oh how the mighty have fallen

It’s times like this when I feel like my 2009 racing season was more a curse than a blessing.  Even though I can run a race time that, say 2 years ago I’d be thrilled with, now it just leaves me with disappointment and the feeling of coming up short…because I know I have and could do much better.

And that was the case in yesterday’s NYRR Team Championships 5-miler.  As it fell at the halfway point of my Chicago training, I thought it’d be a good way to see where I’m at, and if I need to adjust my goals at all.  Plus I love this race, I almost always run well…well 2004 (pre-blog) and 2007 not included.  The guys-from both the Flyers and other teams are out in force cheering, especially along the final stretch.  And for once, the weather gods cut us a break and gave us 70 degree, low humidity racing conditions for a change!  Basically…I had no excuses today, right? But I was unsure…I definitely had tired legs, even a short run on Thursday was my slowest in a long time. I had Friday as a complete off day but was it enough?  Wasn’t sure what to expect, time-wise…of course I’d like to get as close as possible to last year’s 36:49.  Or to tell me that I’m on track for a 3:40 marathon, it looked like I’d have to run under 7:30s (37:30).  Maybe that would be doable…?

So the usual routine for this race…I timed my warmup to go up the west side so I could cheer the Flyer guys (and friends from other teams) on during the first mile.   Once everyone passed, continued up to 102nd and to the east side over to where the Flyers staked out their spot for the post-race picnic…and wouldn’t you know it, a few minutes later, the leaders approached.  It was a sea of red as West Side Runners had a clean sweep for the first 5 spots!  I saw some friends from Urban Athletics that I cheered for…no Flyers yet.  And another teammate said something like “are any Flyers even running today?”  I guess she meant it as a joke but I didn’t find it funny…our guys are great guys and do their best, regardless of where they finish in an uber-stacked race like this!  But yes, our guys were there and represented…our first guy finishing just under 30 minutes with our 2nd one not far behind in 30-flat.  Unfortunately missed seeing Lam (wish u could still wear Flyer gear!) but saw Crazy Bandanahead and Johnny.  (Cris was there playing photographer too.)  At around 8:35-8:40, heard announcements for the women to get to the corrals so had to hustle…en route to the start I ran into A Marathoner, who seemed happy with his race.  And in my corral was Shelby-we totally recognized each other from our bloggys…and  were joined shortly by Bridges Runner…I swear, these races are always like impromptu blog meetups 🙂   But chatting sorta helped the time to the start pass by quicker because before I knew it, I heard the announcement of “lead vehicle, are you ready?”  A few deep breaths.  And then we were off.

Mile 1 (7:35)-So the start was thankfully clean (even with me being in the 3rd/yellow corral-don’t forget, this race probably only had around 500 peeps, give or take a few.)  Bridges Runner and I were running together in the first part of this mile…she edged ahead after I guess a half mile…and it seemed like I was getting passed quite a bit too.  I was really hoping it’s just because I wasn’t going out too fast and not because I was destined to have a crap race.  I thought my first mile split was a little slow, but was hoping to make up for it in the next 4 miles…

Mile 2 (7:30)-This mile split surprised me a bit, I really expected it to be faster due to the downhills…but my legs still felt a little tired.  Also, by the 72nd street transverse, there was no traffic control…I had to swerve to avoid not only a group of people crossing the road, but also a bike and I think that may have added a few seconds to this mile.  I couldn’t remember if there were any course marshals there…and if there weren’t there really should have been.  (One girl running near me yelled at the people “this is a f*cking race!”)  Also, near the end of this mile, there was a sprinkler station…which was on with a little more force than ideal.  So my choices-run through it and get drenched, or run around it and add more time…I chose the first since why make my race time slower than it already is.  Figured by this point a PR is out…

Mile 3 (7:36)-Around the bottom of the park.  Pretty uneventful.  Just thankful I didn’t lose more time than necessary on this mile…

Mile 4 (7:52)-knowing my weakness on hills, I was a little nervous about Cat Hill, and how much damage it was going to do.  But surprisingly I was passing people…a lot of people while climbing.  A couple of the UA guys passed by while cooling down and shouted some encouraging words to me to help get up the hill…guess it helped 🙂   I saw Flyer JA cheering on the sidelines across from the Met and I kinda signaled with my facial expression that I was struggling…he told me to “dig deep”…let’s see if I can for the last mile…

Mile 5 (7:03)-Now’s just the time to see what I had left in the tank…if anything.  LG, GA, KB and some other UA guys were cheering

Nearing the finish. In that stretch, I had passed by the woman in the NBR shirt, the woman next to me, the woman ahead in orange...and possibly the one ahead of her wearing red too?

and taking pics near Engineer’s Gate…managed to get one of me even though I was somewhat hidden 😛  Thankfully I was still passing women during this mile…near 96th St I saw Flyer EA who encouraged me to catch the woman up ahead…and the funny thing was she even turned around and encouraged me to catch her too (wonder if she wasn’t taking the race seriously?)  North of the reservoir was all the team’s cheering sections which I desperately needed…Coach DC from Urban was cheering enthusiastically for me…so was the Flyers contingent.  Helped me pick off a coupla more women in this last stretch (though for all I know, they could have gotten me on chip time).  The final corner was in sight and Coach JM from UA was standing near there and yelled encouragement for me to finish strong…I kicked til my lungs burned…and then some.  (I still felt it in my lungs hours afterwards!)  The announcer was calling out team names…not sure if they called out the Flyers…but when I was done, I was done!

Wound up with 37:36, 7:31 pace…admittedly, quite disappointing.  If it were 2 years ago, I would have been thrilled with this time.  But being 47 seconds slower, 10 seconds per mile slower than what I ran in this race last year…it’s a lot.  Tried the best I could to enjoy the post-race picnic and the team photo, etc…

Only positive take-aways from this one…I didn’t pace like a moron (passed a lot of people in the last 2 miles) and I had a lot left in the tank for the last mile-maybe too much?  Could I have pushed harder in miles 1-4 and therefore wound up with a faster finish time?  My average heart rate for this race was lower than it had been in the past, maybe suggesting the effort level wasn’t there?

I know what you are all going to say-and that is this is only one race.  However, I have not had a decent race since Brooklyn.  Meaning, a race that suggests a 3:40 marathon.  I’ve had a string of subpar races in a row…the Mini 10K, Corporate Challenge, the 5K in Hoboken, now this one.  And being that I’m further along in training than I have been in the past for this race…shouldn’t it be showing up by now?  According to McMillan, this race predicts a 3:41:11…ouch.  (normally I wouldn’t put too much faith in that prediction, except that this race 2 years ago almost perfectly predicted what I ran in NYCM 2008.)  Should I revise my goal to 3:45 and hope that a 3:45 will still be good for Boston 2012 (since I’ll be 35?)  I just feel like nothing in my training and racing right now is pointing towards a 3:40 marathon…and I’d like to know sooner rather than later if I am gonna need to adjust my goals and just accept I don’t have a 3:40 marathon in me.

9 weeks of marathon training behind me, 9 to go, where to go from there will be a blog post for another day.  I’ll just leave you all with the team piccy for now 🙂

Go Flyers!

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9 thoughts on “oh how the mighty have fallen

  1. You ran a great race as did the rest of 2 million flyers (I counted).

  2. Cat hill spanked me too. 🙂 Great to chat with you before the race!

    I don’t think you should revise your marathon goal! You had an awesome race at BK – clearly you can do the long distance thing. Once the training miles drop off and the weather cools down, hitting those paces will feel a lot easier, too! (At least that is what I keep telling myself!)

  3. its tough. we put our heart, soul and free time into running and set goals, and personally i always want to improve and when you don’t see the improvement, it sucks. it just does. kudos to you for being so positive (or at least trying) immediately after. how you feel is a choice AND 9 weeks is still a long time. You can still kick ass in those 9 weeks and meet your 3:40 goal.

    Last year I had shitty race after shitty race and still ran a better NYCM than expected (well given my bronchitis at the time). Sometimes life just hands you shit :)and from that my friend you must make lemonade. Chin up, keep plugging away!

  4. Great race report…no wonder it took you longer to write up than mine…haha 🙂 Seriously though, i know you know we had similar races on Saturday with similar expectations that were not met. But honestly, I think all the long distance running is probably having an effect on shorter race preparation. Besides, we didn’t really taper for this race either. Point is that I don’t think you should allow a bad race or two (especially short distance races) to affect your training…unless you think you currently cannot keep up with the paces of your workouts.

    Otherwise, just ignore it…chalk it up to bad weather, bad food, stress, whatever…and just let it go and continue running and training. Besides, what’s the worse that can happen? You train for a 3:40…you fall short and get a 3:42. If you pull back on your goal now, it’d probably be the same result. As someone told me yesterday: “Shoot for the moon! If you miss, you’ll land among the stars!”

    Stick with it nyflygirl. I believe in you!

  5. Keep with it – all this hard work will pay off! A 5 mile race is not your goal and it’s obvious as you continued with your workouts the week before. As I told you, I’ll be your biggest cheerleader til and through 10/10/10. I know you’ve got it in you…believe it!

  6. Cut yourself a bit of slack yeah? you said according to McMillian you were on pace for 3.41.11. and you still have 9 weeks till Chicago,alot of time to turn a potential 3.41.11. to 3.39.99. and well below.
    The problem running races during marathon training is there’s a risk of falling between two stools,yes you want to race well but at the end of the day the race/races are part of the bigger picture…the marathon,nobody including myself likes to run slower than we know we’re capbable of but I’ll hedge my bets here,if you do get a BQ at Chicago this race won’t register that highly on the nyflygirl thoughts upon crossing the finish line in Grant Park.

  7. i wouldn’t put too much stock in a central park race in august during the height of you marathon training program.. it was crowded (so i heard), warm, and you’re training your ass off (not tapering)–and none of these things contribute to a superior race day performance. i wouldn’t adjust your goals–go for the 3:40! you’ll do it, no doubt!

  8. Very nice seeing you after the race. Congratulations. It was great effort. Remember, you have 9 weeks of heavy miles on your legs w/ 9 more to go. You pushed out a great workout and now can focus back on the next phase of training. Don’t put too much stock in race predictors … you will be ready.

  9. After 9 weeks of Marathon training, approaching your peak mileage, on a hot day in August and you still ran 7:30 pace? Nice work! Sounds to me like you are where you should be given that your goal is 10/10/10 – Chicago not an August training race.
    I’d put more stock in your Race Pace training session a couple of days ago when you really hit your splits as an indicator of where you are in your training.
    Stay on plan, stay focused, get your sleep (so important; just an extra 30 minutes now and then will really help!), eat well and you can do it in Chicago!

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