Even though I was a paceleader for NYRR’s Long Training Run and didn’t have to register through NYRR, I did need a bib in order to put my bag in the baggage area. And I was amused at the bib number I got-888. Isn’t that a lucky number? The reason why the Olympics are starting on 8/8/08? Whatever, I took it as a good sign that this LTR just might go well, unlike the 2 last year.
Once again, I decided to do my usual 9:30 group for 16 miles. Even though I’ve been averaging closer to 9-9:15s lately for easy/long runs, the slower group is better in terms of pacing, and interacting with the runners. Once again, all the pacers got a free technical singlet…white this year with orange and blue writing, I swear I must have looked like an advertisement for the Mutts :-p All the 9:30 pacers got paired off and assigned to groups depending on how far we were running, and thankfully I got paired with my good Flyer friend TB-as we’ve paced together before and therefore the problems that happened last year most likely wouldn’t happen. And check out the results of the dynamic duo’s handiwork!! 🙂
(For reference sake…Lap 1 included the Harlem Hills. Laps 2, 7 and 13 were from approximately west 102nd to around west 86th-the west side hills. Laps 3, 8, and 14 were mostly downhill, to around west 72nd. Laps 4, 9 and 15 were around the bottom of the park. Laps 5, 10 and 16 included Cat Hill. Laps 6, 11 and 17 were around the east 80s to the end, or near the end. Laps 12 and 18 were because for whatever reason, the mile 11 and 16 markers were before the transverse? More on that later.)
Can you say rock on? Knew you could. 🙂
Luckily, me and TB had a pretty obedient group for the most part. There were quite a few times when we had to yell “If you’re running in front of us, you’re going too fast” and “Stay in the rec lane!” but all in all, with the exception of a few who did wind up running ahead since me and TB refused to let them “pull” us to go faster, pretty drama-free. We were hitting our paces well for the first loop and both us and the pacees were happy. We finished the first 6 mile loop, and I grabbed Gatorade and took my Plain Energy PowerGel and before we knew it, we were back out for the 2nd loop.
In previous LTRs, only the first mile markers were on the course, so we were pleasantly surprised that all 20 miles were marked. However, after the first loop, the markers were not accurate…thanks to Mr. Garmin, we were able to re-assure the runners that we were not off-pace. Actually, Mr. Garmin was extremely helpful today…I’d check out our half-mile split to see if we were on pace or needed to adjust. Or TB would think we were going too fast but I was able to reassure her we were fine 🙂 We finished the 2nd loop still on pace…was planning on taking another gel, but the only flavor that was being offered was Strawberry Banana…decided to pass and just have a little extra Gatorade, hoping that would be just as good. (Mental note-bring 2 gels next time…don’t assume that they will have my flavor!)
Flyer SD joined us for pacing the next 5 mile loop…as she and I are pretty similar in races, I knew she’d be fine with the pacing. Although we were trying to keep the runners in the rec lane the best we could, seemingly every course marshall was saying “To the left!” Thanks to them, I got that damn Beyonce song (Irreplaceable) stuck in my head…“…to the left, to the left…” grrrr. 🙂 It started raining a little during this loop, which felt kind of nice…it wasn’t a brutally hot morning, but it was damn humid!! Since we were all doing 16, we all were happy to be done with the West Side Hills for the last time! And Cat Hill for the last time…after finishing with that hill, we (with the group’s approval), picked it up ever so slightly for the remaining mile, as we were all feeling good!!
Finally, 16 and change miles were done. (And including the mile I ran to get there…gave me 17.6 for the day!) I checked out the splits on Mr. Garmin-TB and I couldn’t believe what the average pace was!! Needless to say, there were many sayings of “we rock!” And we decided we must be paired together again for the LTR in September.
Did the usual….got water, Gatorade, socialized, etc. 🙂 And yep, the bloggers were out in force for this one too!! Uptown Girl helped pace the 9 minute group…as did jb24, while Jon paced the later loops for the 8’s. Mark walked by and said hi to me while we were all waiting to start…saw Moz when his group passed us and on the transverse (dude, I said hi to you when you guys passed but you didn’t hear me…had the iPod on :-p )
Didn’t stay around too long, as I was exhausted-some idiot (number I didn’t recognize) decided to call my cell phone twice around 3:45 AM and leave a blank VM message each time. And I desperately needed what has become my favorite post-long run drink-a venti iced skinny vanilla latte. As well as a shower and a nap. (And was very thankful that the crazy thunderstorms held off until after I was indoors!!)
So I was pleased, after last year I kinda redeemed myself 🙂 Yes, I did do well, but it wasn’t just me-it definitely helped have a great co-paceleader and an obedient group…it makes all our jobs easier 🙂 And during the run, I finally decided to say out loud and make public what the marathon goal is gonna be as of right now…3:50. Doable? I’ll find out with my 2 tune-up races (Team Champs 5M and the Philly Distance Run.) Stay tuned…