it’s all in the start

(a.k.a. a belated Corporate Challenge report.)

So unlike previous years, I decided to go into this one with a little more of a plan…as I’ve said before, I hate crowded races, and I knew the key to beating the crowds was all in the starting position.

In the past, what would happen is that we’d say we’d meet near the park around 6:30ish but people would always be late…which would lead to rushing to the start and a crappy starting position. This year, I proposed that since some of us would be walking, and some would be running, to just come up with a post-race game plan instead. After all, every year we say we’re gonna drink afterwards, but it doesn’t happen!! So we decided on a meeting spot on the west side.

Lucky for me, I was working from home on Wednesday, so I didn’t have to feel rushed or anything (in previous years, I’d dash out of the office at 5, go home and change and rush to meet the co-workers.) I decided I wanted to get there pretty early this year to ensure myself a decent starting position. I got there before 6:30 and managed to get as close to the front as I possibly could-like right behind the elite section. even if i had to wait around awhile for the start, it was worth it. so we waited through the pre-race aerobics (too funny)…Mary Wittenberg addressing the crowd-for a second I thought I was at one of the NYRR races :-p Though I think everyone loved when she asked the crowd “How many of you are glad to be out of work early?” The national anthem…the starting gun…then we were off!!

damn, almost forgot the fashion report!! I made the executive decision to NOT wear the company t-shirt…80 degree weather and super-heavy navy cotton just do not mix!! So I was wearing a black Nike sports bra and black with red/white edging Brooks Element shorts (both courtesy of a 20% off shopping night at Urban Athletics the day before!) and my DS-Trainers. Hey…I was representing the colors of one team (the Flyers!)

Thanks to being closer to the front, and not having to dodge walkers, I was immediately able to settle into a racing pace. maybe a little too hard? First mile was 7:36. Considering it was much warmer than ideal temps (though funny, my boss emailed all of us who were running to wish us luck and said that “it’s a beautiful day for a run…not too hot!!” in my book, it was 20-30 degrees above ideal!) it may spell trouble at the end. Second mile was 7:52…still good. A couple of my Flyer teammates were running on the bridle path to avoid the crowds and cheered me on at the end of that mile. And during the next mile, I saw another flyer, as well as the coach of the Rez Dogs cheering too!! You know you’re getting to be a familiar face when you don’t have to wildly wave to get someone’s attention during a crowded race. It was a nice thought.

Mile 3, I was struggling. The legs were fine, but I think the heat was getting to me as I was feeling slightly nauseous. I just made the strategic decision then and there to pull it back a little…this was really just supposed to be a tempo run, as long as I beat last year’s time-and hopefully stay under an 8 minute pace I’m happy. That mile split was 8:19 which showcased that I was hurting a little. Thankfully, the last half-mile had Cat Hill downhill…but the turn onto the 72nd street transverse was slightly uphill…but man, I didn’t have it in me to sprint to the finish. Last half-mile was 3:53.

So, I finished up with a 27:40 (7:54 pace)…47-second PR from last year, not too shabby!! And honestly, starting closer to the front made it a more enjoyable experience than in the past…I think I will repeat that strategy in future years…

But…and this was the most important thing…no pain at all during the race!! You see, it was exactly one year ago that I had gotten my PF diagnosis. So I was pretty happy about that…i’ll take the heat getting to me a little than being in physical pain.

So after crossing the finish, of course I see a coupla other Flyers…then i get my complimentary t-shirt (no goody bags this year? boo…) ran home quickly to shower and change and go to our meetup spot…was around 8:30ish at that time…I tried AL and EB on their cells and they had just finished!! (of course, they were, uh, “hydrating” with vodka during the walk.) As our original meetup spot was packed with other Corporate Challengers, we picked a different one…and drank ourselves sillier with margaritas.

everyone was super impressed that I had finished in 27 and change…they’re right, I should be impressed with myself. why do I continuously compare myself to my ’04 self? something to think about.

and as for racing, i’m on hiatus til the NYRR Team Championships. Though it’s always hot and humid for this one, I’m hoping to be acclimated by then…and besides, there’s nothing better than having guys screaming your name the entire time 😀 I most likely will sign up for the Dash and Splash solely to get pool access afterwards and will just do what I did last year and use it as the last 5 miles of a long run. But for now, I’m happy to take a racing break…and just concentrate on getting to the start line of a little race in early November.

5 thoughts on “it’s all in the start

  1. Awesome job! And to me, it seems especially nice to PR when the weather makes it more challenging. Like you’re laughing at Mother Nature and yelling, “Ha! Nice try!”

  2. I think I saw you out there, but my reaction was too delayed to get out a cheer in time. Oops!Anyway, nice job at the race!

  3. Nice job with the race. Be happy you didn’t have it on Thursday night:)And totally agree on the speeches….entirely too long and in my opinion made the ones before NYRR races, seem short!

  4. Nice race strategy and even nicer it paid off. Good job. Like you mentioned doing, I’m using tomorrow’s five mile race as the last half of a 10-mile long run. If it’s not raining. 🙂

  5. jay-my PR for this one is actually pretty soft…last year i had the combo of the crowds and foot injury slowing me down. i look forward to day this race will be held on the rare cool evening in june. and thanks!!sempre libera-no worries…i’ve done the same in other races…sometimes i’m so intent on looking for the flyer logo that i’ll miss everyone else. but thanks! hope you had a good run too!!uptown girl-i was out on the bridle paths on thursday evening and had to stop a million times for water (we even raided some of the water stations, haha)…i thought of all you corporate challengers!! thanks and nice job to you toobrooklyn-too bad today was a rainout…yep, the dash & splash is a “can’t miss” for me…let’s just say my team has a little tradition of getting pool pics afterwards. fun stuff 🙂

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