save the best for last

It took 5 years-but the last of my “submasters PRs”, the 5-miler…has finally fallen. And boy did it ever!!

OK, so I think you all know the background of the NYRR Club Team Championships, I don’t need to repeat…so I’ll get right down to business. As always-there were goals for this race. Which were…

Main “I’d be happy” goal-Finally beat my PR of 37:51
Stretch goal-under a 7:30 pace…so 37:30 or better. Based on my recent 5K, this could be doable…
Uber secret super stretch goal-Under 37 minutes. Challenging-but stranger things have happened…

So if you all remember, I was silently (or not) freaking out about not having “fresh” legs for this race, as I just felt tired during all my runs. But still hoping for some sort of miracle on Saturday morning…and you could tell I was taking this race seriously, as I decided to pass on a get-together a teammate was having in favor of resting the legs, watching the Yankee game (at least up til the 12th inning…needed my beauty sleep!) and detoxing.

Saturday morning…and as much as I may have cursed the later start, I can’t complain about an extra hour of sleep. Usual pre-race preps, step outside to be greeted by a beautiful morning, jog a little bit to the park…stopped around 93rd street as the men’s race was passing by at that time and I did not want to cheer and run at the same time. Everyone passed by in a matter of minutes since it was only about a half-mile in so the runners were still bunched closely together at that point. My cheering was a little subdued as I wanted to save my energy for the race, but still felt seeing a friendly face at that point can’t hurt. (And I felt like it was a good karma thing or something like that πŸ™‚ ) I then flipped on the iPod and continued warming up…of course with some good music to get myself psyched up to race (I think “She Wolf” by Shakira is now my new favorite pre-race song!) and the legs did feel a bit better…maybe there is something to this “mini-taper” thing. Warmup done, check my bag, scout out the location of the Flyers post-race picnic, wait is that the men’s leaders coming by? Wow this race just seems to get quicker and quicker each year…it would be a good 5 minutes or so before we saw the first Flyer, so me and a few other Flyer ladies just watched and waited…sure enough, JD runs by as the first of the Flyer contingent…with Laminator and Crazy Bandana-head not too far behind…jb24 looked like he was having a great race too!! Again, my cheering was more subdued than normal…I was actually more acting as “lookout” and “identify that Flyer” for the other ladies, so they could cheer by name and not “go Flyer” πŸ™‚ It’s 9:35 and I need to get myself in the zone…sorry guys but I know you understand! A little more warming up, a little more stretching, then time to hit the corrals and just wait for the start. Deep breaths…kill those nerves, get ready to run!! The starting horn sounds…do the legs remember what to do…?

the game face makes another appearanceMile 1 (7:25)-Well an advantage to being a corral back was that I wouldn’t get sucked out too fast by the more-stacked field-especially since this mile is the west side hills which you all know how much I love πŸ™‚ I decided for at least the first half-mile, just to try and fall in with teammates and other peeps that I see are around my pace at races and not zigzag back and forth to try and move up…it worked πŸ™‚ By the end of mile 1, things were a little more spread out. Up that last hill at west 86th…saw LG with his UA teammates just as I passed a CPTC woman (yay) and saw the mile 1 marker, and I liked what I saw πŸ˜‰

Mile 2 (7:14)-Was relieved that I started off well, now time to hit that lovely downhill πŸ™‚ However, a sidestitch snuck up on me…dammit, this is early, why couldn’t it wait til the last mile like it usually does? What should have been an easy mile with the downhill was suddenly made tough. Under no circumstances would I walk through this…I kept running hard and breathing deep…and just hoped it would go away. It did by the end of this mile and I was happy with the mile time, but still couldn’t help but wonder what could have been. And there was one point in this mile where I was really flying solo…like i was running by myself with a group a little bit in front of me and a group a little bit in back of me…weird!!

Mile 3 (7:27)-I really had to work in this mile to not let things slip. Hot, unshaded, least crowd support…just tried to maintain-both speed and position, and not get passed. If I do pass a runner or 2 in this mile that would be great…but this is not the time to make my move…especially with the last big hill on the course not too far away. Seemed to work-I didn’t lose too much time on this mile.

Mile 4 (7:44)-Well even before we hit the hill, we had to face another obstacle…a truck near the running lane by 72nd street. Could have been a collision of sorts but that was thankfully avoided…unfortunately the one downside to a 10 am race start…more traffic. So time to face the hill. Don’t kill myself…again, maintain, maintain, maintain. Focus on form. Work the hill. Pass that Running Diva I see walking. Pass by the cat, not much further to go…oh look, I’m at the top of the hill…and I’m gonna pass by another woman in orange πŸ™‚ As well as others. Thank god, the worst is over. My mile split…not bad, but still a tiny bit slower than I would have liked…guess I still need to work on hills…

Mile 5 (6:59)-So with a mile to go, I wanted to avoid an error I thought I made last year. After 4 miles in the final mile...last year, I looked at my watch…and no one is great at math after around a half-hour of hard running, so I thought that a PR was out at that point and maybe didn’t try as hard in the last mile as I should have. I did look at my watch after mile 4 this time (wow that was very close to my 4-mile PR! Come to think of it, I set a 3-mile PR too πŸ˜› ) but tried to refrain from doing the math. And in fact, only time I looked at my watch at all during the race was when I hit the split button at the mile markers-didn’t look at it anytime else…less pacing, more racing!!

Back to the present!! Now’s the time to give it everything…I passed by Engineer’s Gate, where LG was cheering again and he said to me that “now’s the time to run hard” or something to that effect πŸ™‚ And that’s just what I am gonna do!! I kept the last mile of my recent 5K in mind-that I am capable of a good closing mile when it counts, and it doesn’t hurt to, well, hurt a little πŸ™‚ Before I knew it, I had passed the reservoir and now’s the time for all the cheering sections to start. Unlike previous years, there were no smiles…just focus and game face for this chick!! I did hear the assorted cheers, I did hear Bandana-head telling me to “dig deep” but the faces and names were just a blur to me. My lungs were burning by this point but I couldn’t let up now. Just around the time of the final turn…was just me and this one other chick…she’d surge…then I would…turned for home and it was a sprint finish from there…gave it all I had to try and beat her to the line but I was just nipped (though I got her by a second on chip time!) And did the announcer announce a New York Flyer finish…not sure, was again so focused on my finish that I would have totally missed it!! But once I looked at my watch after crossing the line, I so liked what I saw!! I was hoping to run a sub-7 mile in a race…well moreso a sub-7 final mile!! Just made it by a second, but still it was!! And…even better…

All 3 goals achieved for the day!! Final time was 36:49, 7:21 pace…I had surpassed my old 2004 PR by over a minute!! Breaking a PR and doing it in style… πŸ™‚ And from what I heard, quite a few other teammates had great days too!!

post-race silliness :) And time to celebrate…the rest of the day consisting of, in no particular order…picnic, pictures, good friends and other special peeps, iced coffee, a beach in downtown Manhattan, sangria, perfect weather, awesome day…

And oh yeah…I had to check to see what marathon time this predicts…3:36! As far as I’m concerned, training is right on track…and it’s still relatively early too!! But performance-wise, I feel this was my best race ever…yep, even better than the half last year, as here I had to deal with warmer weather and lotsa hills!!

And to everyone who cheered today-thank you, thank you, thank you!! As always-you helped me more than you know…even if I couldn’t acknowledge it at the time πŸ™‚

And what’s next for me? Possibly a half-marathon on the horizon next month…and yeah, I just may have a rough time goal in my mind there…but besides that, just plugging away towards a certain goal on October 25th… πŸ˜‰

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7 thoughts on “save the best for last

  1. U ran a great race FlyGirl. Someday, I'm gonna' come up there and visit the big city. May even run one those races you clity slickers are so fond of.

  2. Congrats on your PR, nyflygirl! You looked so focused near the finish that I knew you were in store for a great time! I see many more PR finishes in your future. Very impressed with your dedication and training. Keep up the awesome work!

  3. Sounds like a great race on a great day! Sorry I mused the race. I always love the people cheering, even though I can't say thanks to them

  4. awesome job!! it really was a great day πŸ˜‰ congrats again on the PR!

  5. Congrats on the new PR, and WOW I am impressed with how on track you are for the marathon! Great job πŸ™‚

  6. Congrats on the PR. I always do well at that race, something about the boys waiting, cheering πŸ˜‰ I love your blog title by the way.

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