black and yellow (2011 corporate challenge report)

“black and yellow…black and yellow…black and yellow…black and yellow…”

OK, maybe the song isn’t necessarily a favorite, but I felt it went with my race bib for the Corporate Challenge 🙂

So.  Compared to last year’s race, there were some logistical improvements.  The biggie?  Everyone got asked for predicted times when they signed up, so…we all got assigned to start corrals based on our pace.  WIN.  This was a huge relief for me, as my yellow bib meant I would be in one of the “seeded” starts and I didn’t have to stress about getting there mad early.  And I could actually leave with my colleagues to go to the race and be in the team picture this year (as I had to miss it last year)

Oh and I have to say, I loved how our shirts came out…cute idea for a market research company, right?  This was the back of the shirt:

before I took a scissors to the sleeves and the bottom of the shirt

So 5 PM rolls around and we’re all getting into our race gear, pinning on our bibs, etc…and as my coworkers had either blue or white bibs (those were the 2 corrals behind yellow) I definitely got a lot of comments on my yellow bib.  Ahhh, the pressure of being the company ringer…though actually, I had to reclaim my title of being first overall for the company 🙂  We leave and hit the subway around 5:30…and of course the train is filled with other Corporate Challengers.  And I guess there was some chick giving our crew the stinkeye, though Dr. Insensitive said something to the effect of “yeah show off your bib, we have the power”…until the chick pulled out a red bib with a 3-digit number-meaning first corral.  Ummm yeah.

So we got to the park in plenty of time and found a place to drop our bags-one very nice coworker volunteered to watch our stuff while we were racing…though truth be told, he was rewarded with some, uh, refreshment while he was waiting 🙂  Anyway, we took a few pictures, then most of the crew went to get their T-shirts so I said I was going to the start and that I’d see them at the finish line (or after!)  Since there was nothing in the race day instructions that said what time we had to be in the corrals by, I didn’t want to take any chances…

And I got to my yellow corral in plenty of time and found a spot near the front of it.  Looks like red was in front, with green right behind, then us.  And the announcements stated that it was gonna be staggered starts-red and green go at the horn, we go 2 minutes later.  Good idea as well-they do that at the Philly Distance Run and I found it helped the congestion in the beginning.  So we just had to wait for the start…sit through (or actually stand through) the pre-run “aerobics” which a lot of us did not partake in 😛

And the horn sounded and the red and green corrals left.  And we waited a minute or 2 before we were allowed to move up.  And move up I did…and here was where I made a little mistake.  As I was in the front of the corral, I stepped over the first timing mat (the 2nd was at the actual start line), but the officials wouldn’t release us yet.  And I thought to myself “oh sh*t!!  this is gonna add to my race time”  But eventually they did let us go…

So the beginning of the first mile was pretty clean.  But wouldn’t you know it, not even 5 minutes in, I’m passing red and green bibs…that should NOT be happening if they have a 2 minute head start on me.  Guess some peeps were, uh, a little optimistic with their “predicted times?”  First mile was 7:31…hmmm maybe a little slow?  I knew I had to break a 7:30 pace to beat last year’s time…and I think to go under 26 minutes I would have had to run 7:25’s?

During mile 2 was the right turn onto 102nd…and I used some learning from last year.  Last year I had stayed to the inside on this turn, resulting in being quite boxed in and having to slow dramatically on the turn.  This time I stayed to the outside…tangents be damned, but it didn’t break my stride at least.  But damn, why did I feel like we were climbing this entire mile?  2nd mile was 7:38.

Mile 3 was pretty much like mile 4 from the Mini 10k…”The Climb” (apologies for the Miley Cyrus reference)  And I think my legs were still feeling the 10K race, as I took that one pretty hard.  This mile was 7:47 and  was glad it was over.  Last half-mile started with Cat Hill downhill but then we turn onto 72nd to the finish…uphill!!  How the hell did this course feel like we were constantly going uphill (with the exception of Cat Hill)?  I wasn’t looking at my watch and I didn’t know how close I was to a PR…did the best I could at the finish but my legs were spent…last half-mile was 3:40…not my best closing half-mile, not my worst.  Final time 26:36, 7:36 pace according to Mr. Garmin-though the actual results said 26:53…remember my starting mat mishap?  That’s where those 17 seconds went…not that it made much of a difference at the end of the day…

So as always, followed the masses to get water, once again skipped the nasty shit known as coconut water, got my t-shirt, and cooled down around the lower loop.  And even with sneaking in a cooldown, I was the first to make it back to our meeting spot 🙂  But soon enough the others started to arrive, all seeming very happy with themselves and they should be…we all brought it! 🙂  (and oh yeah, I reclaimed my title of finishing first for the company…yay 🙂 )  After everyone was present and accounted for, we all trekked up and down Amsterdam Avenue in search of someplace, anyplace what wasn’t mobbed with Corporate Challengers, so we could get some definitely-needed eats and “recovery beverages” 🙂  Took us a while, but we did find a place, so we all sat, ate, drank, chatted and had fun (and I didnt even get charged for my 2nd drink, cool!)

As for my race…I honestly didn’t have much expectations, but I thought sub-26 could have been doable.  I guess I underestimated how much a hard 10K can take out of you and that this isn’t the easiest double.  I don’t know how those elites who double in the 10K/5K do it! (then again, they are creatures unlike any other…)  All in all, I just chalked it up as my tempo workout for the week.  But on a positive note, I have to say having the seeded corrals was a HUGE improvement over previous years.  I just need to remember to stay away from the starting mats til they let us go…oh crap, I have to do this again next year? 🙂

obviously i'm smiling because this is post-race


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