overdue race report #2-join the voices 5-miler

Back with another overdue race report!!  (Oh yeah, hope everyone enjoyed their holidays.)

So the Join the Voices 5-miler was the 2nd race in my hopeful year-ending trifecta.  In addition, this was the last team points race of the year.  But not the same as in previous years, you see usually the Joe Kleinerman 10K would be the last points race of the year.  But that was switched with the Fred Lebow 5-miler which was usually held in January.  Little sad about the break from tradition…and additionally, I would have preferred to race a 10K than a 5-miler (my 10K PR is in definite need of updating.)  But it was what it was and maybe for all I know, this would have been better (no Harlem Hill throwing a wrench in things.)

So was a nicely cool morning, shorts, singlet, arm warmers and CEPs were the order of the day.  Warmed up by running to the park (gotta love race starts in the south end of the park) and quickly dropped off my bag and headed to the start, running into (well not literally) Lam and other teammates on the way.  Listened to the usuall announcements…blah blah blah.  Though did anyone notice that they goofed and said this was a double points race? 🙂

Anyway, in a nutshell, this was my race-sorta uneventful as far as races go.

Mile Split Comments
1 7:21 Around the bottom of the park…good first mile, but did I go out too fast?
2 7:41 Up Cat Hill…ugh definitely need to work on hills-this was weak compared
to my summer races.
3 7:24 Engineer’s Gate to 102nd…and was hoping this would have been faster.
4 7:44 West Side Hills…slow but definitely could have been worse.
5 7:07 Downhills, flats, then the turn onto 72nd to the finish.  Tried to give it all I got!

Final time was 37:17, 7:27 pace.  Definitely way off where I was in the summer, but for less than a month after the marathon and minimal speedwork/mileage, I’ll take it.  Especially since again, still ahead of where I was at this time last year (when I couldn’t even break 50 for 10K.)

And can never complain about getting my pic in the NYRR local gallery once again…

Though gotta love that they made my race time 5 minutes faster…hehe.

So, that was this one.  The report like the race…short and sweet.

the times, they are a-changin’

Hi everyone!  Well of course I have to comment on this week’s hot topic in the running world.

In case you have been in hibernation the last few days, here it is, plain and simple-guidelines for NYCM guaranteed entry will be changing.  And honestly, this doesn’t surprise me, I knew it was only a matter of time.

Thankfully, the 9+1 (9 races + 1 volunteer) won’t be changing-for now.  I don’t think they would ever do away with it, but would up it in the future (11+2?  Have some sort of distance requirement for part of the 9 so someone can’t do all 4 or 5 milers to get in?)  So here’s what’s changing and my thoughts on them:

Qualifying by cancelling entry. In the past, applicants to the marathon who canceled their entry according to cancellation guidelines were eligible for guaranteed entry to the following year’s race, and could continue to cancel (and receive guaranteed entry) in subsequent years. Our new policy preserves the cancellation policy but prohibits guaranteed entry by this method following a second consecutive cancellation. Applicants who cancelled in 2010 and 2011 are grandfathered in.

I personally agree this had to happen, as I know there are people who sign up every year and cancel with no intention of running it, or are a “maybe” at best.  Why have a spot for those who are wishy-washy instead of someone who really wants to be there?

Qualifying by being denied entry three consecutive times. In the past, applicants to the marathon have been eligible for guaranteed entry if they have been denied entry three years in a row. This policy will be gradually eliminated. Applicants denied entry for the three years 2009-2011 will be eligible for guaranteed entry in 2012. Applicants denied entry for the three years 2010-2012 will be eligible for guaranteed entry in 2013. Applicants denied entry for the three years 2011-2013 will not be eligible for guaranteed entry in 2014.

This I sort of wish they didn’t have to get rid of-especially since out of towners don’t have the option of the 9+1, they should have a chance to get in eventually.  But I guess cuts had to be made somewhere…

Qualifying by finishing 15 previous New York City Marathons. The ING New York City Marathon offers eligibility for guaranteed entry to runners who have finished 15 or more New York City Marathons. We will discontinue this policy, though we will grandfather in all runners who accumulate 15 or more finishes as of 2015.

This I am a little conflicted about, as I can see both sides of the situation.  This was a policy that rewarded dedication.  On the other hand, I’d rather see someone who has never done the race before get in and have a chance to run rather than someone who has run it 15+ times.  I do feel for those who are just gonna barely miss out (will only have 13 or 14 by 2015…)

Qualifying with a fast marathon or half-marathon time. The time qualifying standards will be tightened to 75% of age-graded times in five-year increments.

Ohhh this is the biggie.  And honestly, especially given Boston tightening their standards, I knew it was only a matter of time before NYC changed theirs.  And if anyone remembers that far back-the current standards are actually looser than have been in the past.  The current standards were last changed in 2006-I can’t remember for other age groups, but for open women, the half time got loosened from 1:34 to 1:37, and marathon from 3:18 to 3:23.  And apparently they had gotten loosened in 2005 too, meaning 2004 and earlier were harder than 1:34/3:18.  Sooo…what is the latest?

Yeah.  Way, way outta my league.  And if anything, I think my age group (the 30-somethings…both men and women) gets hit hardest by this (yeah, I know the 40-44 AG has more time chopped off…but hear me out.)  As you may (or may not know), runners start getting age-graded time adjustments at age 30, meaning that a certain AG% for someone in mid-to-late 30’s would be a different time than someone in their 20’s.  For example-75% for a 35-year-old female would be 1:28:38 for a half, and 3:03:19 for a full marathon-not quite 1:27/3:00.  Granted, I’m nowhere near these times right now, but even a minute or 2 can make a difference for someone who is in striking distance.  I think the fair thing to do would have been to separate out 30-39 or 35-39 instead of lumping all under 40 together.

And contrary to popular belief (from what I have heard others say), I truly believe the shift in the times is NOT a ploy to screw over local runners…if anything, I think non-local runners get more screwed, again we are lucky to still have the option of the 9+1! 

As for me…yeah it will still be 9+1 for me 🙂  Since these standards won’t be going into effect til 2013, I may have one more shot in January to try for a sub-1:37 half.  As for the new standards?  Well right now, they are definitely out of reach for me.  That said, I remember saying in 2006 when the standards changed last “…not that I am anywhere close to these times right now…”  And 5 years later, i was in striking distance of the half standard…what could be in another 5 years?  (unless they change again! 🙂 )

What are everyone else’s thoughts on the changes to the NYCM guaranteed entry standards?

my first F35-39 race (staten island half report)

So even though I mentioned the possiblity of racing the Staten Island Half previously, I was sorta quiet about it since I wasn’t sure what my strategy was gonna be.  I had signed up just to have the opportunity to use it as a long run, or marathon-pace run if need be, as it falls on the weekend between my two 20-milers.  But after missing my goal in Philly, Coach T and I talked about the possiblity of racing this one, and he did give me the blessing to go for it.  I ran this race only once before-5 years ago, but just as a training run.  I distinctly remembered 1 hill in the beginning, and a biggie at mile 8, but was described by many as a PR course.  The weather forecast was a bit warmer than ideal, but considering I ran great races in the summer heat, I didn’t let that psych me out one bit.

So that Sunday (4 weeks out from the big day, to be exact), I did the routine that most likely would happen on marathon day too.  Woke up way too early.  Breakfast and coffee (Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice coffee FTW!  Perfect since I ran out of Peppermint and almost out of Gingerbread and those won’t be back in the stores for while.)  Put the race outfit on…went with the Adioses again for the shoes, and actually tried out a different racing outfit-Flyers singlet (I usually wear the fitted top) and my Lululemon Speed shorts (instead of my short fitted Nike shorts.)  As the shorts have gel pockets, I wouldn’t need a pocket in my top…so I wanted to try out racing in this combo.  (is it me, or do I use this half to try out new shorts?  Last time it was the infamous “naked shorts”…)

And I left my place around 5:30ish, and barely caught the 1 train at Times Square.  Yep, even though NYRR suggested we take the 7:30 ferry at the latest, I felt that would be cutting it too close.  I took the ferry to a Staten island Yankee game this past summer, and it was almost a half hour late.  If the 7:30 was that late, I’d be missing the start.  So I decided to take the 6:30 ferry…I’d rather get to Staten Island early and zone out rather than be in the terminal on the Manhattan side and stress out.  And given that the ferry terminal had plenty of runners, I wasn’t alone in that assessment (of course, some may have been frontloading with a few extra miles.)  I strategically positioned myself near the ferry entrance, and when the doors opened, was able to get a seat near where the exit would be on the SI side and a window seat too.  I think this ferry left maybe 5 minutes late…not too bad, I just listened to my race morning playlist and enjoyed the views during the trip.  And even after getting to SI, the time seemed to go by quickly…found a place to sit and chill out (beautiful morning to sit outside by the water!)…chatted with Flyer and non-Flyer friends, before I knew it, was time to head to the corrals.

just out of the starting gate-i'm to the right of purple chick

So I don’t know who was on announcing duty today, but I actually missed Mary Wittenberg.  This guy was going on and on about the weather and how it was so hot…oh yeah and the comment about how the ChampionChip is “as useful as a rotary phone” (if thats the case, can I get my $35 back that I paid for it way back when?)  I even heard the guy was making fun of people who were late because they were delayed by the ferry…yeah there was some drama there.  Not only was the 7:30 ferry late, but it couldn’t hold everyone waiting.  There was an additional one added around 8-ish, I believe?  But still there were definitely a lot of people who were going to miss the start.  (wow-am I glad I decided to go on the early ferry!)  Even though they did say they were going to delay the start, Mr. Garmin said I started at 8:32 (original start time was 8:30) so they couldn’t have waited that long…

So we headed out of the stadium and onto the streets…mile 1 was uphill but I felt in control.  When I saw my first mile was 7:23 I was pleased…but there was the possibility I may have gone out too fast.  Oh yeah, we were running on unshaded roads on a warm and sunny day, and remember that supposed “flat and fast” course?

Um yeah.  I remembered there was gonna be a hill at mile 8, but I definitely did not remember some of the others!

I just kept going…at around mile 3 I saw Lam speed past me…apparently he got caught on one of the late ferries and had to weave his way through the field (but no worries, since he still PR’ed!  yay!)  I said to him to “go get it.”  As for me, it’s possible my fast start worked against me, as the next 3 miles were 7:34, 7:44, 7:42.  Uh oh…could I be in trouble?  Somewhere in mile 4 I heard someone cheering for me…I looked quickly and saw AP, our Master Blaster…since he’s our resident Staten Islander, I figured he’d either be running or spectating. 🙂

Mile 5 dropped to 7:55…yeah that was up another hill.  But still.  I could have very easily thrown in the towel but just make the rest of the race a marathon-pace run but I chose to fight.  Being that this was an out-and-back, what goes up must come down, right?  And we were nearing the part of the course that I really liked, as the turnaround as around a mile away I saw people coming back on the other side…then it was my turn to hit the turnaround…I heard people cheering for me and if I couldn’t acknowledge you, I’m sorry-was too focused on the task at hand but know it was appreciated! 

just passed my teammate with a mile or 2 to go...

Then mile 8 brought the hill.  The one that 5 years ago I said was “a bigger bitch than I am.”  Seemed like it lasted almost the entire mile!  “Come on, Flyer!” said a guy wearing a NYC Triathlon top who was trying to encourage me to stick with him.  Relief when we hit the top.  At 8:04, this was by far the slowest mile of the race, and my only mile over 8 minutes.  Even the downhill right afterwards…didn’t feel like a reward right then and there, took about 100-200 meters to recover from the hill.  Mile 9 went through Fort Wadsworth…boy it’s gonna look quite different in 4 weeks, just crawling with runners 🙂  Come to think of it-I’m sure there was a view of the Verrazano Bridge somewhere in these last coupla miles but I didn’t even notice!  Exited the Fort and went back into town…saw AP again with his son, and he was taking pictures…I’m sure I didn’t look too happy at that point though 😛

So up til mile 10 or 11, was just trying to maintain pace.  By this point there were people to pace off of…NYC Tri guy, and a couple of Dashing Whippets (I just hoped I wasn’t being too annoying, my breathing was getting loud by that point…working hard!)  In the beginning, everyone who had started late and weaving their way through the field…didn’t know who was running what pace!  By now everyone had pretty much settled in.  Memories from the backstretch…me saying “Shut up!” to those saying “Almost there!” and having other runners say “thank you!”…the very welcome sprinklers at the water stations and elsewhere…the DJ playing “Rain Over Me” and me thinking “ooh rain would be nice right now” 

finishing stretch!

After the bridge at the beginning of mile 12, I thought the hills were over…ugh I guess I forgot about one more!  But then I really think it’s downhill from here?  And passing by the mile 12 marker, I could hear the announcer for the finishers but I forced myself to not look in that direction, just crank it for the last mile.  Headed down the ramp into the stadium with about a half-mile to go and I knew it was just a straight shot to the finish.  And the clock was saying 1:40:xx…which was just alright by me!! 🙂

Final time-1:40:27, 7:40 pace.  My 3rd fastest half ever (only 2 faster were in Philly) and a soft “hilly course” PR, i guess 🙂 

The deets:

Split Time Elevation Gain Elevation Loss
1 7:23.8 17 10
2 7:34.7 32 51
3 7:44.3 14 14
4 7:42.1 45 14
5 7:55.2 68 12
6 7:26.2 0 94
7 7:42.6 13 22
8 8:04.8 105 0
9 7:30.6 0 70
10 7:32.5 13 32
11 7:44.0 0 5
12 7:57.3 61 43
13 7:25.0 39 43
13.1 0:43.6
(6:38 pace)
0 0

As you can see, the elevation changes tell the story of the splits!

And I was 12th in my new age group…my highest age-group placing ever in a NYRR race!!  Maybe there is something to this whole 35-39 age group 🙂  The Flyer women took 3rd and I was the 3rd Flyer female so I got one of these:

And yeah, I know the high placing and finishing 3rd among the Flyer women was only because a lot of the fasties did Grete’s the previous weekend…so a little bittersweet.  I’ll take it though!  Hadn’t gotten one of those team medals in a long time (few years?)…we have so many fast women on the team now, the times I finish top 5 are few and far between!

So even though I would have loved to have run 1:38-1:39…or better if that was where the day took me, I’m still happy with this race.  I could have easily thrown in the towel and “tempoed” it but I fought to the finish.  Unlike Brooklyn, I wasn’t roadkill in the last 5 miles 🙂 And besides, I do remember that it was only a few years ago when I was frustrated at being stuck at a 1:47-1:48 plateau for the half, I was trying to break 1:45 but coming up short…now I can knock on the door of 1:40 in non-ideal conditions on a hilly course?  And of course, eye on the prize and I like that this race predicts a 3:31 marathon…

Next?  Now it’s time to get in that last big week and the last 20 miler, then taper down and stay uninjured before the big day in 4 weeks!

NYCM to me: “you’re too slow!”

So getting bib #’s for big races is usually fun, right?  That’s the time it really starts getting real…and it’s interesting to kind of read into the numbers and see what kind of meaning they have. 🙂

And in the case in NYC, you also find out your wave/start time in addition to your bib number.  If you remember correctly, the waves started in 2008.  I started in the 2nd corral of wave 2, which was exactly where I thought I would be, with a marathon PR of 3:58 and a predicted time of 3:45 (and I wound up running 3:44, talk about being on the money!)  Now?  I have a marathon PR of 3:43 and predicted time…well I don’t wanna say quite yet.  But I think you all have a ballpark guess 😉  either way, one would think a 15 minute improvement would put me in wave 1.  Especially since most of my friends/teammates with similar PRs/goal times wound up in wave 1.  Boy was I wrong…

wave 2 AGAIN? are you kidding me?

 I seriously thought it was some sort of mistake.  But apparently no, the official word is that my 3:43 PR landed me in that corral and they go by previous time when seeding runners.  Ummmm…then why is it that quite a few of my teammates and friends who have slower marathon PRs than me-quite a few over 4 hours too!-were allowed in wave 1 and I wasn’t?  Your honor system sucks, NYCM.  Take a hint from Chicago.  THEY get it right.  You want a seeded corral?  You better have the proof of running a certain time, or no go.

Well in a way, this may screw up my race goals.  My issue is not so much with the start-as in 2008 that part was fine and I *am* in the very first corral in wave 2 at least (though I’m sure I’ll be forced to the back by people in wave 1 who miss their start…)  My concern is more running into the back of wave 1…especially if they let 10 or 11 minute milers in there!  Yes, it is possible to catch up to wave 1-in 2008, Brightroom captured quite a few pictures from the last couple of miles which had me passing runners in wave 1.  I’d just prefer to pass these people in Brooklyn, early on instead of it becoming a roadblock on the narrow streets of 5th Avenue.  I know some people say it will be fine, but I’ve heard mixed opinions (and experienced it for myself…)

Plus what gets to me is…where’s the consistency??  Why were those others-especially the ones much slower-allowed a chance at a great start and I wasn’t?  Are my goals too aggressive?  Do I have any right to be trying for the times I want?  (And for the record-I am NOT bashing slower runners.  They have their place in the race as much as the elites do.  I don’t think I’m anything special, but I don’t think a 4:30 marathoner should have a 30-minute head start on me.)

Well…I have one last chance to sorta “save” myself…which unfortunately puts a lot more pressure on this weekend’s half-marathon.  Wish me luck…

And at least this drama keeps me from thinking about the other hot topic in the running world this week…that certain marathon in April…

collectors items

These. From the half-marathon that won’t be. Thanks to some chick named Irene who’s unleashing her fury on the east coast (damn, what did her BF do to her to get her so mad…)

Just as I predicted, the decision was made for all of us yesterday.  Once a state of emergency was called for New York, was only a matter of time before things would be canceled.  First, the XC race in Van Cortlandt Park, then soon enough…

Sunday Races Cancelled

Due to the cancellation of all NYC events on Sunday, August 28, the Bronx Half-Marathon and the Henry Isola Cross Country Classic have been cancelled. Bronx Half registered runners and volunteers who meet NYRR membership requirements will receive 9+1 qualifying credit toward 2012 marathon guaranteed entry, and registered runners who meet NYRR membership requirements will receive qualifying credit toward guaranteed entry to the 2012 NYC Half. Runners may still pick up their race shirts during registration hours at NYRR. In keeping with our policies, no race-entry refunds will be given.

So there you have it. I’m actually relieved they made the call when they did…another day of speculation was just gonna get everyone more on edge. Plan is to do my long run tomorrow morning, then spend Sunday hiding indoors.

And of course, I see lots of complaining on Facebook, between the NYRR Facebook page and even my news feed. So of course I had my 2 cents.

Yeah, I know I can be a drama queen at times, but seriously some of the complaining I was seeing was getting ridiculous.

So to everyone who is in the hurricane’s projected path…please stay safe.  Do not be a “weather hero” and run in the hurricane, if and when it hits…live to run another day.

make a plan, stick to it like glue

So unlike one month ago, the Heatpocalypse decided to stay away from the 2nd NYRR Long Training Run.  However, this wasn’t gonna be totally challenge-free, as the humidity was definitely on full-blast for this one.  Additionally, this would really be my first true stint in the 9 minute pace group, as we wouldn’t be getting the blessing to take it easier as we did last time.  But I had a feeling it would be fine.  As I had to run 18 total, my plan was to run with the group for the first 3 loops (16 miles), then one more mile on the 4th loop then back to the staging area to make 18.

Unlike last time, the MTA was kinder to me.  Then again, I left a little earlier, not wanting to take any chances.  The A train showed up after only about 5 minutes (as opposed to 20 last time) so I got to the staging area a bit early, but it was nice to not feel rushed.  As we were waiting for the cue to line up with our groups, we were playing with the pace signs…me particularly, the “7:30 pace” sign 😛  Hey, that could mean 7:30 race pace, right…lol.  But eventually I was given my TRUE pace sign and me and the other 9:00 pace leaders went over to our group to divide and conquer.

So, a few minutes after 7, we were off.  The run started out normally…first half-mile a little fast due to the downhill Harlem Hill, make up for it on the uphill.  After that, my goal was to just “lock in” and keep an even effort, regardless of what the other leaders may be doing…and in the first loop I did lag a little bit behind the other leaders, though I was right on pace (and one person even asked me if the others were going too fast)  First loop ended fine, second loop went well too, Flyers and co-paceleaders HM and MR stuck with me through this loop, as did one girl from Dashing Whippets who was training for MCM.  And of course, MR had to mention how much I just loved that marathon…not!!  Needless to say, I did warn her about the so-called “honor system” at the start! 😉  Another guy said to us midway through this loop, “how good are you, everything is within 5 seconds of 9:00!”  yay 🙂

The third loop was a little bit of a struggle…not sure if it was the humidity getting to me, or I felt a little under-fueled, though I had already taken 2 gels (after miles 6 and 12.)  Or it could have possibly been the Gatorade that was being served on the transverse…not sure what variety it was, but it was really watered down and I sure hope they do not serve that at the marathon and stick to the tried and true lemon-lime endurance formula!  But the gel kinda kicked in around mile 14 and I felt fine for the last 2 miles of that loop.  MR had gone on ahead (his excuse-“needed more rest at between this loop and the next…uh yeah right :-P”) but HM was struggling a little.  I felt bad at leaving the group after 17, as she was doing 20 and needed the support, but I was not prepared-endurance wise or fueling wise to do 20…I had to stick to my plan.  Thankfully MR was going to take on the last 4 miles as well.

So I ran out to the 17 mile-marker, wished everyone continuing on well, then turned around and headed back to 102nd.  And still had something left in the tank to pick it up a little for this last mile or so, while I gave the usual cheers to those heading out for the last loop.  As I got to 102nd, I heard Flyers ST and KH yelling for me then JM saying via the microphone “she can’t talk yet…she’s finishing her run.”  LOL.  18 miles down, no worse for wear.  Though I couldn’t chuck the singlet, Brandi Chastain-style, soon enough…that thing was soaked!!  Oh the humidity…

Annddd…how it netted out in the long run (har har)

So I pretty much stuck to plan.  And encouraging that this felt comfortable, whereas the last coupla years whenever I was debating between 9 and 9:30, I felt 9 seemed like too much of a jump and I was unsure if I I would have been able to handle pacing…but the last 2 LTR’s put those worries to rest (well, for now.)  I didn’t feel like “oh I can’t run any more” when I was done, but there was no reason to keep going…quit while you’re ahead, I say! 🙂  And as always-the Flyers kicked butt paceleading and coordinating the event, as usual! 🙂

the club (champs) can’t handle me

Thankfully this year’s NYRR Club Team Championships was a complete 180 from last year.  Was a good day for me, for the Flyers, for lotsa peeps.

Chill nite Friday nite…carbo-loading (and yes I did have another Blue Moon…lol) and watching the Yanks vs. Sox game…hey didn’t the Yanks win 2 years ago the night before this race?  Saturday I did all my usual pre-race preps and headed to the subway…just in time to see the door of a C train close just as I got there.  Doh!!  My hope was to get to da park in time to see the guys in their first mile, but it was in the hands of the MTA now.

Luckily, another C train came shortly…and I got off the train uptown and headed to 90th street to watch the guys pass by before I warmed up a little bit.  Perfect timing-the lead bikes/truck came by just as I got to 90th.  As it was early, everyone pretty much passed by in a matter of minutes, but I was able to spot some Flyers here and there and cheer.  I then continued warming up, headed to the spot that the Flyers staked out on the east side near the finish for our post-race festivities.  A few minutes later, the leaders approached…the usual suspects were in front (WSX, NYAC, etc) all running ridiculous times.  And of course we were anxiously awaiting our first male and BK said that we should just all cheer like crazy when he runs by.  Sure enough, Lam runs by and the (Flyer female) crowd goes insane.  Strong finish to what was apparently a great race for him!  he was followed shortly by JD, and then Crazy Bandanahead who looked like he was passing lotsa guyz in the final stretch.  But man, the looks on these guys faces…they did not look happy at all.  And I couldn’t tell if it was because of the conditions (it was in the mid-70s and quite humid…probably the toughest conditions we’ve had for this particular race in awhile) or if it’s just the normal “pushing hard at the end” discomfort…

At around 8:35ish, I headed over towards the transverse and the corrals for the women’s start.  So Flyer LH says to me that he “expects me to finish top 10 for the team”-as this time around, the open women’s scoring for this race went 10 deep (like the men’s usually is.)  And of course that expectation is based on my performance on the 4-miler last month…and honestly, this wasn’t what I wanted to hear before the race!  One of the good things about the 4-miler was the fact that there was no pressure beforehand…just ran.  And also this time, there were quite a few fast Flyer ladies who would most definitely finish ahead of me.  Our “master blaster” CM, who always leads the team whenever she toes the line.  Our ultra-chick DC, this would be just a sprint for her.  JR, another quick chick who consistently runs sub-7 pace for these races.  EG, who’s been on a PR-setting tear this year.  And of course EA, AK and NPT, the ladies I do speedwork with…I’ve never beaten them in a workout or a race before.  So there I counted 7 Flyer women that would most likely finish ahead of me and I’m sure there were others I hadn’t seen yet.  Thankfully my Flyer friend JW put her hands over my ears as a sort of sign to tell me to block it out.  Thanks JW-I needed that 🙂  And soon enough it was time to start…took some deep breaths to calm myself further before the starting horn.

Mile 1 (7:18)-so despite the whole “bibgate”, my starting position was actually fine (and in fact, supposedly I missed a pile-up that happened in the first corral!)  Me and EG stuck together for a good part of this mile, weaving our way through the West Side Hills.  And I was pretty pleased with this mile split, showed that last month definitely was not a fluke!  That said, given the warmer and more humid conditions, did I go out too hard?

Mile 2 (7:08)-Down the hill, still running at a good clip.  I felt that I was still keeping it together, in the heat and humidity, and the mile split did reflect that.  I knew that this race was definitely legit and was just gonna go for it from here…

Mile 3 (7:17)-what is usually the most mentally tough mile of the race with the least crowd support.  I had several women to pace off of…a Harrier, a fast woman from Moving Comfort or Running Divas or whatever they are called now, a coupla PPTC women, and I had NPT in my sights up ahead-in fact I have had her in my sights the entire way.  But I really tried to not worry about what they were doing, or where I was place-wise…I said to myself just the fact that I was sticking with these women means I was having a good day.  I was here to run for time, not place.  But the fact I was running with them may have helped a little-I usually lose a little bit of time in this mile and this time, I didn’t.

Mile 4 (7:32)-Cat Hill time.  Just a hill repeat and you’re done with the tough part.  I’ve seen peeps actually climb up onto the cat statue to cheer, today was no exception.  This time it was Flyer TD, encouraging me up that last part of the hill, and it definitely was a relief to be done.  Cat Hill does its usual damage to this mile, though possibly a tiny bit less than before?  Quick check of the watch says I’m at 29:1x though 4 miles (my 2nd best 4-mile time ever!), so all I need to do is kill it on the last mile.

Mile 5 (6:45)-So after keeping NPT in my sights throughout the race, I caught up to her.  “Come on, N,” I said to her as I pulled alongside.  “Let’s work together.”  We did run side by side for a little bit until I edged ahead for good around Engineer’s Gate.  And here was time to crank it up a gear.  And give it everything.  I passed by several other women in the stretch from Engineer’s Gate to the top of the reservoir…and then the real fun part begins, with all the guys from all the teams cheering.  And of course I gotta look good and fast for them 🙂  I wasn’t letting up, no smiles, total game face.  Even when I passed the Flyers’ contingent with around a quarter-mile to go…I heard the cheering, but I couldn’t even tell you exactly who was there, I was so focused.  I saw the orange tape lining the finishing chute and I felt it calling me home.  Rounded the corner…and surprisingly, the woman in front of me stopped after crossing the mat a little before the finish (which I believe gives name/bib numbers to the announcers at the finish)…but I wasn’t falling for that!!  No stopping for me til I hit both mats at the finish!!  And I did hear the announcers call my name as I finished!  And finished up with my fastest mile split ever in a race…like whoa!!

Final time was 36:00, 7:12 pace. Wow-had I known I was so close, could I have given that little something extra to get that second to get me under 36?  But still-cannot complain at all about a 49-second PR, an 8th-place finish for the open women (who finished 8th overall) AND redemption from last year’s underwhelming race!

So afterwards was the usual mingling, picnic, photo-taking, catching up with Flyers old and new…and oh yes, a certain baby Flyer girl made her Flyer event debut 🙂

So this race, I think, was a huge weight off my shoulders.  For several reasons.  1-the 4-miler definitely was not a fluke, and in fact even surpassed that one.  2-finally able to pull out a good race time in non-ideal conditions.  Though I think partially that was due to getting through that 5K last month in 90-degree weather and my long run during Heatpocalypse 2011…I mean if I could get through those…I could get through this.  3-McMillan predicts a 3:31 marathon from this race, and I wasn’t really tapered for this one.  Therefore, training appears to be on track so far.  Which is why for the next 6 weeks, I’m putting the racing shoes away and just concentrating on continuing the NYCM buildup, and STAYING UNINJURED.

Some pictures from the day, thanks to our fabulous team photographers 🙂

the Flyer gurls in the yellow corral

right after the start on 102nd

in the home stretch with the game face on!

me with the Flyer men after the finish