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 🙂

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powered by blueberries

I’m sure you are wondering about the title, and what it has to do with my race report for the Joe Kleinerman 10K. Would any of you ever predict that 3 pints of Blue Point Blueberry Ale the night before a race-not to mention a crappy night’s sleep…could lead to a PR? Hey, stranger things have happened…

So yeah, to make a long story short about my pre-race prep…fellow blogger BrunetteChicagoGal was in town for the weekend, so a bunch of us met up at the Ginger Man to, uh, carbo-load…yeah that’s it. And that was where I consumed abovementioned pints of beer (and one of them was bought for me from a guy who was chatting me up…but doesn’t even live in NY, just here for the weekend, so that was that. Plus the guy was in his 40s and he thought i was in my 20s!! Man…make it stop!!) It was tough to cut myself off after 3-they were quite tasty-but I did. And I made sure water was consumed, and even got in some real carboloading (pasta) when I got home. But all in all, fun evening, was great to see BCG again.

I tried to sleep, but woke up around 3 am for no reason, and couldn’t fall back to sleep til about 5 am…don’t know why that was!! (It’s not like it was marathon morning or anything.) So of course the alarm going off was not welcome, but I had to promise myself I could nap later…and got up, did the usual pre-race routine, and headed out the door.

all smiles before the start Tried to time it perfectly to warm up for a mile, drop off my stuff at baggage (when I realized I forgot to put on my lucky Livestrong bracelet…doh!), and get to the corrals early enough. There was some good music playing on the loudspeaker, which put me in a good mood. Actually didn’t see too many Flyers around. I knew some of them were in Vegas for the weekend doing the marathon or the half, but still…little surprising. I did see Flyer BC on the sidelines (where he snapped the picture before the start)…he told me where to look for him on the course. So between him and Crazy Bandanahead, I knew to expect some friendly faces. When waiting for the starting horn, I could tell people were thinking “enough with the speeches, it’s cold, we want to get going.” And we did…

no smiles now...game face on, this is business!!  and this was only mile 2...Mile 1 (7:49)-Once we cleared the start line, the logjam opened up nicely. I tried to run hard but conservative…taking full advantage of the downhill east side Harlem hill, but to save something for the uphill on the west side, not to mention all the other hills waiting for me!! I was expecting this mile to be around 8 minutes, so I was pleased with the mile split. Or did I go out too fast? Or was this just a result of less congestion due to the corrals (as opposed to 2004, where I had to do a lot of dodging and weaving in the first mile.)

Mile 2 (7:43)-Through the west side hills I go. BC was on the sidelines, with camera in hand, and got another pic of me. One of our speedy masters women, CB, passed by in this mile and said “good job” to me…not knowing how far behind me she was lined up, I figured if I could keep her in my sights for the time being it may be a good day 🙂 With one more uphill to go, hit the mile 2 marker…not bad, not bad. As long as I don’t fall apart, under 50 minutes may be possible…

Mile 3 (7:31)-The long, sloping downhills were very welcome in this mile, my legs needed a little bit of a break from the climbing. When I hit the mile 3 marker, I saw my cumulative time was 23:03…and a little quick math told me that I was exactly on PR pace at this point, and all I’d need to do for the remainder of the race is to stay under 7:40s. I have negative split this course a couple of times before, could I do it today? I’m gonna go for it…

Mile 4 (7:36)-Down the hill by Tavern and around the bottom of the park. This was the beginning of what I thought were the 2 toughest miles, yes even more so than Harlem Hill…because you are tired by this time. What I tried to do is look for people to pace off of. I noticed a GNY woman and a Hellgate woman who were pretty much running near me the entire way so far. So I tried to-at the very least-keep them in my sights. And it kept me going, was still on target.

Mile 5 (7:39)-Time to prep for Cat Hill. Crazy Bandanahead was on the sidelines taking pictures-he tried to get one of me but some idiot jumped in front of me and blocked the shot. dumbass. (not you, bandanahead!) Finally, the hill. Just get it done. Don’t sprint up it, go nice and steady, focus on form, etc…and I reached the top of the hill before I knew it and the legs were actually still feeling good. But the burning question…Cat Hill always does some type of damage to the mile split, how much damage is it going to be this time? The answer-not much damage at all!!

Mile 6 (7:19)-Well, the advantage of not tiring myself out on Cat Hill was that I was able to pick it up for the last 1.2 miles…and my cumulative time at 5 miles (38:18) was just under PR pace…so I knew I had it, the question now was how far under can I go? So time to pick up the pace and give it all I got. Flyer GW was at Engineer’s Gate ringing a cowbell and shouting words of encouragement. Reached the north end of the reservoir around 96th street…and with the downhill coming up, picked it up even more. BC was taking pictures again, but no smiles for me…was all business today!! And the mile 6 marker was a beautiful sight.

Last .2 (1:29)-My finishing kick has never been my strength, but it has been something that I have been trying to work on. During the last .2 miles, I thought of Wednesday’s workout and how I floored the last repeat…just go all out for a minute and change, you can rest later!! And so I did-and this was the fastest I have ever done that last point-two in a 10K!!

And goodbye to yet another old (4-year-old) PR! Final time was 47:06, 7:35 pace-a PR of 32 seconds. Oh yeah!! I was ridiculously overdue for a decent 10K time…I have not run under 50 minutes since the 2006 Mini 10K and the 10K split in the Philly Distance Run was my 2nd best 10K time ever!! I just knew I had to run one where it wasn’t an inferno, and I’m actually in shape and not still recovering from something…so guess this one was perfect timing!!

After crossing the finish, the woman from Hellgate congratulated me and thanked me for being her “rabbit” of sorts in the race…and I did the same. 🙂 And turns out she is a reader of my blog!! (If you’re reading now-thanks again!!)

Made a mad dash for baggage, needed my jacket and gloves and headwrap-while I was fine during the race, now that I wasn’t moving it was getting C-O-L-D!! Saw Johnny and asked him if he beat his “zero one” today…and indeed he did!! Runner26 and jb24 were also around, having run this together as a “fun run.” Chatted amongst ourselves and with other teammates until we decided we had enough of the cold and had to get indoors (and for me, to a local Starbucks for a gingersnap latte.) So our separate ways we went…

Well, I’m damn happy to have yet another distance monkey off my back, and very happy with the execution too-especially considering my longest run since the marathon has only been 8 miles. I really prefer the 10K courses that start in the north end of the park and go counterclockwise-you get the toughest hills out of the way in the beginning and the finish isn’t uphill-unlike the ones that go clockwise and start/end at Tavern on the Green…where you get the Harlem hills in the middle of the race wheren you’re tired and the uphill to Tavern robs you of any finishing kick. (For what it’s worth, this course was my previous PR, 4 years ago.)

And-another nice surprise…I scored 5th for the Flyer women!! This is big, I never score in club points races, as they usually bring out the faster runners. I guess some of our speedier women were sitting this one out…but who cares, I’m taking it, cuz I don’t know if it will happen again!! 😀

And the next burning question…Saturday…will the 4-mile PR go down-even if only by 2 seconds? (And will I need to find the beer I drank last night and drink it the night before every race? 🙂 ) Stay tuned…

clarity, or something like that

what a difference a year made for the Joe Kleinerman 10K…last year, i was under so much stress that I couldn’t think, see or breathe straight…meaning many walk breaks. this year, thanks to a nice Flyers holiday party, a couple of tough things taken care of, a fun Toys for Tots run with the Flyers the day before, I definitely was able to think more clearly.

As I had mentioned before, I was really not expecting much here, considering the projected crowds between the next-to-last marathon qualifier and last club points race of the year. The weather was nice and it looked like a good day for running. I jogged a mile to the baggage area to warm up and saw Runner26 and Flyer JT, so we headed over to the start area together…and were joined by Crazy Bandana-head-and he actually lined up with the 3 of us instead of the local elite area where he belonged 🙂 I saw camera in hand though, so guess this was just a fun run for him :-p So we were off…and the 4 of us actually started out together…that woulda made a cute picture. The mile-by-mile lowdown…

mile 3 by the rez-thanks for the pic, crazy bandana-head!8:38-this split did not surprise me, due to Harlem Hill, but moreso how crowded it was…it didn’t really start opening up til mile 3. After this mile, I made it my goal-make sure this is my slowest split of the day.
8:12-west side hills…little better, but still crowded. Saw Flyer BC taking pictures just past 102nd street, and spotted Flyers DG and LG on running on the bridle path and cheering.
7:58-downhill mile! Uptown Girl was cheering near the reservoir…but not sure if she saw me, as who was right by me? Crazy Bandana!! Boy he really must have been taking this one the last mile!easy…
8:13-around the bottom of the park…kinda uneventful. Saw a couple of Flyers running in the opposite direction
8:21-Cat Hill. Tried to take shorter strides, to not tire myself out on this hill…I was keeping position and even passing people, so I guess it worked. Dr. Evil passed me and tried to scare me but his evil tactics didn’t work this time. :-p
7:43-My plan was to try and run steady, then pick it up for the last 1.2…I guess it worked!! Saw Uptown Girl and JS cheering near the reservoir again, and BC taking more pictures (including this action shot) But dammit, a sidestich snuck up on me again…tried to breathe deep and ignore it…
1:35-sidestich still there, but figured I’d gut it out. The chute was narrow and crowded, but tried to push as hard as I could. Flyers JB and JA were cheering right before the last turn to the finish, which gave me a nice boost to kick it in!

Final time-50:40, 8:10 pace. Can’t really tell since there was not an official 5K split, but looks like I may have run negative splits. And actually, I was a little surprised to see a time still in the 50s, I actually thought it was going to take 10 minutes to do the last 1.2 miles…guess no one is good at math 5 miles into a race. :-p

Hung around for a bit after the finish, chatted with other Flyers…but dammit, no Krispy Kremes!! I thought this was tradition for this race 😦 Did an easy coupla cooldown miles up/down CPW to give me 10 miles for the day (leaving me less than a mile shy of 30 miles for the week)

So, this was a good workout…yep, workout, not race. I have honestly come to the conclusion that when you are not in the 74% AG group-you really can’t expect to run your best in these ridiculously crowded races. So, I think the plan for next year will be as follows…use the NYRR races to get my 9 qualifiers in/support the team for points races/do long runs-but if I am chasing a time goal-look outside NYRR (with the exception of races like the Mini 10K and Club Champs, where I can get a clean start.) Again-any suggestions for good (local) non-NYRR races are welcome!!

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