dreams do come true

This has been such a tough race report to write.  How does one put into words….how it feels to just be floating along for 13.1 miles, to have it just seem too perfect, too easy, a dream coming true right in front of my eyes.  I’ll tell ya, two days later I’m still riding that high and I hope to be riding it in 5 weeks from now…

Long story short-as you know from my previous post…Sunday’s Philly Distance Run went much better than I could have expected.  And yeah of course, there were the tiers of goals before the race…

Main “I’d be happy” goal-Sub 1:45
Stretch goal-under my PR of 1:42:20
Uber secret super stretch goal-1:40…either sub-1:40 or 1:40:xx
And which goal did I achieve?  Well once again, I will start this report off with the stats and the splits…

And now the story!!  I guess in a way it starts on Friday when I was doing my last run before the race, an easy 3.5 miles with strides at the end…and during the run I found myself daydreaming of running a certain time, envisioning the finish line…the clock saying a certain time…etc, etc, etc 🙂  Anyway run done, work done for now, time to carb up (which included Rosh Hashanah dinner at the parentals on Friday nite!) and rest up…

Saturday morning came…NJ Transit time!!   But a little different this time-you see, I took up Uptown Girl‘s offer to crash with her at her parents place near Philly for the race weekend.  (And also, I get to partake in another Rosh Hashanah dinner on Saturday nite…see, I’m not such a bad Jew after all!)  So surprisingly, there were absolutely no NJT issues on the trip there-you see, that never happens, so of course I took it as a good sign  🙂  So anyway, made it in one piece, and we were off to the expo…got our bibs and techie(!) shirts!!  Didn’t do too much damage to the credit card…the expo was so-so, but when I saw tangerine PowerGels, you can bet I snatched more than a few of them up 🙂  So done with expo, time to go home, relax, put our feet up, conserve our energy, have dinner…before we knew it, was almost time to get my beauty sleep and knowing there wouldn’t be a lot of time to spare in the AM, made sure everything was ready to go…D-tag on the shoe, bib pinned on my top, Garmin charged, all accessories out, etc (remembered Mr. Garmin, but forgot the HRM strap!  who am i…?)…set the alarm on my CrackBerry to 5 AM and after reading and answering some “good luck” texts 😉 went to sleep…dreaming of PRs…

Next thing I knew, it was 5:15 AM and Uptown Girl flipped on the lights in my room to wake me up…holy sh*t why didn’t the CrackBerry go off?  Eventually figured out that it might have helped to turn the alarm to “On.”  Learning for next time.  Thank god I had everything prepped the night before, as I got dressed and ready in record time, since we had to be on the road by 5:30 AM!  (Figured I can have my bagel w/ white chocolate peanut butter and french vanilla coffee in the car!)  Don’t know how I pulled it off, but I did.  And to the city we go…

So…when we get there, there’s another treat in store.  Ya see, a friend of Uptown Girl’s dad has done this race every year and therefore gets VIP access for himself and others…I think you can see where this is going 🙂  Yep, how cool was it to be kinda sorta hobnobbing with the elites (Ryan Hall!), not to mention portapotties that we didn’t have to wait on line for, water and Cytomax at our disposal (and I caught a peek of some “after-race” beverages…hehe.)  Was still a little chilly then, still had my long-sleeve shirt and pants on and would wait to take those off to let the legs stay as warm as possible.  But was cool with it because it obviously meant perfect racing weather 🙂  Just tried to relax, had the iPod and listened to some of my favorite pre-gaming songs…yep of course “Pocketful of Sunshine” and “I Gotta Feeling” were on that list…oh and Madonna’s new song “Celebration” was in there too, definitely a great song to get you psyched up to run well!!

So it’s around 7:20 and us gals decided it was time to roll.  Made any last minute preps and headed towards corral 3 (cool, one up from last year! 🙂 )  Again, they weren’t being totally policed…but what can you do.  And not surprisingly, the NYC local running scene was in effect…NY Harriers, CPTC, Urban Athletics, NYAC and others…ah just like another NYRR club points race, plus 20,000 other peeps.  Well not really like that but you get what I’m saying…sometimes it’s nice to see that NYC familiarity away from home in a way.  (surprisingly, almost no Flyer representation!!  Only saw one other there besides myself…hmmm maybe everyone preferred to run the Queens Half? :-P)  Anyways, was almost go time!!  Before we knew it, it was 7:45 and the elites and 1st corral were off…a minute later corral 2…then in another minute was our turn!!

So mile 1, that was where these wave starts came into play…where last year I remembered a lot of dodging in the mile, I was really able to settle in right away.  Especially since the first few miles are on the narrower streets of Center City!!  Nothing too crazy, just an effort I felt I could maintain for 13.1…and when I saw 7:30 for the first mile, I had a feeling this was gonna be a good day.  And when I saw my mile 2, mile 3 and 5k splits (while passing other local NYC runners that are usually ahead of me in races) I knew it was gonna be a great day!!  Could it be, my dream race is actually unfolding right in front of me?

So now we were going back in the direction of where we started…looked at my watch at mile 4 (stuck by my rule of not looking at my watch unless at a mile split or a 5k/chip mat split)-just under 30 minutes!!  Remember, it was a longtime goal of mine to break 30 minutes for 4 miles…and now I did it in my last 2 races en route to a longer distance!!  Passed by the start/finish area and heard “Let’s Get It Started”…were people still waiting to start at that point?  Either way, that’s one of my fave running songs and was great to hear at this point. 🙂

So now we were on the nice and shady MLK drive for about a 5-mile stretch.  And I was loving that.  The legs knew exactly what to do, they were just totally dialed into 7:30s (give or take a second or 2).  And whereas last year, when I remember that it felt like work…I was still feeling great, was just cruising along.  Hit the 10K point…OMG, that is actually a 10K PR for me!!  Only point where I may have felt the tiniest bit of a “fade” was in mile 8…but my tangerine PowerGel (which thankfully I was able to hold onto!) took care of that 🙂

Mile 9 brought the Falls Bridge, the first “hill” of the course.  Last year I remembered it being totally unwelcome at that point 🙂  But this year was a different story.  I thought of what LG would say to me when we would run up the hills in Central Park…or if he’d be cheering me on in a race near a hill…focus on form, lean into it, look to the top…before I knew it, I was at the top and thought “that’s all it was?”  It really did seem shorter than last year! 🙂  So after turning onto Kelly Drive (and even for the previous coupla miles) I was debating whether or not to start picking up the pace a little…but decided to stick to the plan-first 10 miles for pacing, last 5k for racing.  No chip mat at 15K, but I saw a split of 1:09:45…guess I really need to race another 15K, as my PR for that distance is 1:17?  The 10-mile split brought another PR as well! 🙂  (ahhh revenge on Cherry Blossom!!  I knew I was capable of better than 1:19…)

So remember last year, my then wannabe, now actual teammate DK was running with me for the last few miles, and I remembered I really needed that…but this time was just me…and I was making it happen.  I couldn’t believe it when I saw mile 11….I only have 2.1 miles to go?  How did that happen?  This truly was the race I always daydreamed about…when you’re just flying high, every mile split coming in better than you imagined…

But during mile 12…dammit, a sidestitch got me!!  Just kept running and tried to breathe through it…under no circumstances would I stop or walk, but it signaled that I needed fluids and decided that even though there’s such little distance to go…as soon as I saw a water stop, take something!!  Thankfully, there was one right after the mile 12 marker…and that turned out to be exactly what I needed.  And looks like it didn’t slow me down too much, but of course wonder what could have been…

I remembered mile 13 last year as being evil…as it was the 2nd hill of the course, at a point where you did not want one.  And I barely had anything left, it was all I could do to dig deep and run a 7:46 mile (after two 7:41’s!)  Don’t get me wrong, I felt the incline, but I also felt I still had a little something left to leave out on the course.  Then partially through the mile, KW from the Harriers passed by and said good job, and I said I was gonna try and stick by him…or at least keep him in my sights for the rest of this mile.  Couldn’t quite keep him in my sights for long, but it did get me to pick up the intensity even more for this mile…and I see a CPTC girl…hmmm can I pass by her too?  Well I did, and in the process, ran a smokin’ hot mile 13!! 🙂

Well another thing I think I have improved upon this year is a good finishing kick…as last year at this race, I just remembered it being pretty weak.  Well not only did I have to hold off the CPTC chick that I passed, but I heard the announcer encouraging us to “get in under 100 minutes!”  Wow even with the wave start, I have a chance of getting under 1:40 on the clock too?  I gotta go for that!!  And so I did-making it with 8 seconds to spare!!  Wow!! (and just barely finished ahead of the CPTC girl too…hehe)  Was sooo happy….yet in a way, a little sad it was all over!!

Got my medal, my picture taken…then headed back to the VIP area for the real celebration to begin 🙂  And it turned out I wasn’t the only one celebrating-Uptown Girl smashed her PR with a 1:40, and just ran a very well-executed race in the process.  So anyway, remember how I said I saw certain beverages before…yep they were “adult” beverages :-P…downed 3 bottles of MGD 64…which I guess is the equivalent of one normal beer, as it did not even get me buzzed, not even in my post-half marathon depleted state 🙂  But hey, free beer is free beer!!  And it just felt so nice and celebratory to be tipping those back on such a beautiful day!

I don’t think I need to say any more to sum up the race and how I felt about my performance…I think I’ve said enough 🙂  I can only hope I can repeat this in a month at MCM.  And oh yeah…of course I had to look up what this time predicts for other distances 🙂  And the McMillan calculator says that a 1:37:36 half predicts…a 3:25:50 marathon!!!  Ummmm OK.  I do know I have to keep in mind that this was a supah flat course.  But still!!  At first I thought that I wouldn’t be drastically altering my goals, as all I wanted was reassurance that 3:40 would be doable.  But is it possible that 3:40 may be setting the bar too low…boy, my marathon goal is really up in the air now!! 🙂


10 thoughts on “dreams do come true

  1. Congrats on your dream run? Fantastic! Yeah, I think after this experience you need to "dream" a bit more for MCM, if not, you'd make my marathon prediction based on McMillan somewhat impossible.Dream big dreams, my darling. DREAM. BIG. DREAMS. Congrats on your monumentous PR! Perfect timing for your bday and MCM too! I'm so excited for ya to do well in your big big race!

  2. Congratulations! Great race report. Your 1:37:36 is inspiring!

  3. That is an awesome run..and an awesome day also. It is days like that make the bad training days and the hard work all worth it. The MacMillan calculator is both good and bad for me..I love it when it predicts a bad time, but ignore it when it predicts a time I don't like.

  4. Bravo Flygirl,job well done.Not to get all 'Soothsayer' but I did post a comment the other week when you were getting down on yourself that if you"had faith in your ability and trusted your training the results would be there"I need to remind myself of that this Saturday as I head to New York for 5th Avenue Mile.Kick on from PDR and I really believe you can do great things at MCM on 10.25,if indeed we are only as good as our last race then you my dear are on fire right now!

  5. Congratulations on your race…very even splits….where's my cheese steak from Jim's on South Street?

  6. Lam-thanks!! yeah this is a nice early b-day present 🙂 as for MCM…i'm still wary about too aggressive goals for the marathon distance (especially since its not supah flat like this course is) but we shall see…ShoreTurtle-thanks!!NYWolve-yeah i agree…its just such a relief when it all comes together. As for McMillan…well I found last year it was pretty accurate with my marathon time from my 5-mile race…i guess u also have to take things like terrain, weather, and whether you are stronger at short or long distances.Kevin-thanks and go ahead, say "i told you so!" i did the same thing the week before my 5-mile race last month 🙂 Good luck on 5th Ave!!LG-thanks-and as for your cheesesteak, your request got lost in transit. Which means next year you will have to do this race w/ me and get one in person 😉

  7. yay!! sounds like everything worked out perfectly! and such a huge confidence booster for you–you will totally rock MCM! It's not as hilly as you might think (except for the one hill–you know which one ;)) so yeah–congrats!!

  8. awesome race fly girl! Sounds like you were in the flow– how beautiful! I have really enjoyed reading about your training this year. It seems like when you have doubts, I have doubts, and then we both have had great highs! I too got a scary 3:25 out of the McMillan calculator for my upcoming marathon with my half marathon time. But after running a long run on my race course, I think that is a totally impossible time for me (plus my race is at altitude). I am concerned that I am super prepared for the 1/2 marathon distance but not quite as ready to "race" the marathon. ok, enough about me already! I wish I had gotten in the kind of mileage you have been! Nice work! Sarah in Berkeley

  9. One thing to keep in mind-even though I had cut back a little bit, I wasn't completely tapered…which I will be for marathon day, which I think will make a distance!! But yeah, as I just said in another post I know I have to adjust expectations for different courses. Either way, sounds like your training is going great!!

  10. WOW WOW WOW! You have given me something to hope for :)My friend has run most of her halves in around 1:36-1:38, and most of her full marathons in the high 3:30s. I think you could do better, but don't set yourself a new goal that means you're unhappy when you crush the old one!

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