In the Paddock

About three-quarters of the way through the Wednesday night group run and nearly finishing up the perimeter loop of Skidmore College the reality set in as the words came out of my mouth to a man half my age.

"I'm going to do something I haven't done in close to 25 years, before you were even born, Friday night."

"Oh yeah, what's that?" asked young John. I didn't get his last name, but he's in the Navy. Just moved to the area three weeks ago from Charleston, South Carolina (bummer about the weather) and the kind of person who gives you hope for the future of our society.

"I'm going down to Schenectady for an all-comers indoor track meet," I replied to the man who probably didn't know Schenectady from Scottsdale.

Anyway, I'd signed up for said track meet earlier in the day after reading a post from one of the guys hustling entries for the local chapter of the USA Track and Field saying the opportunity was there to get a different type of race, earn points for the club and save $10 on the entry fee if you signed up by noon.

By 8:54 I was an official member of the USATF - I'm sure Bernard Lagat and Kevin Castille are quaking in their track spikes wondering about this new Masters division member - and 10 minutes later I was signed up for the USATF Adirondack Youth, Open and Masters All-Comers Indoor Track and Field Meet at Union College's Memorial Field House in Schenectady.

Seven running events are listed on the schedule at distances ranging from 45 meters and 50 meters over hurdles to 1,500 and 3,000 meters on the "flat." There's a four-event limit - as if - and the races are run on a 160-meter track. Spikes of 1/8-inch are allowed - again, as if.

As of this writing, give or take a full 24 hours before post time, I'm leaning toward the 600- and 1,000-meter runs to start and possibly the 1,500. Frank Lombardo, the above named "hustler" who is a very personable man and anything but, mentioned something about a relay at the end of the night if there are enough Saratoga Stryders on hand. That might lead to a scratch in the 1,500. Here's hoping.

Even though the shorter races will push the anaerobic threshold to levels I haven't been since my early 20s and am not remotely prepared for, the rationale to picking those spots is based solely on the fact that they won't take as long to complete as say the 5-plus minutes of the 1,500 or the 12 or so of the 3,000.

So there you have it: track enthusiast who tolerated cross country turned couch potato for more than a decade turned weekend 5k warrior turned marathoner turned trail runner returns to his roots for the all-comers track meet.

Now this should be interesting.