OK, so despite the heat wave that hit the tri-state area earlier this week, my 5K race on Tuesday actually went better than expected. How good? Well I came within seconds of a PR in non-ideal conditions…and I beat my brother by over a minute! Oh yeah, there’s a secondary plot line going on there…
So as I mentioned before, my brother was the more athletic one growing up, etc…and then as adults, those roles were reversed. We did face off at the Corporate Challenge…I think about 7 years ago? I remember it being ridiculously hot that day and I was relatively new to racing…plus my first mile sucked because I got a crap start (the days before chip times and corrals!) Anyway, he beat me and gloated about it quite a bit the day after. (though you could sorta say I beat him on an age/gender graded basis…) We both toed the same line at a NYRR 10K (can’t remember which one offhand) a year later and I got him there…of course you can use the same argument that always seems to be used with me “i’m stronger in the longer distances.”
So today, game on. The organizers thankfully didn’t make this a fun run…guess they figure everyone knows how to take care of themselves during a 5K 🙂 Escaped work by 5:30, got to Hoboken in plenty of time to do the pre-race routine…oh and they actually had tech shirts this year!! Nice touch! Only downside was by the time I got there, the smallest size they had was a woman’s large…maybe it will shrink in the wash or something? Warmed up for a coupla miles…yeah I know it was really hot out but the legs needed to warm up! I ran along the race course for about a mile and back…was still about 90 degrees but being along the water just may help a little bit. Got back to the start area, met up with the brother and we hung around til it was time to line up…and as usual, no rhyme or reason. You don’t put out the pace signs AFTER people start lining up! Anyway, they told us to move back but you know not everyone obliges…but I did move back to the 7 minute pace sign to be fair (which actually wasnt too far back…and there was net timing anyways.) So it was 7 PM and everyone was dying to get going…waited for the pre-race speeches and the national anthem…finally at 7:10 we were off.
So Mile 1…run it hard but be conservative if need be. The usual, let the faster runners go, don’t get sucked in…and one of those runners who went by me was my brother, around a half-mile in. My heart said “Stay with him!” My head said “Run your own race…maybe you’ll catch him later!” Make the turn to go along the water…oh wait we’re running along a pier…this is new. Mile 1 and that’s at 7:16…and maybe I can maintain this…
Again, Mile 2 was a mental battle. Hit the pace…don’t let things slide. Oh hi leaders coming back the other way. Quite a few turns amongst more unfamiliar streets…but they got rid of the hairpin turn on 15th St!! I was strategically preparing for that one (since it always seems to mess with your speed unless you are on the outside) and thought this was a change for the better 🙂 Mile 2 was 7:23…hmmm still pretty good!! The thought crept into my mind, that maybe, just maybe, I could actually PR? Obviously I’d have to burn rubber on the last 1.1 miles, but I wasn’t falling apart just yet, so maybe I had a shot…
So I cranked it up a notch and was passing people who went out too fast…oh and who was one of those peeps that I passed early in this mile? Yes, everyone, I chicked my baby brother. I think I did say something encouraging as I passed but there became the new goal-stay ahead of him til I hit the finish!! I did make the mistake of looking at my watch during this mile…but guesstimated that I had around 5 minutes and change of running left…OK think of running a 1200 on the track…hung in there, kept repeating “fighter, fighter” to myself. I saw the turn to the finish up ahead and people who already made the turn finishing…as I approached the turn I could hear the announcer cheering for those “to get under 22 minutes”…so maybe by the time I got there it would be low 22’s (chip time)…oh boy this was gonna be CLOSE!
And in the end? 5 seconds short!! Wound up with 22:30, 7:15 pace…missing a PR by 5 seconds!! Last 1.1 miles done in 7:52 (7:09 pace)…so it definitely wasn’t due to lack of trying! But still…to be just off my PR by seconds in 90 degree heat…like whoa!! And to give you an idea of how competitive this race has gotten…this time got my 12th in my age groups (damn those 10-year groupings!) whereas 2-3 years ago, I would have been top 10, easily.
I stuck around near the finish to see my brother finish…he was over a minute back…went out too fast (he thinks his first mile was sub-7…really, really glad I didn’t stick with him!) and died in the last mile…ah rookie errors. Not that I’ve never done anything like that before 😛 Once he could speak full sentences again, we met up with a coupla of my friends and enjoyed some well-earned beers while sitting outside one of the local bars…yep, perfect nite for sitting outside and drinking. Running? Not so much 🙂
So I’m actually happy with my time, if anything I really didn’t feel like I gave it my all (well maybe except for the end) as I really don’t feel like I raced at all. But still, to put up a decent time in the heat (and MUCH better than last year’s fiasco!) and come so close to a PR…of course makes me wonder what could have been if it were 20 degrees (or so) cooler. Maybe I’ll find that out sooner than I think… 😉
And as for the sibling rivalry of sorts? No gloating from me. I’m satisfied just knowing how things played out. 🙂