In San Francisco, Kris Paaso went sub-5 in the W45 mile with a fabulous 4:56.28, crushing the listed AR of 5:07.76 by Jeanne Lasee-Johnson in 2002.
In Gainesville, Florida, Sonja Friend-Uhl took an even bigger bite off the listed 1500-meter AR, clocking 4:29.61. The listed record is 4:43.21 by Joan Nesbit-Mabe in 2007. And guess what distance they’ll run at the Olympic Trials masters exhibition? The 1500. Neither is signed up yet, but Kris says she plans to enter the Eugene event. And via Facebook, Sonja said she will too, adding: “I consider Kris a friend and am very happy for her for her personal racing success. U.S. Masters women overall are a force to reckon with on the world stage. I am proud to be a part of the Masters Track family!”
Meanwhile, Kris graciously responded to some questions.
Masterstrack.com: What were your splits in the mile record?
Kris Paaso: Don’t have them. I think it was like 71, 74, 76 and 75
In a 21-person field, you lapped runners. How did the race develop? Go to the front? Come from behind?
There were two guys who went to the front. I tried to stay with them, but it didn’t make sense after the first 200. There were a lot of people on the final straight, so I moved out to Lane 2. It was great to catch a couple on my way to the finish.
Was 4:56 better than expected or about right? It was about right with my training.
Can you go sub-4:48 — world record pace?
I would have to have an out-of-my-head gift of a race. You never know — it could happen. but I think I’ll just enjoy this one for right now.
Will you enter Olympic Trials 1500 exhibition?
Yes, I’m planning on it.
Any aches, pains or illnesses overcome in the 4:56?
Thankfully, everything has been fairly sound. I could always stretch and roll more, but everything has been healthy enough.
What are your all-time track bests?
4:51 for the mile, 2:11 for the 800, and 4:23 for the 1500. That’s all in the last 10 years.
What are your training secrets? Any reliable workouts, rest days between hard workouts?
The first thing is to just do miles. Piles and piles of miles. Over the years, I’ve been able to push the total number higher. I usually take one day off a week. 400s and 1000s are a staple.
Who is your support system — club, coach, family?
I’ve run with Dena Evans and what is now Strava Track Club since I started this middle distance adventure. I really enjoy being part of the Bay Area running family, which are all the athletes in the different clubs across the peninsula. We compete hard against each other, but I feel like everyone is supportive.
Why do you still compete in track?
I love the sound of my breath and the rhythm of my feet matching my heartbeat. It’s a place I’ve been to before, but it’s always new.
What incentives might you suggest USATF and WMA offer to grow masters track?
I think just provide opportunities to race, which they’ve done an excellent job of doing.
What are your competition plans the rest of the season? Grand Rapids or Perth?
I plan to finish this track season in Eugene at the beginning of July. I structure my training in two macrocycles of 5 1/2 months with a two-week break between. This one started in January so July will actually be stretching it. It also means no racing during late July and Aug— back to a base cycle of piles of miles — but doing it this way has kept me healthy and also peaking at the end if the cycle so I’m reluctant to change it.
What do you do for a living? Tell me about your family — spouse, kids, cats, dogs?
I have two dogs and two chickens. I’ve recently made a career change from wealth management into the nonprofit sector.
How did you celebrate 4:56? Did meet announcer give record any recognition?
Cake! The crew at Cox Stadium is outstanding, and if I had given them a heads up, they would have been all over it, but no, not this time. Also, Craig from Red Cap Timing and all the officials have been most helpful in getting the necessary documentation to get the record verified.
Anything else readers should know about your mile AR or what went into it?
It’s fun to slip under 5:00. I hope I can do it again.
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