it’s the end of the year as i know it

well…the NYRR racing year, that is.

So, today was the Joe Kleinerman 10K. A packed race (over 4000 runners) for 2 reasons…1-the final “club points” race of the season, so all the local teams have their ringers and everyone else out. and 2-the next to last marathon qualifying race of the year…and those who need to get in the last of their 9 races will be here.

and as usual, the beginning starts off like pretty much every race for me…jog to the baggage area, drop off my bag, see a teammate and chat with them while walking to the start line, see another coupla teammates while waiting for the start of the race. finally the race started, took me about a minute to cross the start line, and the first mile was very crowded, just like it was last year. but dumb me, i realized during mile 1 that my watch was on the wrong mode and didn’t start, so i figured i’d start it at the mile 1 marker and then get that mile split when i find out what my real net time was.

the actual race itself was pretty uneventful-i pretty much didn’t have it in me to race, and just kinda “tempoed” it. the hills were killing me, and got a sidestitch during miles 4 and 5 and almost had to walk near the end of Cat Hill, but hung in there. having the mp3 player kept me sane. finally after mile 5, i thought “the faster i run, the faster i finish” and picked it up. was tough to sprint when we neared the finish “chute” on east drive since it was so crowded, but as soon as we turned onto the transverse i had the room to sprint to the finish.

the vital stats-splits 8:35/8:26/8:01/8:32/8:38/8:10/1:41. net time 52:03, an 8:23 pace. i’ll take it.

the Flyer women came in 5th…nice way to cap off a great year, ladies. couldn’t be more proud to be your captain 🙂 i predict great things for you in ’06.

the baggage situation was dreadful. felt like i was waiting forever in line, and was freezing since my gloves, headband and jacket were in my bag. but finally got it and headed to…

the nyc bloggers brunch!! yep, in attendence were myself, Derek, Uptown Girl, Danny and Brooklyn. everyone was super nice and the brunch was super fun. lots of laughs and talking about our blogs and other stuff outside of that 🙂 definitely have to do this again, and hopefully meet more of the nyc bloggers too!!

so that concludes our 2005 racing season for yours truly. with winter coming up, i’m content to just kick back and base-build for awhile. maybe i’ll bring out the running shoes for a short club points race in february. but i’m really gonna try hard to stick to my “no over-racing” for ’06.

now playing: “no more drama (remix)” ~ mary j. blige

special delivery

mile 4 of the '05 Race to Deliver
Well today was the Race to Deliver 4-miler-my second race into my “comeback” of sorts. Nice cool day…in the 40s. Absolutely packed, not a surprise…I’d say there were probably at least 5000 people there. And as usual, run into some teammates before the race and line up with them (near the 8-minute marker this time.)

Based on my race a few weeks back, I figured an 8:15 pace-or 33 minutes-or faster was realistic. Also keeping in mind that even though this was shorter, the course was a little tougher, IMHO (Cat Hill is uphill this time, and I always struggle with the West Side hills in mile 3.) Terrain-wise, miles 1 and 3 are slow, 2 and 4 are fast.

So the gun goes off, and from where I was standing, took at least a minute to cross the start. start my mp3 player going and off I go. Mile 1 is up Cat Hill, ran it at what felt like a “tempo-ish” pace. Saw a coupla teammates behind me that I would normally beat when healthy-I tried to keep them in my sights. First mile is 7:57…hmmmmm. Did I go out too fast, or are the legs slowly coming back? Guess there is only one way to find out…

Mile 2-pretty much flat to the 102nd street transverse. Those teammates passed me during that mile-but I just tried to not let that psych me out. Just keep running. You’re doing fine. Saw some other Flyer teammates who weren’t running were at Engineer’s Gate and other scattered places on the course (some were being course marshalls) cheering for the runners. Thanks guys!! 🙂 2nd mile is 7:45-still pretty good…but the toughest part is yet to come.

Mile 3 has always, always been my downfall in these 4-mile races that start and end at 72nd. I don’t know why, but the roller coaster of hills inbetween west 102nd and west 86th always seem to get to me (the one exception being last year’s Race to Deliver-my splits then being 7:32/7:25/7:35/7:29.) Anyway, I had a good song on the mp3 player, just tried to maintain as much as possible but I could feel myself slowing. Rapidly. My mile 3 split was 8:25-yuck. But not surprising. With the exception of that one race, I always seem to lose 10-20 seconds there.

Mile 4-just get the job done. I was at 24:07 after 3 miles…which meant breaking an 8-minute pace for this race was very feasible. All I’d need was a 7:52 split and I’d have it. So I just powered down the downhill at the beginning of this mile and just tried to stay strong and keep it together. (picture was taken during this mile…i just look so happy then, don’t I?) We turned onto the 72nd street transverse…the finish is near the center of the transverse…I looked at my watch and knew it was going to be very, very close. (Last year I was trying to break 30 minutes…I swear 1 minute never went by as quickly as it did then…missed my goal by 2 seconds!!) Anyway, tried the best I could for a finishing kick…and finished up with a 7:49 mile-looks like I did it!!

Results not posted on the web yet-but according to my watch, I netted out with a 31:56, 7:59 pace.

Well-originally I thought I did pretty well, all things considering. I actually didn’t think I was capable of running sub-8’s right now but I surprised myself. However, it seemed that one of my teammates thought I should have been faster…so is how I did normal for someone recovering from injury, or not?? (since the Poland Spring 5-miler, I’ve only been doing 15mpw, 3 times a week, no runs longer than 6 miles, no speedwork, only started re-introducing Cat and Harlem Hills in the last 3 weeks. as per doctor’s orders-and i trust his judgement.)

But I guess even though I am a slow recover-er, I’m definitely getting there. I think the 2 things I need to work on most are pacing and hills. Lucky for me, my next goal race is a 10K and I’ve found that I can pace myself well in those. Hills-not sure I’m ready for any speedy stuff like hill repeats just yet, but just running the hills should be beneficial, no?

(and shout out to a few special guys…although i’m sure you’ll never read this, congrats on your PR’s in Philly. very, very well deserved.)

hello, comeback

I’m on my way back. I’m convinced of it.

Today was the Marathon Kickoff 5-miler in Central Park today. For those familiar with Central Park…this is on the easier of the 5-mile courses, starts at W 69th, then goes clockwise up the west side, across the 102nd Street transverse, down the east side (and down Cat Hill too!) and finishes at Tavern on the Green-same finish line as the NYC marathon. Anyway, I was sort of targetting this as a “comeback” race of sorts-with the NYRR schedule chock-full of marathon tune-up races and longer distances for the last coupla months, this was the first short race in awhile. I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect-over the last 2 months, I haven’t run more than 9 miles a week, but I just wanted to get back out there again-my first race since the disasterous Shea Stadium Run to Home Plate at the end of July-where I ran a personal worst for 5k.

So, the weather was perfect this morning-around 50 degrees, meaning shorts and team singlet weather for me. And just as I predicted, it was absolutely packed (probably between 5000-6000 peeps there!) I decided to line up “honestly” and lined up around the 8:30 pace marker. I was just gonna run how I feel. Had my mp3 player and playlist ready to go. Chatted with one of my teammates while waiting for the starting horn. Finally the starting horn went off…took me almost 2 minutes to get to the starting line from where I was lined up…then GAME ON!!

Mile 1-pretty much an incline up til west 86th street. And also I was dodging a lot of much slower runners/walkers who most likely lined up in the 5-6 minute area…why, oh why do they do that. Felt good, felt easy. First mile 8:31-right on pace.
Mile 2-dealt with the West Side hills for the beginning…down 1, up 1…then flat to the transverse. Tried to pick it up a little bit, running to the beat of the music 🙂 Still felt pretty good, but my mile split was 8:41-and that did not seem right for the effort I was putting in. The mile 2 marker I think should have been near the east side of the transverse and instead it was on East Drive (and a couple other runners mentioned that they thought it was off too.)
Mile 3 on this course is usually the most mentally challenging mile for me-as it’s pretty much uphill and at that point, the race is not half over yet…ya know. I will not give up!! Just kept going, and ran a 7:59 split for mile 3…pretty much confirming my suspicion about the mile markers, as that seemed a little fast, especially since I felt I was slowing a little.
Mile 4-ok, the worst is over, just hold pace and all will be well. And oh…I so need Cat Hill downhill right now!!! Lots of crowd support at the 72nd Street transverse-i shouted a breathless “thank you” to the people cheering. 4 down, one to go-with an 8:11 for mile 4. Looks like I am gonna exceed my goal of an 8:30 pace!!
Mile 5 was where me being out of shape kinda came into play…I really felt my lack of distance the last few weeks, as my legs really felt tired in this mile. Just keep going, keep going. You’re almost there. When I got to Columbus Circle I kinda knew I was home free…as the crowd support on this part of the course was great. I saw a coupla teammates who either finished this race earlier, or did the last 10 miles of the marathon run, cheering near the finish…seeing them was a great boost. The finish of this race was on an uphill, but I didn’t have it in me to sprint…just finish strong. And that I did-finishing with an 8:13 mile.

All in all-final time was 41:35, 8:19 pace.

Then afterwards I joined the Flyers for brunch at Blondies over on the west side…we had a pretty nice-sized crowd for brunch, between those who did the race or the last 10 miles run, and those who did neither and just wanted to socialize. And oh yeah…I met a certain other running blogger…heh heh.

So to analyze my race…

I’m very happy with how I did. I didn’t go out too fast as I’ve done in the past, and was rewarded with a pretty good negative split. My foot really didn’t bother me that much during the race-the only thing I felt was general fatigue in the last mile. And even though I haven’t done any runs longer than 5 miles since running again, I was still able to somehow “hang on” in the later miles. I was expecting an 8:30 pace at best, and exceeded that goal by about a minute. I’m still ahead of where I was when I started racing last April…meaning all is not lost and I can probably get back what I had with a little more mileage (and speedwork-but that’s further down the line.) Also, I realized I really missed being at the races, meaning I am not gonna over-race in ’06 and I mean it this time. That is partially what burned me out this year.

So, it feels good to be on the comeback road. And many thanks to everyone-be it bloggers, teammates, friends, or whoever else-who supported me and cheered me on as I tried to reclaim what I once was. Couldn’t have done it without your support!

now playing: “red alert” ~ basement jaxx