Well today was the Race to Deliver 4-miler-my second race into my “comeback” of sorts. Nice cool day…in the 40s. Absolutely packed, not a surprise…I’d say there were probably at least 5000 people there. And as usual, run into some teammates before the race and line up with them (near the 8-minute marker this time.)
Based on my race a few weeks back, I figured an 8:15 pace-or 33 minutes-or faster was realistic. Also keeping in mind that even though this was shorter, the course was a little tougher, IMHO (Cat Hill is uphill this time, and I always struggle with the West Side hills in mile 3.) Terrain-wise, miles 1 and 3 are slow, 2 and 4 are fast.
So the gun goes off, and from where I was standing, took at least a minute to cross the start. start my mp3 player going and off I go. Mile 1 is up Cat Hill, ran it at what felt like a “tempo-ish” pace. Saw a coupla teammates behind me that I would normally beat when healthy-I tried to keep them in my sights. First mile is 7:57…hmmmmm. Did I go out too fast, or are the legs slowly coming back? Guess there is only one way to find out…
Mile 2-pretty much flat to the 102nd street transverse. Those teammates passed me during that mile-but I just tried to not let that psych me out. Just keep running. You’re doing fine. Saw some other Flyer teammates who weren’t running were at Engineer’s Gate and other scattered places on the course (some were being course marshalls) cheering for the runners. Thanks guys!! 🙂 2nd mile is 7:45-still pretty good…but the toughest part is yet to come.
Mile 3 has always, always been my downfall in these 4-mile races that start and end at 72nd. I don’t know why, but the roller coaster of hills inbetween west 102nd and west 86th always seem to get to me (the one exception being last year’s Race to Deliver-my splits then being 7:32/7:25/7:35/7:29.) Anyway, I had a good song on the mp3 player, just tried to maintain as much as possible but I could feel myself slowing. Rapidly. My mile 3 split was 8:25-yuck. But not surprising. With the exception of that one race, I always seem to lose 10-20 seconds there.
Mile 4-just get the job done. I was at 24:07 after 3 miles…which meant breaking an 8-minute pace for this race was very feasible. All I’d need was a 7:52 split and I’d have it. So I just powered down the downhill at the beginning of this mile and just tried to stay strong and keep it together. (picture was taken during this mile…i just look so happy then, don’t I?) We turned onto the 72nd street transverse…the finish is near the center of the transverse…I looked at my watch and knew it was going to be very, very close. (Last year I was trying to break 30 minutes…I swear 1 minute never went by as quickly as it did then…missed my goal by 2 seconds!!) Anyway, tried the best I could for a finishing kick…and finished up with a 7:49 mile-looks like I did it!!
Results not posted on the web yet-but according to my watch, I netted out with a 31:56, 7:59 pace.
Well-originally I thought I did pretty well, all things considering. I actually didn’t think I was capable of running sub-8’s right now but I surprised myself. However, it seemed that one of my teammates thought I should have been faster…so is how I did normal for someone recovering from injury, or not?? (since the Poland Spring 5-miler, I’ve only been doing 15mpw, 3 times a week, no runs longer than 6 miles, no speedwork, only started re-introducing Cat and Harlem Hills in the last 3 weeks. as per doctor’s orders-and i trust his judgement.)
But I guess even though I am a slow recover-er, I’m definitely getting there. I think the 2 things I need to work on most are pacing and hills. Lucky for me, my next goal race is a 10K and I’ve found that I can pace myself well in those. Hills-not sure I’m ready for any speedy stuff like hill repeats just yet, but just running the hills should be beneficial, no?
(and shout out to a few special guys…although i’m sure you’ll never read this, congrats on your PR’s in Philly. very, very well deserved.)