7th year…yep count ’em, 7th year I’ve been a paceleader for the NYRR Long Training Run. Even the years I wasn’t training for a fall marathon, I’d still come out and run a shorter distance. And a quick check through the archives says that the only time I ever did not run one was the 2nd one in 2005…as injury recovery and torrential downpours just did not mix. But ever since, it’s been 2 a year for me. I was actually not sure I was gonna be able to do this one as it was originally scheduled for last weekend when I was upstate…but it got pushed back a week to make room for the Queens Half…works for me! 🙂
So yeah, by now I know the whole drill with regards to pace leading. We’re not “precision Swiss watches” but be cognizant (sp?) of the pace and adjust when necessary. Make sure everyone stays in the rec lane. Take water. Be mindful of others in the park. Have fun. And as me and my “dynamic duo” partner TB were gonna be paired up again to pace the 9:30s, I knew there wasn’t much to worry about…even if this was my first 20-miler of the training cycle.
So I awoke way too early this morning and was out the door by 6:15, thankfully greeted by probably weather that was as good as you can get for August 1st in NYC. Located the Flyers table and got this year’s version of the see-through pace leader singlet-and I was actually able to get a small so it wasn’t a minidress this time 🙂 Then began the dividing up into groups…me and TB were with a coupla others but would eventually wind up on our own…
Yeah, even though the Dynamic Duo was, as usual, spot on with the pace, there were a coupla other pace leaders who were running faster (despite pleas from the 2 of us to slow down, as it was pulling the group and the 2 of us too) and as a result, we actually got dropped by the group during the second loop and by the time we were ready to leave the transverse for the 3rd loop, most of the group had left already. So we, and Flyer EG pretty much ran the 3rd loop together. I know there are some who said that “oh we felt good because of the weather so we can run faster”…that’s great but then go ahead to the 9’s instead of “pulling” the 9:30’s! It’s times like this where I feel our efforts to actually do our job and stay on pace are not appreciated…and on the other hand, there are those who complain if the pacers are off (and I know it has happened in the past.) Guess you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t…
I felt like I was struggling a little by mile 17, the beginning of the last loop…even though I was taking Gatorade, gels, water, and had carbo-loaded I was still feeling under-fueled…that was my slowest mile of the day but managed to pull it together for the last 3, knowing I was in the homestretch…if anything, me and TB were virtually carrying each other through that last loop, we were both beat. We saw that beautiful Mile 19 sign not too long after Cat Hill and we knew it wouldn’t be too much longer until an even more beautiful sight…the left turn onto 102nd and the Mile 20 sign. Survived my first 20-miler this year.
Yeah, some were a little fast but all in all…not too too bad? I’m still not convinced yet that this will translate to a minute per mile faster for the marathon distance though. Just not feeling like much in my training is pointing to a 3:40…need a decent race or 2 under my belt I guess.
So, one 20-miler done, at least 2 more to go…this run topping off a 46-mile week. This upcoming week is a very welcome cutback…Team Champs 5M on Saturday! Praying for a decent race for a change this summer….