season finale

Some TV show season finales have a perfect story wrapped up in 1 hour or less.  Others are a cliffhanger.  Others…you don’t know the direction things are going.  If I’d compare my 2010 racing season to a TV show, and the Joe Kleinerman 10K to a TV season finale, I’d compare it to the last. 

Well in a way, this was a race of firsts.  First time I had to trek up to the NYRR offices to get my race bib.  Quite a change from the days when it was just a hop skip and jump across Central Park 🙂  Not to mention, the first time for a Central Park race that I’d have to travel there via subway.  Yeah, I had the 18-mile Tune-up back in September, but I had frontloaded by running up to the start.  Thankfully on race morning-I had no MTAfails…but I heard those on the east side weren’t so lucky as the 6 train didn’t behave as well as the A train did (just another reason why the west side is the best side…)  First time since February that I’ve had to bring out the tights for a race…30 degrees isn’t exactly shorts territory for me, even if I had the obnoxious pink socks 🙂  (I instead wore my LunaRacers to get the pink fix in.)  Oh and first time in awhile that I’ve used a normal watch instead of Mr. Garmin for the race-as Mr. Garmin’s buttons have been freezing up quite a bit in cold weather lately and I didn’t want to chance it happening during the race.

So I made it to the start in plenty of time (got off the subway a stop early and used running to the start from there as my warmup) and got into my red corral easily.  Yeah not sure what was up with that…as usually I’m yellow for points races/crowded races/stacked races.  And not only was it a points race with all the ringers, I knew it would be crowded…it had sold out a coupla weeks ago-probably since this is the last “9th race” that is relatively short and doesn’t cost $40 to run.  Other Flyers were in my corral and we chatted and tried to stay warm through the announcements (dear god they were piercingly loud, dont people know you don’t have to shout more than you need to on a loudspeaker?) and the national anthem and huddled together to try and stay warm.  The start seemed to have little fanfare…no “do we have clearance on the roadway” or anything else to make sure the roads were ready for us 🙂

And just like the start, my race had little fanfare….

I guess just from the first mile, I knew it wasn’t going to be my day.  Combination of the crowded start (see below) and my lack of hill training as of late…

down the first harlem hill...can you spot me?

By the 2nd mile, I knew any hope of a decent time (sub-50) was out, so pretty much just “tempoed” it, but this would still be slow for a tempo effort.  Oh, and those people in miles 5 and 6 shouting that I’m almost there can just shut it.  Dudes, I’ve run this loop millions of times, I know how far I have to go, and even 10 minutes left can seem like a long time.

my reaction to all those shouting "almost there!"

Even the last 1.2 miles, which I can usually pick up the pace on significantly…just felt flat.  Was happy to be done…50:27 on NYRR’s clock-yeah, that one second made such a difference 🙂

Anticlimactic.  I guess that’s the word to sum it up.  I mean yeah, I know I’ve been slacking since Chicago and it shows.  But I actually ran a better race right after being out for awhile due to the (sh)IT Band.  Maybe it’s a sign that I need to hang up the racing shoes for the remainder of 2010, and just concentrate on getting the base (and the hill training) back.

But on the other hand, I do have to give props to the Flyers women, our open, masters and vet teams had one of our best showings of the year, and our master blaster men (that one is for you, AP) did quite well too.  Congrats guys!!  I’m glad someone had a great season finale 🙂

too little? too soon?

yeah, once again it looks like i’ve become a once-a-week blogger.  blame the post-Chicago downtime…just seems like there isn’t much to report.

I did trek to the Hobe this past Saturday to run a Halloween-themed 5K.  That didn’t go too well but there were some…uh…interesting costumes.

This was my favorite:

And gotta love that Batman is on the lead bike.

This one, however, I (and others from what I overhead) had a little issue with…(sorry!)

Now I will say, I do appreciate the creativity. However, this may not have been the appropriate place to be wearing a costume that included golf clubs and taking them out/swinging them on the run. Yes, I know it was Halloween and people just wanted to have fun, but the fact that the race organizers were giving out age group awards (and I believe money to the overall winners as well?) meant that quite a few people were going to be racing this seriously.  I passed them by around the halfway point and I’d be lying if I said I was not relieved.  Knowing my luck, I would have gotten hit by one of their clubs…

And as for my race…

Wasn’t my best.  I was hoping for a decent performance, given that it was the first time in lord knows how long that it hasn’t been 70 degrees or more and humid for a race.   Mile 1 was definitely slower than I wanted.  I had a feeling mile 2 was short, as I NEVER speed up in mile 2 of a 5K.  Refused to look at my watch for the remainder…took a split at mile 3 (yay for the marker being there) but didn’t look at the watch…but saw the race clock in the 23’s…meh.  And the heart rate info shows that I was nowhere near where I should be for a 5K (average in the high 160s or the 170s, max in the 180s)

Wasn’t in a festive mood afterwards, but stuck around to watch the awards (one UA guy was third overall, another placed in his age group) then headed back into the city and stopped by the downtown UA store, where I helped give out candy to the kids who were trick or treating in the World Financial Center for a little bit 🙂

As for my race, I don’t know.  Not sure whether to chalk it up to not being recovered from the marathon yet.  As others who ran the same marathon I did were already back at it and running well (and even PRing!)  Not to mention all those running both Chicago and NYC…I can’t even fathom that.  Or those who run other long races a week or 2 after their marathon.  Am I the slowest recover-er on earth?  What’s normal when it comes to marathon recovery?  Honestly, I wasn’t expecting a PR, but I thought I could improve on the 22:48 that I ran at the end of the summer, if not match it.

And it almost makes me afraid to race…like I don’t want any more disappointment.

2010 chicago marathon: the redemption marathon

Finally!!  The long version of my Chicago Marathon report. 🙂  But before I get into it, I will define this race by one word, and no it’s not “hot” or “scorcher.”  Moreso-redemption.  Yep-redemption from last year’s DNF at the Marine Corp Marathon (which I will not link to again as I am sure you are all sick of reading that one 😛 )

So as I mentioned in a previous post, my entire trip from NYC to Chi-town from door-to-door went incredibly smooth, and I was taking it as a good sign.  And while I was at the expo not only did I literally kick mile 21’s butt and get a pic doing so, but I made a strategic decision for my race the next day.  I was going to latch onto the 3:40 pace group, and stick with them through at least the first few miles to ensure I don’t go out too fast, and to just gauge my effort.  As it turned out-was a great decision.

That evening, I had a great carbo-loading dinner with Lam and some of his Saucony teammates…and that was where he and I came up with a, well, amusing way to break the race into chunks.  You see, I was texting with a friend of mine who said to me “I can’t believe i’m saying this-but channel your inner Mo (Mariano Rivera)!” (cuz ya see, she’s a Mutts Mets fan.)  And Lam said something to me, that I should do that after mile 21.  So that was when I came up with the idea to break up the race into three “10-10-10” chunks…

  • First 10 miles-the “starter” (e.g. CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte) miles
  • Second 10 miles-the “setup man” (e.g., Joba Chamberlain) miles
  • Last 10K-the closer (e.g., Mariano Rivera) miles

Hey, whatever works, right? 🙂

Saturday was sleeping in (after being up early to catch my flight on Friday, I sure slept like a baby!), pancakes for brunch (another thing I need to have before a marathon), visiting the “Bean” at Millennium Park, cruising the Chicago River on the Architectual River Cruise Tour, and more carbo-loading, this time with the Flyers at Buca di Beppo.  (Let me also add that I ate there before some good races in San Francisco and Philly.  Nope, I’m not superstitious.)  Anyway, company was great, conversation was great (best topic of the nite-my theory as to why Ryan Hall withdrew from the race 😛 ), food was great (and surprisingly cheap too!) and we were done in plenty of time to get back to our respective hotels and get to bed early-and no I didn’t stay up to watch the Yanks clinch a ticket to the ALCS 🙂

Race morning!!  Got up around 5 AM and immediately started prepping…making and eating my bagel with White Chocolate Wonderful peanut butter, plugging my iPod into the clock-radio so I could listen to my marathon morning mix, stretching, lathering on the sunscreen, hydrating…put the race day outfit on which yes, included the hot pink compression socks…I felt the outfit had a “sassy runner meets roller girl” vibe to it 😛 Left my room a little after 6 which I felt was plenty of time to go grab my Starbucks coffee (Pikes Place with vanilla syrup) and drink on the way to the start.  As soon as I got to the staging area I got right in the porto-potty line…wasnt too bad a wait, maybe 5-10 minutes?  Just felt I better take care of things sooner rather than later…anyways headed to the seeded gear check (wasnt very clear-had to ask someone where it was) and checked my bag and headed to the start…and here is where the calmness of the morning leads to drama.

There is a mass of humanity near where the Seeded Corral entrance is.  Apparently it is a massive bottleneck with people checking bib numbers before we were even allowed past that “checkpoint” (unlike in NYC, where I believe they only check at the corral entrance-at least that was my experience last time I ran it)  So considering the corrals close at 7:15 and it’s getting close, needless to say me and others are getting quite nervous.  And of course it doesn’t make anyone feel much better that they see people from the open start getting turned away…I mean yeah, it was good they were getting turned away, but thats what is delaying things for the rest of us!!  Finally I got to the front of the line, my bib was checked and I was on my way, made a mad dash for Corral C only to find that the volunteer was not letting anyone in, that “they told us we have to close the gates at 7:15” and to go to the Open corral.  Oh hells no.  Like hell I’m going to the open start.  I EARNED my corral position.  And the corrals were probably only a quarter full at the time.  Well there was only one thing to do-climb the fence and there was actually someone helping me do that!  Not exactly the way I wanted to start my race, but I did what I had to do.  (My suggestion-either have more than one corral checkpoint to avoid this bottleneck or warn runners exactly how much time to allow for bibs to be checked-usually I err on the side of caution in terms of when to get to the start, but I was not expecting this.)

So I had around 15 minutes to calm myself down before it was time to start.  I kept moving up til I could see the 3:40 group, as per my plan.  I saw Flyer JT in the corral too and she had to go through the same craziness I did.  We wished each other luck and waited for the start.  And it seems the start went off with no real fanfare!  No horn or start cannon…no one saying anything like “Chicago awaits you…the world awaits you!”  Just the sounds of “Beautiful Day” by U2 and the only evidence that the race had started was that people were moving forward and that I could see the clock in the distance already with a coupla minutes on it.  I crossed just over 3 minutes in…hello Chicago!!

Miles 1-10: The “starting pitcher” miles

So thankfully, the first 2 miles were not a repeat of MCM.  🙂  Yeah, it was a little crowded, especially when turning corners but I was actually able to settle into my pace right away.  Loved running through the streets near Magnificent Mile and the Loop!  During mile 2 I could see up ahead a sign with a Flyer singlet on it…ah yes, YP, our paparazzi 🙂  It was kinda funny-once he spotted me he kept sprinting ahead so try and get more pics of me.  I saw RG from Urban cheering in mile 3…good to see another friendly face from NYC! 🙂

So as we made our way up LaSalle, I still had the 3:40s in my sights, and just felt very “locked in” to my pace (my first 2 5K splits were a second apart!) and kinda “zen” too 🙂  As for the conditions, I didn’t have a “OMG it’s so hot” feeling yet, but as a precautionary measure, I decided to take my first gel earlier than the 10K point, and throughout the course of the race, planned to take 5 gels instead of 4 (minimalist fueling be damned!)  And made sure to DRINK too!  Miles 5 and 6 brought Lincoln Park, like what my nail polish was named after 😛  Another UA teammate, NB caught up to me around the 10K point…wished each other luck as we kept going.  Out of the park…next fun memory I had was Boystown!!  Loved the energy there…the cheerleaders, the guys dancing to “Vogue,” the dance remix of “Eye of the Tiger.”

So just kept clicking off the miles towards downtown, still pretty steady… (oh and the sponge stations were fabulous!!)

Miles 11-20: The “setup man” miles

OK-before we crossed the bridge over the Chicago River to head back to The Loop, I saw one of the pizza places (forgot which one) and smelled chocolate chip cookies in the air…torture!!  (Guess tangerine flavored PowerGels weren’t cutting it.)  Oh and the bridges/overpasses need carpets on both sides, not just on the right!!  (The surface is kinda like the Willis Ave Bridge in NYCM.) 

So 20K and halfway brought seeing my fan club again…saw RG again and Flyer MT right before halfway, and YP with his next photo op right past halfway.  The halfway point for me was hit in 1:48:48, which I was pleased with-not too fast, and hopefully with a decent buffer, as I paced NYC pretty well given that was much harder in the second half.  Sure enough, 14 (with the fun “Charity Block Party”), 15 and 16 were still right on pace.  Honestly, 8:15s-8:20s felt like “crawling.”  Even though-by that time the Event Alert was raised from Green (Low) to Yellow (Moderate) before I even reached halfway.  Mile 17 seemed to be the first mile that was pretty unshaded, and I felt it…but just kept going.  That and 18 were a little slower…OK, I allowed for it, and I think I am still on pace for 3:40:xx or better.  I caught up to NB around the gel station in mile 18 and tried to encourage her to stay with me…she tried but fell back after a coupla minutes 😦

19 and 20 weren’t much better.  Tangents be damned, I was gonna try and run in the shade, whatever side of the street it may be.  Damn, I was really feeling the sun, those sponges may have felt good but it prolly rubbed off all my sunblock.  Did that sign by the bank really say 85 degrees (or somewhere in that ballpark?)  Maybe the temp wasn’t that high, but it had definitely risen and I was feeling it, especially with there being little shade.  Just keep going…

Miles 21-26.2: The “closer” miles

Mile 21.  The mile I needed to “take back.”  It wasn’t the quickest mile of the race, but getting through it was a huge relief.  Mile 22 was the very festive Chinatown…and boy did I stomp on that 35K mat, as I was glad to get a legit split today (and I’m sure others tracking me at home were relieved!!)  But not too long after 35K, I saw a coupla Flyers ahead of me…GW and NPT, who I believed were both shooting for sub-3:30.  I passed them both…that was not supposed to happen.  GW asked if I was on target and I said that I thought I may be a little off (I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was barely holding on to 3:40 at that point.)  I was still moving, but a lot of others were walking, or had even stopped.  I did not want that to be my fate, so I declared to myself to just stay in the shade whenever possible, keep taking liquids and under no circumstances will I walk.  Even though I didn’t walk through the fluid stations (I usually just “grab and go”) they did slow me down as I had to dodge people who stopped or were walking…but I did what I had to do to keep myself in the game, so to say.

The 3:40 pace group passed me for good at this point…the leader was trying to get me to go with them “come on, this is your day, this is your race!” but they were flying and my legs were not responding.  And considering I saw people with 3:30, 3:20 and even 3:10 pace bibs around me, there were others in that same boat, if not worse.  23 and 24 felt like survival mode…especially 24.  Can we make the turn up Michigan yet?  Oh thank god there it is.  Oh cool there’s the Nike Powersong zone at the mile 24 point…WTF is the “Powersong” they are playing?  Where is my Taio Cruz?  I want to hear some “Dynamite”!

So as I felt pretty much in the homestretch at this point, I tried as hard as possible to pick it up.  After all, these last 2.2 miles were also for my late uncle…I never got to “his” miles last year and I was gonna make up for it this time.  And he was gonna inspire me like he did in the last 2.2 miles of NYCM 2008.  I was gonna be a fighter, as he was…

So the following is the chatter in my head in the final miles…

This is the second person today that I had to say “shut up” to when they said “almost there.”  8 miles to go is NOT “almost there” and neither is 2 and change.  Stop looking at the numbered street signs.  What is this, Ocean Parkway?  Are those people giving out Jello shots over there?  hmmm wonder if that would help…OK focus.  40K!  Next split mat you’ll be crossing will be the finish line.  Mile 25!  One mile to go!!  I don’t care if there is only one mile left, i’m still taking a drink, as I don’t want to take any chances…i want to finish under my own power.  My legs are hot…WTF was I thinking with the compression socks?  OK, looks like 3:40 is out but I’m right on track for my “B” goal…a shiny new PR.  800 meters to go and I got this!  Turn onto Roosevelt…so that’s the infamous hill.  Obviously not welcome at this point, but still helluva lot better than the Tavern Hill. At the top, left turn to the finish…OMG I can see it!!  Oh shit, a sidestitch…why now? It hurts.  Breathe.  breathe.  Now I’m actually “almost there.”  200m to go…100m to go…almost…there…finito!!!

I crossed the finish line and the demons from MCM were gone.  Revenge, redemption, whatever it is I wanted to get on the marathon distance, I got it.  And what else did I get?  Not only a PR-but a BQ for 2012!!  (ok everyone who said I was gonna qualify was right…just didn’t specify what year! 😛 )

The stats:

Finish time: 3:43:06 (8:30 pace)-PR by 1:08
Half-marathon splits 1:48:48/1:54:18…a 5:30 positive split-ouch.
Overall Place: 4812/35809 (13.4%)
Gender (Female) Place: 979/16013 (6.1%)
Age Group (F30-34) Place: 214/3071 (7%)

Mile Split time Cumulative Time Cumulative Pace
1 8:13 8:13 8:13
2 8:29 16:42 8:21
3 8:18 25:01 8:20
4 8:10 33:11 8:18
5 8:18 41:30 8:18
6 8:25 49:55 8:19
7 8:12 58:08 8:18
8 8:24 1:06:32 8:19
9 8:13 1:14:45 8:18
10 8:11 1:22:57 8:18
11 8:22 1:31:19 8:18
12 8:19 1:39:39 8:18
13 8:17 1:47:56 8:18
14 8:18 1:56:15 8:18
15 8:22 2:04:38 8:19
16 8:23 2:13:01 8:19
17 8:37 2:21:39 8:20
18 8:31 2:30:11 8:21
19 8:30 2:38:41 8:21
20 8:45 2:47:27 8:22
21 8:52 2:56:20 8:24
22 8:45 3:05:05 8:25
23 9:01 3:14:07 8:26
24 9:27 3:23:34 8:29
25 8:59 3:32:33 8:30
26 8:48 3:41:22 8:31
26.2 1:44
(7:55 pace)
3:43:06 8:30

So just past the finish I was all too happy to stop running!!  I was given a “heat sheet” (ha, like I needed more heat at this point!) and a medal which I was more than happy to wear!! 🙂  Seemed like we had to walk a bit for any type of liquid refreshment…water, water!!  Finally there were cups of water and Gatorade…both were warm but later on was an ice-cold Gatorade “recovery beverage” (others said it was too sweet but I actually liked it) and BEER!!!!  That ice-cold Goose Island ale went down so well at that point…

Got my bag pretty quickly, checked my CrackBerry and updated Facebook with my result…and saw Flyers JJ (who also ran a PR!) and SH sitting in the shade so I joined them.  That heat sheet was good for one thing-protecting my butt from the grass 🙂  I tried to take my socks off…big mistake, those things were tight and my calf immediately cramped up.  Had to massage it out and just roll the socks down and wait to take them off.  Though I did bring one thing in my bag that came in very handy-a travel size Stick.  JJ and SH got up to get more beer and I chatted with another runner next to me until Flyer JB joined me for a little bit.  We both noticed that the event alert had been raised to Red/High.  Oh boy…if conditions were bad around the time 3:40-3:45ers had finished, I can only imagine what it was like for those who were out there much longer-my heart went out to you all.

So after I felt adequately stretched out, I walked over to the post-race party…specifically the Goose Island tent where I redeemed my beer coupon and met up with Lam-who had just broken 3 hours by the skin of his teeth…very proud of him!!  Okay, maybe it wasn’t a great day to run, but was a great day to sip some beer outside 😛  But I left to get cleaned up after that one…as I had some eating, drinking, and celebrating to do!!  First, a burger and fries and several Blue Moons with the Flyers where we all exchanged our war stories.  After a short break, I went to another party, where quite a few UA’ers were in attendance and had some more Blue Moons (I’m quite impressed with my endurance there!)  And the following day before my flight to NYC, I had to treat myself to some Chicago pizza…a yummy deep-dish at Gino’s East (anyone remember Amazing Race 6, where the final task for the final 3 teams was to eat a pizza there? 🙂 )  Before I knew it, I was heading to O’Hare on my way back to NYC…the weekend just seemed to fly by.  Did I really just run a marathon a day earlier?

I’ll probably go into more detail in another post but I will say that even though I did not get a 3:40 BQ, I am still proud of my race.  Knowing how badly heat affects me, who knew if a PR would have even been possible, so the fact that I was still able to pull it together at the end says a lot.  Did I go out too fast?  I honestly don’t think so…as I said before, it felt comfortable, like I was really holding back and I’d love to get another shot at this course under better conditions.  Yeah, I’ll be back.  I had a great time in Chicago this weekend…great city, much more positive experience than DC last year 🙂

So thanks, Chicago.  You were definitely my kind of town this weekend.

2010 chicago marathon: the short version

Oh yes, it heated up…however this was how it played out:

3:43:06 (8:30 pace)…PR by 1:08

not a BQ for 2011…but hello Boston 2012!

The tale of the splits…I will elaborate more in a longer report, but I felt I did run a smart race given the conditions…minimized the carnage and got my B goal!

Split time diff min/mile(per 5k split)
5K 25:52 25:52 8:20
10K 51:43 25:51 8:20
15K 1:17:23 25:40 8:16
20K 1:43:11 25:48 8:19
HALF 1:48:48 5:37 8:16
25K 2:09:10 20:22 8:24
30K 2:35:38 26:28 8:31
35K 3:02:58 27:20 8:48
40K 3:31:17 28:19 9:07
Finish 3:43:06 11:49 8:40

More to come once I get back to NYC!!  But rest assured, I’m very happy with this one. Back to celebrating 🙂

so hot will melt your popsicle

This post title has been brought to you by Katy Perry and Snoop Dogg…

Soooo I have been talking about my “Chicago costume” for awhile and well without further ado here it is:

Or here it is on me (probably the only one I will have as no running pics of me today…)

So I have decided for Chi-town that in lieu of the “club uniform”, I’d like to wear something fun…the top and the socks started it off, just needed to top it off with the black shorts and arm warmers (the latter only if necessary)  And believe me, the outfit did get noticed, especially the hot pink socks…as Katy says in her song “so hot will melt your popsicle” 🙂

So after this tough training week, I tried to put it behind me and start fresh today…the dawning of a new day so to say.  Today was the NYCM 18-mile Tune-Up…which I think is a good race when you don’t actually “race” it.  I dunno, I just think that 18 miles is a bit much to race all-out.  But take the intensity back a step and it’s a good atmosphere for a race-day dress rehearsal.  Today the plan was to run 3 miles up to the start (probably more reliable than taking the subway) and then for the “race” itself, to take the first 2 laps easy and the 3rd at MP or faster.  Coach JM said the other day that if I can hit MP that late in the race, especially in hilly Central Park that it’s a good sign…we shall see!

Ah, gotta love the city streets at 6 AM…no traffic!!  Ran the 3 miles from midtown up to the start area (kinda strange running past my old neighborhood!), chucked my bag and barely had enough time to wait on line for the porta-potties before getting to the corrals-and I ran into Peter in our corral and chatted for a few minutes, including reminscing about the infamous 2007 Queens Half.  (Yes, yesterday was Yom Kippur but I was a bad Jew and didn’t fast.  I did go without caffeine all day…little something counts?)  So anyway, it’s 7 AM, we’re waiting for clearance on the roadway and after asking more than once looks like we finally got it and could sound the starting horn.

So I just let whoever pass me, just tried to stay relaxed for 12 miles…kept an eye on the heart rate to make sure it stayed in the easy zone.  At around mile 2, ML from Urban caught up to me and we ran together for about a mile, when Flyer EG caught up to me and said “Good choice!”-referring to me going without an iPod…yeah, last nite I pondered on my Facebook status whether or not to use the iPod today…those who said to leave it at home won out 🙂  Anyway, here ML went ahead (which was just as well, he’s faster than me anyways) and EG and I ran together for the rest of the loop, til she went ahead (her strategy was to run the first and third loops easy, second loop hard, so I figured I’d catch up to her on the next loop.  I finished the first loop in a little over 53 minutes…so something like 8:50-8:55 pace?  Was still feeling comfortable, so my goal for the next loop was to just maintain it.

So starts lap 2.  I took my gel during mile 7 (and I took another one during mile 13-I’m sure the race nutrition police would arrest me, tee hee 😛 )…and even though it was relatively cool (65 degrees), the humidity was high and was very sunny, so I made sure to hydrate at least every other mile, if not more…Gatorade at the table near miles 4, 10 and 16.  (though apparently I made a faux pas around mile 4 by putting my hand up and edging left to the table…as some guy wasn’t happy.  Um, isn’t putting the hand up the etiquette to signal that you are moving over?)  So around mile 9, the halfway point, I saw my time was 1:19 and change…hmmm my PR in this race is 2:38 and change.  (though I’m sure I have at least one 18-mile split, if not two in a marathon thats faster.)  Did begin to ponder a new PR for a few seconds.  But decided that I must stick to the race execution plan, and finish this loop at the same effort.  The total time is not important, hitting MP on the 3rd loop is, so no need to tire myself out now.  If I wound up with a PR in the process, that’s great.

So passed by the start/finish (only lapped by 6 people this year…not bad!) which marked 2 loops down so was time to get to work.  Figured between 8:15-8:20 would be a good average to shoot for (in the UA classes, they’ve been using 8:15 as my MP.)  The first couple were a little on the slower side, which included Harlem Hill and a water table (I swear, having to slow for those who stop at those tables are gonna be the death of me) but the next 2 miles were pretty much on track.  Mile 17 was slower than I would have liked…included Cat Hill and for whatever reason, my legs were not happy about climbing it for a 3rd time.  But I was still passing people there, as I was during the rest of that loop…The last mile I picked up the pace since I was so ready to be done!   Saw GA and HM from Urban cheering at Engineer’s Gate and I gave them a little thumbs up, like “I got this.”  Finally, the finish was in sight…was great to see the “finishing lane” right before 102nd.  Though I was actually moving faster than some of those in the finishing lane…I had to stay in the “passing lane” (which consisted of those that still had one more loop to go) just to be able to keep pace.  But eventually I edged over to the left, saw Flyers SD and EF cheering, made the left turn onto 102nd to the finish and actually heard my name being called (and thankfully not butchered…hehe.)  Ahhh…so glad to be done.  21 total miles for the day-check!!

Final time was 2:35:38, 8:38 overall pace…PR of 2:47 from my 2006 time!  By the numbers:

1st loop
53:03 (8:51 pace)

2nd loop
52:58 (8:50 pace)

3rd loop
49:28 (8:15 pace)

Mile Time Mile Time Mile Time
1 9:01 7 9:04 13 8:19
2 8:53 8 8:52 14 8:27
3 8:48 9 8:36 15 8:07
4 8:46 10 8:43 16 8:15
5 8:55 11 8:57 17 8:36
6 8:40 12 8:46 18 7:44

Bottom line-I needed this one big time.  As long as I take good care of my legs over the next few weeks, ice, stretch, whatever…and make it to the start line uninjured hopefully things will go well?  Well as long as the weather gods behave (praying for overcast skies on 10-10-10!)  And the “costume”?  Gets an A+ and is so being worn on marathon day.  Obnoxious hot pink compression socks FTW!!

And as I said earlier on Facebook…taper starts.  NOW.

can i taper yet? (new haven 20k race report)

Ugh.  The New Haven 20K yesterday was quite the task for my tired marathon-training legs!  First off whoever said this course was flat and fast LIED!!  As this is the elevation graph from Mr. Garmin:

Why yes, those are hills you see.  If anything, I’d describe this more as a “rolling” course than a flat course…

So anyway, my day began way.too.early.  Wake-up call at 4:30 AM.  Make coffee and put in thermos and make my bagel to eat on the train.  Out the door a little after 5.  Desperately searching for a cab on duty to take me to Grand Central.  I think this may have been the earliest I have ever been en route to a race…yep there were still people out after their night at the bars.  Thankfully an off-duty cab decided to stop for me and take me crosstown.  Hit up the 5:35 train outta town.  Just relaxed, ate, drank and listened to music.  Got off the train a town away from New Haven where TB (aka the other half of the Dynamic Duo) lived…thankfully she had gotten my race stuff so I didn’t have to worry about that-all we had to do was drive there (nice to have the car as our personal baggage check!), jog over to the start area, make any last-minute preps and line up (arrrghhh no pace markers!) and wait for the starting gun (yes, there actually was a gun!)

So you can guess what mile 1 was like for me…arrrggh frustrating!!  For god’s sake, this is a national championship race, there oughta be better lineup control at the start!  The first mile was definitely slower than I wanted, but the next 3 seemed to go much better.  Oh and in these early miles, there were 2 women just yapping away.  I don’t know if I was more annoyed by the yapping or the fact that I was actually working at this pace and it definitely was not conversational for me!!  The course was very pretty and the town really got into it-between cheering and working the water tables.  However, even though the weather was relatively cool, it was very sunny and I felt it affecting me as there was not enough shade.  I actually took fluids more often than I normally would in a half.  So I hit 10K just under 49 minutes and hoped to be able to run the 2nd half stronger…

…which didn’t happen.  Miles 7 and 8 were barely under 8, with 9 and 10 being slogs.  I think there was some hilliness in those 2 miles, and a few others thought that Mile 10 was long but I was starting to really feel tired…moreso the effects of marathon training and not a full taper-the legs just couldn’t seem to turn over.  I was barely under 1:20 at mile 10 and I knew I had to get to it if I wanted to at least finish under 8 minute pace.  Miles 11 and 12 accomplished that, and that last .4 mile…I swear that stretch seemed to last forever!!  But finally there’s the finish line, and the announcer was saying racers’ names as they crossed the finish line (my name got totally butchered tho!!  I guess thats one thing that NYRR has on the rest of the world…lol)

Final time 1:38:51, 7:58 pace (10K splits 48:53/49:58-ouch!)  Splits:

(another thing-some of the mile signs were off of where the mile markers were painted on the road so I know a couple of my splits were short…)

I grabbed 2 bottles of water afterwards and downed them in record time, I needed it.  TB and I found each other and we hit up the finish festival and boy what a spread it was!!  Fruit, ice cream, hot dogs, BEER!!  And a loaf of ciabatta bread too…thats something you never see…lol!  Of course, I had 2 cups of beer…I was “dehydrated”!  TB and I just chilled out and watched the awards ceremony-was a beautiful day to hang outside, maybe not to run a race tho 🙂  After the awards, chilled out at TB’s CT pad for a little bit before I headed to the Metro-North to go home sweet home (and get a much-needed nap!)

So, my race.  Yeah, I know I could have done better.  I didn’t feel as strong as I did in the Brooklyn Half (and the splits reflected that-as I was able to negative split Brooklyn.)

On the other hand:

  • Well, this *was* an automatic PR as I never ran a 20K race before.  (My fastest recorded 20K split in a race was 1:41:01 in that disaster of a race known as MCM.  There were no 20K mats at the Philly Distance Run, so I’d guesstimate my 20K split then was 1:32-1:33 and change?)
  • Looking at the heart rate data, the numbers seemed kinda low, moreso than normal for a long race-average 158, max 171.  Compared to some other races: Brooklyn Half 2010-avg 166 max 179, Cherry Blossom 10 miler-avg 165 max 178, Philly Distance Run 2008-avg 166 max 182.  So I am interpreting that to mean if my legs were more rested, then the results would be more in line with what I would have been hoping for…
  • And just like Cherry Blossom last year…if sub-8 pace is a “bad day” for me I guess it’s not that bad (funny, quite a bit about this race reminded me of Cherry Blossom…the uber-sunny conditions, the way my legs felt…)
  • And I don’t think 4:30 am wake-up calls and 2 hour train rides are condusive to a good race performance…just seemed to throw off the routine a bit.

So as the post title says-can I taper yet?  Yeah I know…2 weeks away.  But I am hopeful that with a taper things could maybe go my way because…McMillan sez:

actually, I sorta prefer the RunWorks/Jack Daniels prediction of 3:37-but how funny was this? 🙂

my “farewell, UWS” 5k

almost feel like an elite of sorts with a low bib # 🙂 almost.

So it’s only fitting, right?  My last race as an Upper West Sider actually taking place on the Upper West Side…Riverside Park, to be exact!!  So yeah, I was definitely looking forward to the 2nd edition of the Sunset and Suds 5K.  First off-many thanks to Urban Athletics and the New York Harriers for putting this race on again!  I had a great time last year and was just looking forward to a fun night this year.  Basically, I was “training through” this race, not tapered or anything and pretty much just looked at it as the opportunity to get a hard run in, and then enjoy the post-party with friends on a nice evening-and I can say the event lived up to the expectations.

Oh and can I just say I loved having a bib that had a single-digit number on it?  Never mind that was because I registered early, not because of my speed (or lack of it.)  I’m taking it, and that bib is definitely getting saved 🙂

So as I wanted to pad my mileage a little for the evening (plus get my legs warmed up enough so that they can run fast from the start) I ran about 2.5 miles in Riverside Park and got to the race area with enough time to drop off my bag, say hi to a few peeps, stretch a little and then head to the start line-ahhh no need for corrals or to elbow for position!  Was actually pretty laid back.  Coach JM made a few announcements to the racers, and pretty soon we were off!!

So went out hard, but not too crazy hard…didn’t want to make the same mistake I made last year and leave it all in the first mile.  Was mostly flat, but there was a hill near the turnaround in this mile…hmmm I didn’t remember this last year!  I think we turned around before then…there’s the .3 miles that was missing from last year’s race.  Anyway, approaching mile 1, I really had no concept of my pace as I wasn’t looking at my watch during the mile…for all I know I could have been sub-7, or I could have been 7:40!!  Well as it turned out-7:14…which I felt got me off to a good start.

So I tried to keep that momentum up in the 2nd mile.  However, my momentum was thrown by…you guessed it…a biker.  Yep, a biker was trying to cross the race course and unfortunately there wasn’t any race marshalls right there directing traffic.  And of course because I seem to have a sign on me that says “bikers, come hit me” of course he rode right in my direction and I had to swerve to avoid it…which made me lose a few seconds there and seemed to break my rhythm for that mile (well that and the 2nd hill of the course.)  Mile 2 was 7:29…arrrgghhh.

Once again, I found myself in “survival mode” for mile 3, meaning just try and hold on and not get any slower, suck it up for 1 more mile or so.  Taking that hill that we did in mile 1 for the 2nd time was a bitch, but after that I knew the worst was over and that it was just a straightaway to the finish.  I tried to use that to my advantage to pick up the pace…I tried to think back to those 1200s I did the week before, if I could push that hard then, no reason why I can’t do it now!  I was passing a coupla people and gaining on others so I guess it worked.

As I was approaching the mile 3 marker (7:27-I took a split but didn’t look at the watch til after) I heard the people who were calling out the cumulative time saying “22:xx”…so I know I was really gonna have to burn rubber for that last .1 mile in order to get under 23 minutes.  (yeah, I guess that was the loose time goal for the night)  So I kicked it into overdrive…and a guy who was ahead of me even let me pass him and encouraged me to finish strong…wow, you never see that!!  The last .1 took 38 seconds…wowza!!  Final time 22:48, 7:21 pace.

Hard work is done, time for fun!!  We got our commemorative pint glasses as we crossed the finish, and I wasted no time in heading to the lower level of the Hudson Beach Cafe to fill that baby up with free “suds” 🙂  I hung out downstairs and mingled a bit (met the owner of nycruns.com!)  After getting beer #2, me and a few UA peeps headed upstairs to get some food and chill out and just enjoy the evening.  All in all, it was a nice night, an approprate way to say “farewell, UWS.”

And as for the race, I felt the organizers did a great job and actually did improve on things from last year-as the course was accurately measured and there was post-race beer flowing for hours (I was able to get a 3rd and 4th refill!)  Only thing I wish was that there were more course marshalls to keep traffic off the course, but I know that may be a manpower issue and possibly there may not have been enough volunteers (hell, even in NYRR races with their scores of volunteers they cant even keep traffic off the race course sometimes-like at Club Champs a few weeks back) 

And for once, I am not bitching about my race 😛  Like I said before, I wasn’t tapered or anything and I wasn’t going into this as a goal race or anything like that.  Only thing I wish had been different was mile 2 but that was something out of my control.  I do feel my pacing in short races needs work…like I have way too much left in the tank at the end (in this case, the last .1 mile)  But that’s not on the short list right now…you all know what is 🙂

And I’m looking forward to the 3rd edition of the Sunset and Suds 5K next year 😉