OK, it may be cheating a little to consider today’s NYRR 8000 to be a PR. But then again, I have never run an 8K race before, as 5-milers are more plentiful and I may be wrong, but NYRR didn’t really adapt the 8K distance for a race until they started hosting the USA 8K championships a few years back. However, if what McMillan says is true, had this race been a full 5 miles I would have had a 5-mile PR-by a few seconds!! Not bad for a race that really was only meant to be a tune-up for Cherry Blossom and wasn’t even really an “A” race. And how did I prep the night before? One pint of Blue Moon, two glasses of Petite Syrah and lotsa free pizza-courtesy of a bar that gives free pizza (and pretty good pizza too!) with the purchase of any drink. Talk about a recession special!! Went with my coworkers, we all felt we needed a happy hour after the events of the last few weeks. I only meant to stay for one drink, and you see what that turned into. I just wrote it off as carbo-loading…
And luckily, not hungover the next morning. Felt fine and went through the whole pre-race routine. Wardrobe was the biggest decision of the morning…shorts or tights? singlet or long-sleeve shirt? In the end, split the difference and went with capris and singlet over long-sleeve. Was kind of that borderline temp…and the attire did turn out to be perfect. Went outside to face a gorgeous morning and ran the 1.5 miles to the baggage area as my warmup. Dropped off the bag and jogged up to the start, where I ran into fellow Flyer JB-we chatted on the way to the red corral. He had his iPhone…or was it iTouch-definitely iSomething…with him and snapped this posterity pic with the water and corral sign in the background. And the usual waiting through all the speeches and stuff til the starting horn went off. Finally it did, at 8:30 on the dot…
Mile 1 (7:44) – Well for the first time since NYRR instituted the pace corrals, this was the most crowded I’ve remembered the start being-and I was in the 2nd corral!! Maybe the fact that we started on the East Drive and had to make the sharp left turn onto 102nd right after the start…or were they not policing the corrals? Either way-definitely an argument for the race caps!! I just went out hard but cautious, keeping the west side hills and the race distance in mind…plus the fact that I really don’t know what my pace should be. JB passed me partially through this mile and I yelled at him “I thought you weren’t racing this thing!”-which was what he told me beforehand. Shoulda known not to believe him…hehe. Was happy with the first mile split-I was sorta hoping to average between 7:30-7:45 pace for this race, so at least I was on track, albeit the higher end of that range.
Mile 2 (7:26) – RB passed me in the beginning of this mile and I was still able to say a couple of sentences to him…hmm, if I can still talk I am obviously not working hard enough. Need to kick things up a notch. I decided to try and pace off others around me…starting with the woman in the Harriers shirt who I passed partially through this mile…then the Hellgate woman. Ah, love that downhill, and loved my mile split.
Mile 3 (7:35) – Well, to prove that one is not the best at math during a race…I saw I was at 15:10 cumulative after mile 2, so I’m thinking “ok cool, I improved to 7:40 pace”…then thinking about it again…no it was 7:35 pace!! even better. Down the Tavern Hill, around the bottom of the park and back up the East Side…and well I guess I am nothing if not consistent!! This was almost feeling too easy. I mean, this was no walk in the park (ha ha) but I felt much better than I felt at the Cherry Tree relay 3 weeks ago.
Mile 4 (7:48) – Little apprehensive about facing Cat Hill, knowing that I was pretty weak on the hills in Prospect Park. I actually had a feeling this mile would be over 8 minutes. Run as hard as I can on the flatter parts of this mile, and just maintain position on the hill. Seemed to work!! The hill was over before I knew it, and with much less damage than I thought.
The last .97 mile (7:02-7:15 pace) – Plan here was to run hard to Engineer’s Gate, then run even harder to the end…not knowing how long “.97 mile” should take me. At Engineer’s Gate, I saw I was around 4 minutes in, and thought “ok, I only have a about a 800m interval to go”…thinking speedwork!! 🙂 After another minute or so, the thinking was, “only a 2-minute pickup to go.” And who did I see? JB…I tried to catch him…could I sneak attack? hehe. I think he saw me and tried to pick it up for the last few seconds to the finish…and I followed suit. How great was it that the finish was downhill? Unfortunately JB beat me by 1 second, but close enough, and was glad to see a time that was still in the 37s on Mr. Garmin!! 🙂 Official redemption from Cherry Tree!
Final time was 37:35, 7:33 pace. Had to wait til the results were up to see what the pace was as my math isn’t so good that I can calculate pace on 8K :-p But I had a hunch it was on the lower end of my range. Got my bag, chatted with some other Flyers, walked on over to the west side, hit up Starbucks for a skim caramel macchiato and went home for a much-needed nap.
Springtime is in the air…I can feel it. Maybe the change of seasons is what my running needed-as this time was very close to my times from last fall (and my mileage now is much lower…no 40-mile weeks for me if I’m not marathon training!) And the best part is that this race predicts a 1:19:22 for 10 miles, so looks like barring any disasters (e.g., weather), getting under 1:20 at Cherry Blossom will be doable!
On tap tomorrow? A nice, easy long run in predicted beautiful weather…