to lacing up a pair of spikes and laying it down on the track. The last mile I raced was in jeans at last year’s Sir Walter Miler. At this year’s Sir Walter Miler Pop-up Miles I was merely a spectator. And I am happy I was.

 The first official Sir Walter Miler in 2014

The first official Sir Walter Miler in 2014

I have been around the Sir Walter Miler since it began as the SandMan Mile in 2013. I raced the elite race on the first weekend in August in 2014 & 2015, and was there when the pop-up miles started in 2015. The Sir Walter Miler has seen growth every year since it began, but as a spectator at this years pop-up miles I could also see that growth in the community. The number of people getting out there each year has increased, which as a track fan, has been exciting to see. There are marathons to run almost everywhere you go. There is a local 5k almost every weekend, but most new or even seasoned runners never get the chance to hop on a track to run a mile. It’s no wonder that few people are in tune with what track athletes are doing every year around this time.

 Pop-Up Miles at the Wake County Speedway

Pop-Up Miles at the Wake County Speedway

Seeing and cheering as runners of all ages get excited to hop on the track and run as fast as they can for one mile is worth pulling out the stop watch and finding the optimal position to become “Coach Cozzarelli”. It’s inspiring and invigorating. As a long time runner, it is sometimes a welcome feeling to be on the other side of the fence. Changing your perspective is a powerful way to change your outlook. In this years pop-up miles championship I’ll be on the sidelines, but I couldn’t be happier. It will give me a chance to reflect on how lucky I am to be living in a city whose running community is top notch. It will give me a chance to feel that nervous energy each runner lives for as my teammates await that starting gun. And it will give me the kick start I need and want as I get ready to start fresh in a new season.

Good luck to all those racing the Pop-Up Miles Championship tonight! I will see you all out there.