I’m on my way back. I’m convinced of it.
Today was the Marathon Kickoff 5-miler in Central Park today. For those familiar with Central Park…this is on the easier of the 5-mile courses, starts at W 69th, then goes clockwise up the west side, across the 102nd Street transverse, down the east side (and down Cat Hill too!) and finishes at Tavern on the Green-same finish line as the NYC marathon. Anyway, I was sort of targetting this as a “comeback” race of sorts-with the NYRR schedule chock-full of marathon tune-up races and longer distances for the last coupla months, this was the first short race in awhile. I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect-over the last 2 months, I haven’t run more than 9 miles a week, but I just wanted to get back out there again-my first race since the disasterous Shea Stadium Run to Home Plate at the end of July-where I ran a personal worst for 5k.
So, the weather was perfect this morning-around 50 degrees, meaning shorts and team singlet weather for me. And just as I predicted, it was absolutely packed (probably between 5000-6000 peeps there!) I decided to line up “honestly” and lined up around the 8:30 pace marker. I was just gonna run how I feel. Had my mp3 player and playlist ready to go. Chatted with one of my teammates while waiting for the starting horn. Finally the starting horn went off…took me almost 2 minutes to get to the starting line from where I was lined up…then GAME ON!!
Mile 1-pretty much an incline up til west 86th street. And also I was dodging a lot of much slower runners/walkers who most likely lined up in the 5-6 minute area…why, oh why do they do that. Felt good, felt easy. First mile 8:31-right on pace.
Mile 2-dealt with the West Side hills for the beginning…down 1, up 1…then flat to the transverse. Tried to pick it up a little bit, running to the beat of the music 🙂 Still felt pretty good, but my mile split was 8:41-and that did not seem right for the effort I was putting in. The mile 2 marker I think should have been near the east side of the transverse and instead it was on East Drive (and a couple other runners mentioned that they thought it was off too.)
Mile 3 on this course is usually the most mentally challenging mile for me-as it’s pretty much uphill and at that point, the race is not half over yet…ya know. I will not give up!! Just kept going, and ran a 7:59 split for mile 3…pretty much confirming my suspicion about the mile markers, as that seemed a little fast, especially since I felt I was slowing a little.
Mile 4-ok, the worst is over, just hold pace and all will be well. And oh…I so need Cat Hill downhill right now!!! Lots of crowd support at the 72nd Street transverse-i shouted a breathless “thank you” to the people cheering. 4 down, one to go-with an 8:11 for mile 4. Looks like I am gonna exceed my goal of an 8:30 pace!!
Mile 5 was where me being out of shape kinda came into play…I really felt my lack of distance the last few weeks, as my legs really felt tired in this mile. Just keep going, keep going. You’re almost there. When I got to Columbus Circle I kinda knew I was home free…as the crowd support on this part of the course was great. I saw a coupla teammates who either finished this race earlier, or did the last 10 miles of the marathon run, cheering near the finish…seeing them was a great boost. The finish of this race was on an uphill, but I didn’t have it in me to sprint…just finish strong. And that I did-finishing with an 8:13 mile.
All in all-final time was 41:35, 8:19 pace.
Then afterwards I joined the Flyers for brunch at Blondies over on the west side…we had a pretty nice-sized crowd for brunch, between those who did the race or the last 10 miles run, and those who did neither and just wanted to socialize. And oh yeah…I met a certain other running blogger…heh heh.
So to analyze my race…
I’m very happy with how I did. I didn’t go out too fast as I’ve done in the past, and was rewarded with a pretty good negative split. My foot really didn’t bother me that much during the race-the only thing I felt was general fatigue in the last mile. And even though I haven’t done any runs longer than 5 miles since running again, I was still able to somehow “hang on” in the later miles. I was expecting an 8:30 pace at best, and exceeded that goal by about a minute. I’m still ahead of where I was when I started racing last April…meaning all is not lost and I can probably get back what I had with a little more mileage (and speedwork-but that’s further down the line.) Also, I realized I really missed being at the races, meaning I am not gonna over-race in ’06 and I mean it this time. That is partially what burned me out this year.
So, it feels good to be on the comeback road. And many thanks to everyone-be it bloggers, teammates, friends, or whoever else-who supported me and cheered me on as I tried to reclaim what I once was. Couldn’t have done it without your support!
now playing: “red alert” ~ basement jaxx