harder, better, faster, stronger

Those words, originally the title of a Daft Punk song, more recently sampled in a Kanye West song…ran through my head during today’s NYRR Club Team Championships. Did that help? Read on!!

Now I’ll reveal what my goals for the race were-and in honor of the Olympics, I’ll use medal colors πŸ™‚

Bronze-beat last year’s time (40:10)-get revenge on last year!!
Silver-beat my 2006 time (39:03)
Gold-distance PR…sub-37:51

I was so nervous and excited for the race, I found it a little hard to sleep last nite. (Plus a certain finish of a certain swimming event had something to do with it too!! dayum…) But despite that, I got up right when the alarm sounded, and went through the usual pre-race routine…eat, drink coffee, stretch, get dressed, listen to music, make sure Mr. Garmin is charged…

As usual-I timed my warmup to go up the west side so I could cheer the Flyer guys on during the first mile. And yeah, I was nice and cheered for friends on other teams too πŸ™‚ And they all seemed very appreciative-being that the women’s race is not for another hour, I’m sure that part of the course didn’t have a lot of cheering support. Everyone was still pretty much bunched together, so pretty much all of the runners passed by in a matter of minutes. So I continued on up to 102nd Street, and found some of the Flyer women who had staked out a spot near the finish to cheer the guys on. Soon enough, the leaders came by…finishing in 23-and-change…are you friggin kidding me? I can’t even do 4 miles in 23 and change minutes! Hell, there are times when I can’t even do a 5K in that amount of time πŸ™‚ Around 28-29 minutes, we kept an eye out for the first Flyer, who I knew would be coming in around that time…we did think we saw one, but it actually turned out to be a Reservoir Dog-their singlets are very similar to our latest singlet style!! But one by one, the Flyer men passed by, running strong towards the finish.

After a while, I left to go warm up and loosen up and head towards the start…and yep, even though it was a small field-around 500-they still used the corrals…and yay, I was in the 2nd/red one πŸ™‚ It may not have mattered in a race this size, but was still cool. A bunch of my Flyer teammates were in my corral, as was Uptown Girl. Everybody was chatting it up, the starting horn took us by surprise!! Here we go…

Mile 1 (7:35)-through the west side hills…I knew this mile would give me an idea as to what kind of race I will have…I was gonna go for it!! The crowd support was fantastic…and Uptown Girl and I were running together for most of this mile, I knew I was having a good race when I could keep up with her πŸ™‚ Was feeling good, feeling strong…saw my mile split and was pleased…in the ballpark! πŸ™‚
Mile 2 (7:28)-wheeeeee…..downhill mile!! A bunch of the Flyer and the TRD guys were running in the other direction and cheering. Still felt good!! After this mile I thought “cool, I’m on PR pace!!” πŸ™‚
Mile 3 (7:45)-always the mentally tough mile!! Around the bottom of the park, so the least support. Plus, it had warmed up to about 70 degrees by then and was very humid…not as bad as it could have been, but this mile was unshaded and it took a little bit of a toll on me. This was when I started playing those words over and over in my head…“harder, better, faster, stronger.” Keep me motivated. (Funny…when listening to music pre-race…yeah, I was listening to Kanye, but different song-“Champion”…funny what gets stuck in your head! Anyway, off the subject here…) A couple women did pass me, including one of my teammates, but I was still sticking with others, and even passing others. So all in all, not too bad. Just keep everyone in sight and I’ll be fine.
ok, i guess i was able to manage one smile near the end.  hi guys. :)Mile 4 (7:58)-Flyer SD caught up to me right before Cat Hill…she was another good one to use as a rabbit, as when we’re both having a good day, we’re pretty similar in races. Cat Hill sucked as usual, but I felt strong climbing it, passed a few more women…guess hill work…well…works!! πŸ˜€ After climbing the hill I edged ahead of SD for good…last time I saw her til the finish. Knew this mile would be slow, but was happy this was under 8 minutes…that hasn’t happened in quite awhile!!
Mile 5 (7:25)-OK…I knew a PR was out at this point…I’d have to run under 7 minutes, which I didn’t think I was capable of…so do the best I can, whatever that may be-I figured I had the bronze and silver goals in the bag πŸ™‚ As I approached Engineer’s Gate, one girl who was running near me said “let’s go” to me…we both picked it up!! As I passed the reservoir, I caught up to Uptown Girl and another Reservoir Dog, EV…as we entered the “tunnels of cheering” for the last half-mile (or as several Flyers started referring to it as-the more of a game face here“tunnel of love”) I passed EV, then Uptown Girl…I said “come on let’s go!” to each of them. OK-there was a method to my madness…let’s all work together to kick it in…one picks up the pace, of course I will try to follow suit…you get what I’m trying to say πŸ™‚ Uptown Girl and I stuck together to the finish, where once again, the cheering was fabulous…much better than last year, methinks!! I heard lots of “Go (my name)!” which made me very happy..though my face may not have shown it at the time!! Just around the last corner…go go go!!!

And I wound up with 38:11, 7:38 pace…my 2nd best 5-miler ever and a “submasters PR” πŸ™‚ Very pleased.

So after the finish, I said the usual “good jobs!”…and it was cool…Uptown Girl, me, SD and EV finished one after the other…so I guess keeping them in my sights was a good thing πŸ™‚ Everyone then went to their respective teams’ festivities…we had our usual bagel brunch and team picture, and lots of chatting and mingling. (And one of the other teams even shared ice cream with us!! cool. πŸ™‚ )

So yeah…another one coming so close. But once again, my PR was set in 60 degree weather, on an easier course, with no tired marathon training legs. So all in all, I actually think I outperformed that πŸ™‚ Splits may have looked all over the place, but they were actually pretty consistent with the terrain. Kinda wish I had been able to push harder in that last mile, but considering that once again I was breathless and couldn’t speak full sentences for a few minutes after the finish, I think I did give it all I had. And once again-I have not come this close in 4 years, so I’m glad that 2008 is looking to be a comeback year. And I think it could mean good things will happen in the half and the marathon coming up!! This predicts a 3:44 marathon (courtesy of the McMillan calculator) so maybe, just maybe, the 3:50 marathon goal will be within my reach…

And on the topic of marathons, I’m psyched to watch the womens’ Olympic marathon tonite!! Go Deena! (This is providing that NBC doesn’t switch coverage to the trampoline or whatever else :-p)

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7 thoughts on “harder, better, faster, stronger

  1. Great race. Better race report. Totally saw you running so strong at the end, you were so busting it in! You’re usually cheering me on so it felt totally wierd to return the favor somewhat. Congrats on an amazing race!

  2. Congratulations on a great run.I watched most of the marathon last night, and I thought NBC did a pretty good job with the coverage. In other words, they actually showed a lot of the race. Do you know what happened to the Japanese woman who looked to be really emaciated and was really struggling? Did she drop out? I was worried about her.I think it is inspiring that Constantina Tomescu-Dita is 38; she is very impressive, even though she’s “older” by our youth-obsessed culture’s standards.

  3. laminator-thanks for the props, and for the cheering too!! seriously, you guys helped me finish strong. :)miss rachel-agreed, I was pretty satisfied with the coverage, hope it will be the same a week later for the men!! Tomescu ran a great race-very gutsy move to just drop the chase halfway…i can’t believe no one caught her!! Yep-she (and Dara Torres too!) were pretty inspiring…showing that the better years just may be yet to come!! πŸ™‚

  4. Congrats on your race – I needed the push at the end. I felt terrible yesterday! Sounds like your training is going great so far – can you believe it’s just 8 weeks to Chicago already?Olympics – gotta love ’em. Good thing they’re only 16 days though;)

  5. Congrats on a great race! Your training and speedwork seem to be paying off nicely. Keep up the good work.

  6. Excellent work, fly! I’m so sorry I missed it. Keep up the good training!

  7. Congratulations, and great report! You’re going to do such an amazing job in the marathon this year.

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