will run for fashion

So remember that long run I was supposed to do last Sunday?  Yeah, that didn’t happen.  Let it be known that NyQuil is evil when you need to be somewhat productive the next day.  But again, given that I was really trying to get rid of that damn cold ASAP, a long run may not have done me any favors.  The one downside to winter training-seems like it takes longer to shake out illness than it does in warmer temps.

So I threw myself back into it this past week.  Coach T took a little mercy on me on Tuesday and had me do 600s as a “rust-buster” type workout instead of the 1000s that the others were doing.  Which was perfect, my lungs did not feel up to 1000s.  My original plan was to try and run before work as there was the annual Flyers Chinese New Year celebration, and given that it was the Year of the Dragon (my year!) I sorta had to go 🙂  The snooze button won out but I was still able to get my workout done, and me and my workout-mates made it to the festivities in time (well…maybe a little fashionably late!)

Happy Year of the Dragon! Words to live by...and others that I can hope are reality?


And then in the middle of the week, the word was out that a certain coveted jacket was available on the Adidas site.  And of course inquiring minds had wanted to know for a while…what will the colors be?  Will it be embroidered or not?  And the answer is…

Once again, a departure from the traditional Boston blue/yellow, but I’m really loving this color! 🙂  I can’t wait to get mine…though I know I won’t be able to wear it til the afternoon of April 16th…bad luck!!

So I guess making sure I will be able to wear said jacket was what got me out the door on a rainy Thursday evening for a tempo which I felt I came up short on, but all things considered, was just glad to get it in.  And even though I got a late start today due to not being able to tear myself away from the Australian Open final, still banged out 17 and change miles (including not 1, but 2 loops of the Harlem Hills.)  Though dear god, if I am as tired after 17 miles in 11 weeks as I was today, the Newton hills are gonna be a world of hurt.

Busy week this upcoming week with final preps for the Flyers awards gala Saturday.  I expect to see lots of Flyers (myself included!) out running long runs Saturday…if last year was any indication, a long run will definitely not happen on Sunday.  In fact, I predict Flyer attendance at the Gridron Classic will be quite low…


say hello to my (new) little friend

Soooo…I mentioned the other day that Mr. Garmin had his final run on Sunday. Who is his successor, you wonder?

None other than the Garmin 310XT.  Thanks to a 15% discount and having a lot of $$ in the form of gift cards to spend at JackRabbit, I was able to pick this baby up.  Why did I go with this as opposed to the models that look more like a watch?  Well first off, I hate the touch bezel.  And the screen is too small-I like having 4 fields on the screen.  The model with the touch screen looks cool, but since it’s so new I’m sure it’s still sorta buggy.  This model got good reviews.  And it’s water-resistant!  And I love the wireless transfer-beats the hell out of the USB transfer, which was giving me nothing but problems for awhile…

I tried it out for the first time at the track and was pretty easy to use.  I wish I could say the workout was as easy!  Another workout of 1000’s…keeping with tapering, lessening the volume, not the intensity.

Interval Time Pace
1000m 4:11.73 6:45.12
1000m 4:11.91 6:45.41
1000m 4:08.90 6:40.57

quite similar to last week!  just over 4:10, then get just under for the last one.  Glad this workout was short and sweet, as I headed uptown to have some drinks with the Flyers, where I modeled one of my newer apparel acquisitions.

 So yesterday I got to test how water-resistant this thing is, as it was raining.  The downside was that it seemed to take forever to get a signal-something I thought was improved over the 305 with this model!  Not exactly fun when it’s raining 🙂  Anyway, it finally locked and I banged out some easy miles.  The device held up well (not that it was raining super-hard) and when I got home I downloaded a device software update hoping it will help the satellite problem…

Looks like it did, as it located the satellites in less than a minute.  Wow, I think that may be a record, especially in midtown Manhattan! 🙂  More 1000’s on the agenda tonite-though tempo.  5 x 1000, minute rest inbetween.  Shoot for 4:30.  (tempo splits outlined in red below.)

I think this was the first time-at least in a very long time-that I actually nailed the tempo.  Could be because it was cool and not humid for a change, or maybe everything is finally coming together, but I was definitely pleased!

So far, so good, I think me and my new Garmin friend will be very happy together.  Though it needs a name, can’t use Mr. Garmin again…any suggestions? 🙂

sibling rivalry (party with purpose 5k 2011 report)

OK, so despite the heat wave that hit the tri-state area earlier this week, my 5K race on Tuesday actually went better than expected.  How good?  Well I came within seconds of a PR in non-ideal conditions…and I beat my brother by over a minute!  Oh yeah, there’s a secondary plot line going on there…

So as I mentioned before, my brother was the more athletic one growing up, etc…and then as adults, those roles were reversed.  We did face off at the Corporate Challenge…I think about 7 years ago?  I remember it being ridiculously hot that day and I was relatively new to racing…plus my first mile sucked because I got a crap start (the days before chip times and corrals!)  Anyway, he beat me and gloated about it quite a bit the day after.  (though you could sorta say I beat him on an age/gender graded basis…)  We both toed the same line at a NYRR 10K (can’t remember which one offhand) a year later and I got him there…of course you can use the same argument that always seems to be used with me “i’m stronger in the longer distances.”

So today, game on.  The organizers thankfully didn’t make this a fun run…guess they figure everyone knows how to take care of themselves during a 5K 🙂  Escaped work by 5:30, got to Hoboken in plenty of time to do the pre-race routine…oh and they actually had tech shirts this year!!  Nice touch!  Only downside was by the time I got there, the smallest size they had was a woman’s large…maybe it will shrink in the wash or something?  Warmed up for a coupla miles…yeah I know it was really hot out but the legs needed to warm up!  I ran along the race course for about a mile and back…was still about 90 degrees but being along the water just may help a little bit.  Got back to the start area, met up with the brother and we hung around til it was time to line up…and as usual, no rhyme or reason.  You don’t put out the pace signs AFTER people start lining up!  Anyway, they told us to move back but you know not everyone obliges…but I did move back to the 7 minute pace sign to be fair (which actually wasnt too far back…and there was net timing anyways.)  So it was 7 PM and everyone was dying to get going…waited for the pre-race speeches and the national anthem…finally at 7:10 we were off.

So Mile 1…run it hard but be conservative if need be.  The usual, let the faster runners go, don’t get sucked in…and one of those runners who went by me was my brother, around a half-mile in.  My heart said “Stay with him!”  My head said “Run your own race…maybe you’ll catch him later!”  Make the turn to go along the water…oh wait we’re running along a pier…this is new.  Mile 1 and that’s at 7:16…and maybe I can maintain this…

Again, Mile 2 was a mental battle.  Hit the pace…don’t let things slide.  Oh hi leaders coming back the other way.  Quite a few turns amongst more unfamiliar streets…but they got rid of the hairpin turn on 15th St!!  I was strategically preparing for that one (since it always seems to mess with your speed unless you are on the outside) and thought this was a change for the better 🙂  Mile 2 was 7:23…hmmm still pretty good!!  The thought crept into my mind, that maybe, just maybe, I could actually PR?  Obviously I’d have to burn rubber on the last 1.1 miles, but I wasn’t falling apart just yet, so maybe I had a shot…

So I cranked it up a notch and was passing people who went out too fast…oh and who was one of those peeps that I passed early in this mile?  Yes, everyone, I chicked my baby brother.  I think I did say something encouraging as I passed but there became the new goal-stay ahead of him til I hit the finish!!  I did make the mistake of looking at my watch during this mile…but guesstimated that I had around 5 minutes and change of running left…OK think of running a 1200 on the track…hung in there, kept repeating “fighter, fighter” to myself.  I saw the turn to the finish up ahead and people who already made the turn finishing…as I approached the turn I could hear the announcer cheering for those “to get under 22 minutes”…so maybe by the time I got there it would be low 22’s (chip time)…oh boy this was gonna be CLOSE!

And in the end?  5 seconds short!!  Wound up with 22:30, 7:15 pace…missing a PR by 5 seconds!!  Last 1.1 miles done in 7:52 (7:09 pace)…so it definitely wasn’t due to lack of trying!  But still…to be just off my PR by seconds in 90 degree heat…like whoa!!  And to give you an idea of how competitive this race has gotten…this time got my 12th in my age groups (damn those 10-year groupings!) whereas 2-3 years ago, I would have been top 10, easily.

I stuck around near the finish to see my brother finish…he was over a minute back…went out too fast (he thinks his first mile was sub-7…really, really glad I didn’t stick with him!) and died in the last mile…ah rookie errors.  Not that I’ve never done anything like that before 😛  Once he could speak full sentences again, we met up with a coupla of my friends and enjoyed some well-earned beers while sitting outside one of the local bars…yep, perfect nite for sitting outside and drinking.  Running?  Not so much 🙂

So I’m actually happy with my time, if anything I really didn’t feel like I gave it my all (well maybe except for the end) as I really don’t feel like I raced at all.  But still, to put up a decent time in the heat (and MUCH better than last year’s fiasco!) and come so close to a PR…of course makes me wonder what could have been if it were 20 degrees (or so) cooler.  Maybe I’ll find that out sooner than I think… 😉

And as for the sibling rivalry of sorts?  No gloating from me.  I’m satisfied just knowing how things played out. 🙂

one down, 17 to go…

So first week of NYCM training is in the books, and honestly it seems sorta anticlimactic…maybe because I know I still got a bit of work ahead of me, so one week ain’t even scratching the surface.

So this weekend I did something totally unlike me and got up early to get my long run early in the morning 😮  But hey, I had 14 to get done, and as it was a busy weekend for me, really the best time for it was Saturday morning, knowing there was a NYRR race in the park and I knew a coupla Flyers would be in it, so I’d do my usual “run, watch and cheer” thang.  And given the conditions were tough, I’m sure they all appreciated the cheering…and I appreciated that I wasn’t racing and I was just taking it easy 🙂  If you call it easy…ugh, this one was tough.  Just getting the miles in and not cutting it short felt like a victory in itself.  Anyways, it was done and I got to get ready for the highlight of the day…


Yep, I was there to witness Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit!! Was just total coincidence that I happened to be going to the game that day…was the annual day at the ballpark with la familia, but thanks to a stint on the DL for DJ, and a rainout on Friday night, I got to witness history…and oh boy, being there was just epic.  And the Yanks winning the game was just icing on the cake!!  Needless to say, the celebrating went on after the game too!

me and my friend JW celebrating DJ3K!

Yep, as we did after a game a coupla weeks back, we were dancing in the windows of Stan’s Sports Bar (and at a coupla points, even dancing on the windows!  🙂 )  Sooooo fun….

And even though this was definitely the highlight of the weekend, the remainder wasn’t too shabby either…roof deck action, mojito action, white wine action, BBQ action (where I totally lit it up like it was dynamite when some good music was on…lol.)  Another “do I actually have to go back to work?” day today…not to mention being expected to be all perky and all “i-love-werk! 🙂 ” on a Monday morning…not even a venti latte could get me to do that…

So this week is supposed to have some 5K action tomorrow, but I’m thinking there may have to be a plan B…given that the highs for tomorrow are supposed to be near 100, who knows if the race organizers will make the decision for me and call the race a “fun run!”  Stay tuned…

black and yellow (2011 corporate challenge report)

“black and yellow…black and yellow…black and yellow…black and yellow…”

OK, maybe the song isn’t necessarily a favorite, but I felt it went with my race bib for the Corporate Challenge 🙂

So.  Compared to last year’s race, there were some logistical improvements.  The biggie?  Everyone got asked for predicted times when they signed up, so…we all got assigned to start corrals based on our pace.  WIN.  This was a huge relief for me, as my yellow bib meant I would be in one of the “seeded” starts and I didn’t have to stress about getting there mad early.  And I could actually leave with my colleagues to go to the race and be in the team picture this year (as I had to miss it last year)

Oh and I have to say, I loved how our shirts came out…cute idea for a market research company, right?  This was the back of the shirt:

before I took a scissors to the sleeves and the bottom of the shirt

So 5 PM rolls around and we’re all getting into our race gear, pinning on our bibs, etc…and as my coworkers had either blue or white bibs (those were the 2 corrals behind yellow) I definitely got a lot of comments on my yellow bib.  Ahhh, the pressure of being the company ringer…though actually, I had to reclaim my title of being first overall for the company 🙂  We leave and hit the subway around 5:30…and of course the train is filled with other Corporate Challengers.  And I guess there was some chick giving our crew the stinkeye, though Dr. Insensitive said something to the effect of “yeah show off your bib, we have the power”…until the chick pulled out a red bib with a 3-digit number-meaning first corral.  Ummm yeah.

So we got to the park in plenty of time and found a place to drop our bags-one very nice coworker volunteered to watch our stuff while we were racing…though truth be told, he was rewarded with some, uh, refreshment while he was waiting 🙂  Anyway, we took a few pictures, then most of the crew went to get their T-shirts so I said I was going to the start and that I’d see them at the finish line (or after!)  Since there was nothing in the race day instructions that said what time we had to be in the corrals by, I didn’t want to take any chances…

And I got to my yellow corral in plenty of time and found a spot near the front of it.  Looks like red was in front, with green right behind, then us.  And the announcements stated that it was gonna be staggered starts-red and green go at the horn, we go 2 minutes later.  Good idea as well-they do that at the Philly Distance Run and I found it helped the congestion in the beginning.  So we just had to wait for the start…sit through (or actually stand through) the pre-run “aerobics” which a lot of us did not partake in 😛

And the horn sounded and the red and green corrals left.  And we waited a minute or 2 before we were allowed to move up.  And move up I did…and here was where I made a little mistake.  As I was in the front of the corral, I stepped over the first timing mat (the 2nd was at the actual start line), but the officials wouldn’t release us yet.  And I thought to myself “oh sh*t!!  this is gonna add to my race time”  But eventually they did let us go…

So the beginning of the first mile was pretty clean.  But wouldn’t you know it, not even 5 minutes in, I’m passing red and green bibs…that should NOT be happening if they have a 2 minute head start on me.  Guess some peeps were, uh, a little optimistic with their “predicted times?”  First mile was 7:31…hmmm maybe a little slow?  I knew I had to break a 7:30 pace to beat last year’s time…and I think to go under 26 minutes I would have had to run 7:25’s?

During mile 2 was the right turn onto 102nd…and I used some learning from last year.  Last year I had stayed to the inside on this turn, resulting in being quite boxed in and having to slow dramatically on the turn.  This time I stayed to the outside…tangents be damned, but it didn’t break my stride at least.  But damn, why did I feel like we were climbing this entire mile?  2nd mile was 7:38.

Mile 3 was pretty much like mile 4 from the Mini 10k…”The Climb” (apologies for the Miley Cyrus reference)  And I think my legs were still feeling the 10K race, as I took that one pretty hard.  This mile was 7:47 and  was glad it was over.  Last half-mile started with Cat Hill downhill but then we turn onto 72nd to the finish…uphill!!  How the hell did this course feel like we were constantly going uphill (with the exception of Cat Hill)?  I wasn’t looking at my watch and I didn’t know how close I was to a PR…did the best I could at the finish but my legs were spent…last half-mile was 3:40…not my best closing half-mile, not my worst.  Final time 26:36, 7:36 pace according to Mr. Garmin-though the actual results said 26:53…remember my starting mat mishap?  That’s where those 17 seconds went…not that it made much of a difference at the end of the day…

So as always, followed the masses to get water, once again skipped the nasty shit known as coconut water, got my t-shirt, and cooled down around the lower loop.  And even with sneaking in a cooldown, I was the first to make it back to our meeting spot 🙂  But soon enough the others started to arrive, all seeming very happy with themselves and they should be…we all brought it! 🙂  (and oh yeah, I reclaimed my title of finishing first for the company…yay 🙂 )  After everyone was present and accounted for, we all trekked up and down Amsterdam Avenue in search of someplace, anyplace what wasn’t mobbed with Corporate Challengers, so we could get some definitely-needed eats and “recovery beverages” 🙂  Took us a while, but we did find a place, so we all sat, ate, drank, chatted and had fun (and I didnt even get charged for my 2nd drink, cool!)

As for my race…I honestly didn’t have much expectations, but I thought sub-26 could have been doable.  I guess I underestimated how much a hard 10K can take out of you and that this isn’t the easiest double.  I don’t know how those elites who double in the 10K/5K do it! (then again, they are creatures unlike any other…)  All in all, I just chalked it up as my tempo workout for the week.  But on a positive note, I have to say having the seeded corrals was a HUGE improvement over previous years.  I just need to remember to stay away from the starting mats til they let us go…oh crap, I have to do this again next year? 🙂

obviously i'm smiling because this is post-race

maybe i should mentally write off races more often (2011 mini 10k report)

Hi again!!  Yep, I know this race report is 2 weeks delinquent.  Ya think life has gotten in the way or something? 🙂

Soooo…the Mini 10K.  It’s a race that, for me, was a “must run” for several reasons.

  1. It was my first race as a New York Flyer…way back in 2004!!
  2. It’s the only NYRR race that I have run every single year, without fail…so this year would be #8!
  3. Club points race for the ladies.  Even if I don’t score, I still wanted to be out there in some shape or form…
  4. Ladies-only race=blue race bib (yay for first corral!)
  5. Ladies-only race=lotsa men on the sidelines cheering 🙂
  6. Plus this year’s race had a coupla special aspects-the 40th anniversary of the race and was dedicated to Grete Waitz.

As for how I was gonna run…I seriously did not know.  I was having a conversation with Coach T a week or so beforehand and he asked me if I had any time goal in mind…I said “you know, I’m honestly afraid to make any goals.”  Between last year’s Mini, and the disaster that was the Brooklyn Half, may have been better for the psyche to not have any numbers pre-define my race day.

So what does the post title have to do with things?  Glad you asked…

So the nite before the race, I had gone out with some coworkers to celebrate a a birthday of someone in our group.  Original plan was to have 1 glass of wine, maybe 2 tops, and then go home early and rest.  Said original plan did not happen.  With the conditions for the race supposed to be crappy (either almost 100% humidity or raining), I thought “f*ck it, whatever happens tomorrow happens, I’m gonna have fun tonite.”  Hence me tipping back a few pints of Blue Moon and staying out later than planned (though I did carbo-load properly at home.)

So the next morning…no rain, but the humidity was indeed close to 100%-thank god it was cooler than normal.  Did feel it though during my warmup (boy did it feel different, warming up for this race by running up 8th Ave instead of down CPW!)  I headed to the blue corral and lined up with Flyers JS, EG and CK…within striking distance of the elites too!  cool!  Though when we are all supposed to move forward, me (and CK too) made sure we stayed behind the mats…for reason that we both forgot a few days later 🙂  but also I knew there were others who deserved to be in front of me, and I didn’t want to take the chance of getting caught up in a too-fast first mile.  Anyway, after a few speeches, some tributes to Grete, and one of the Harriers singing the National Anthem (and doing a great job too!) it was go time…

Mile 1 (7:28)-Similar to 2 years ago, I tried to hold back just a little…being a little cautious with both the conditions and knowing the hills were up ahead but also just knowing that a 10K is more of an endurance race than some give it credit for.  Others were flying past and I’d let them go…I sorta tried to keep JS in my sights, who was a strong runner making her first comeback race after injury.  I figured if I could stick with her I’d have a good day.  One treat for today was some of the men (and women not racing) from the local clubs cheering at the mile markers.  Looks like mile 1 was CPTC’s, as I saw a coupla familiar faces 😉  Thanks for cheering, guys!  And I was pretty happy with this mile split (and I think it may have actually been a second or 2 faster-was a little distracted at the mile marker 🙂 )

Mile 2 (7:41)-just kept going up CPW…smiled to myself as I passed my old block on the UWS, and all the buildings I used to walk or run by every day.  Entered the park at 90th and got to work on the hills.  Not time to make my move yet…maintain, maintain, maintain.  Even though this split was a little slow, I wasn’t really getting passed, and I had something left for the 2 biggest climbs of the race ahead.  (And thanks to North Brooklyn Runners for their great cheering at the mile 2 marker! 🙂 )

Mile 3 (7:37)-first climb.  Attack the hill, don’t look at the watch.  If I get passed here, catch ’em on the downhill.  And that was exactly what I did.  While running downhill, I actually heard JS chatting with Mary Wittenberg…and Mary passed me on the second uphill-she was running the race with Grete’s husband 🙂  I said something about how great the race was, the cheering stations were a fun touch…or something like that because seriously, who’s mind works well while running a 10K race in conditions resembling a swimming pool?  And speaking of cheering stations, Front Runners sure brought it at the mile 3 marker!!  Fun!!

Climbed a little more to the 5K point…which was 23:39.  Hmmm, pretty good!!  I know I’d have to run a major negative split to PR (and mile 4 always makes it hard to negative split), but maybe I could get close to my course PR from 2009 of 47:27.  That said, 2009’s race had much better conditions…and briefly, 2008’s race flashed into my mind.  Where I kept it together through the first 5K in bad conditions, only to lose it during the second 5K.

Mile 4 (8:06)-So I just kept climbing.  Up to 102nd, and up the sneaky incline to Engineer’s Gate and the mile 4 marker, where I saw Flyer SC and a coupla other clubs cheering.  I sorta breathed a sigh of relief here.  I’d still love to be able to get this mile under 8 minutes, but the fact that I was still keeping it together said a lot.

Mile 5 (7:32)-the same thought as every year…worst is over, all downhill from here.  And maybe not killing myself on the hills was a good thing, as I was able to pick up the pace more than usual this time around.  CPTC was back at mile 5 cheering, along with some others…I passed by CK at the end of this mile and was hoping she’d stick with me for the final stretch…

Mile 6 (7:28)-just keep on working hard…think of all those intervals at the track.  I’m still passing people, guess my strategy of holding back on mile 1 pays off again.  Hit the 800m to go sign and I think of running 800’s at the track, and Coach T telling me to “hit the pace”, and indeedy, hitting the pace.  Don’t think I’m gonna be throwing down any 3:20 half-miles as I have been doing during track workouts, considering I had 5.5 hard miles already on my legs, but it could help me close strong.  Finally, I see my team at a cheering station-yayyyyy!!!

Last .2 mile (1:32)-again, not looking at my watch, even though I hit the split button.  No idea if I’m near a real PR or a course PR or way off.  400m to go sign-I think “just a lap of the track”…though of course the track doesn’t include an annoying uphill to Tavern on the Green 🙂  I see Flyer DM up ahead and try and finish as close to her as possible…passed by just before the finish…gave it everything I had!!  (and gave it so much, I almost ran into someone who stopped short just after the finish line…)

Final time-47:24, 7:38 pace. 5K splits of 23:39/23:45-most evenly I have run this race in a very long time (with the exception of 2004, where I negative split by 1 second)…and 3 second course PR…not too shabby!  Not bad for a race I had mentally written off the night before…lol.

Got our medals (really nice ones this year!) and pink carnations, and did the usual posing for pics and mingling…thankfully everything was before the rains came 🙂

And I do not endorse getting wasted the night before a race…but maybe, occasionally, some Blue Moons won’t hurt…LOL.

Some piccys from the day!

Me and JS cruising up CPW in mile 1

mile 6-i totally look i'm walking but i swear i'm running

finish line!

near collision past the finish!

cute runner guy, will you accept this carnation?

running shoes, medals and flowers. guess which shoe is mine?

more flowers! with flyers in the background

hot mess on ocean parkway (brooklyn half 2011 report)

Damn.  Gotta face the music I guess.

Well, as I mentioned previously-the Brooklyn Half definitely did not go well.  Even though I was not expecting a PR (thanks to my actual half-marathon PR being a complete and total outlier) I thought maybe I can salvage a halfway decent race.  Not sure if last year’s 1:42 would be in reach, but did feel that 1:45 was a reasonable goal.  And I was ready to take the race on.

So I don’t know, even the morning of felt “off” in a way.  Thankfully, I didn’t have too much trouble waking up (before 4 AM!) since I did go to sleep reasonably early the night before.  Even though I’m in midtown now instead of the UWS, I still elected to take the Flyers‘ bus from the UWS, as we all know how unpredictible the MTA is on weekends, especially early mornings on weekends, especially in Brooklyn.  And that also meant I would be cabbin’ it uptown.  But it didn’t help that seemingly every cab was off-duty and of course I got nervous.  One off-duty cab stopped but after I told him my destination, said he couldn’t go to the UWS.  Eventually there was one who figured it wouldn’t kill him to drive 30 blocks!  So I did get to the bus in time.  However, once the bus was en route to Brooklyn…more nerves and unsettledness.  Instead of taking the West Side Highway to the tunnel as has been done in the past, the bus decided to trek through the city streets to the Manhattan Bridge, just adding more travel time.  As we were advised to check our bags by 6:20 and be in our corrals by 6:40 (race start was 7), we were really cutting it close.  Finally we got to Prospect Park, but it seemed like the driver had no clue where to let us off…I think everyone wanted off the bus by that time.  Figured it out, and once we we got off the bus I made a mad dash for the baggage area.  Seemed like I barely had enough time to check my bag and get to my corral (thank god I didn’t have to take care of other business…may have been no time for that!)  So yeah, waitin’ for the start…

And it began.  Knowing mile 1 would be a little downhill, I tried to keep it cool, and not get caught up with what others were doing, given there were quite a few miles worth of hills for me to deal with.  And as my mile 1 split was only 1 second off from last year’s race, I felt it was off to a good start.  And then mile 2 and evil hill, part 1 happened.  Looks like my long run of 4 trips up that hill didn’t work this time, as this mile was about 15 seconds slower than last year, and I had a feeling that it was going to be a tough day.  Just figured I could make up the time on the downhills…and bide my time til Ocean Parkway.  And once again, I decided it was gonna be a 2-gel day, as the humdity was deadly (close to 100%?  not sure if i quite believe that though…)  So all in all, I was through 7 miles in 56:06…7 seconds behind goal, but I could make that up in the remaining 6.1 miles right?

Ocean Parkway. shoot me now.

Or…not.  Mile 8 included the on-ramp to Ocean Parkway (which definitely felt more uphill this year) and that was 8:15…OK, now 22 seconds behind schedule.  I’d have to do 7:55’s or better for the remainder in order to get 1:45.  Given that I negative split this race last year, I thought it could have been doable, but not today.  I don’t know why or how, but my legs just went dead.  Nothing I could say or do could wake them up.  No water, Gatorade or PowerGel.  They were just stuck in that one slow gear and couldn’t seem to shift gears and go faster.  I was roadkill on Ocean Parkway with everyone and their mother passing me and I just wanted this to be over…but it couldn’t be over fast enough, as every single mile split was getting slower.

evil on-ramp to the boardwalk. and not smiling.

Thankfully, somewhere in mile 12, Flyer JA caught up to me and as I kinda had signs I wasn’t doing too well, he kept me company for a mile, was encouraging while just letting me run (though I was somewhat amused when he told me at mile 12 that it was just “4 1/2 laps of the track to go” 🙂  OK, maybe that may make the last 1.1 go by faster!)  It did help, as I was able to speed up a little bit for miles 12 and 13, though sub-8’s were definitely out by that point.  Finally, Ocean Parkway came to an end and we were able to turn right onto Surf Avenue, then up an evil on-ramp to the boardwalk (which again, definitely felt steeper this year…or maybe my legs were just shot by that point!)  Dr. Evil was taking pictures and had to comment afterwards that I wasn’t smiling whereas others would…um if you were feeling as crappy as I was, you wouldn’t be smiling. 

on the boardwalk...so close, yet so far away...

So, on the boardwalk I did remember one thing I learned from last year, and stayed on the straight boards as long as possible, as they were much, much more stable than the slanted ones.  I looked down at Mr. Garmin at the mile 13 marker and saw that I may possibly be able to get under 1:47, but I’d have to hustle…so I did the best I could given the boardwalk surface…but missed by 2 seconds.  1:47:01, 8:10 pace.  So glad this was over.   But I guess there’s nothing like a Coney Island beach party to drown my sorrows…which may or may not have included dipping my legs in the ocean several times, eating Nathan’s hot dogs, hanging out at Beer Island (which didn’t open til 11 AM this year!), riding the Cyclone (which was scary but less torturous than running the race, lol!), chilling out on the beach, not getting back to Manhattan until it was about time for the much-rumored Rapture….

…and given it was a long day, I crashed mad early for a Saturday night and slept like a baby.  But Sunday, and the day after, and the day after that, the disappointment of the day just came back to me.  If I had to have a bad race, I would have liked for there to be a fixable reason.  But this time?  There was no excuse for my legs to have just gone dead as they did.  And even though it was humid, it wasn’t brutally hot, therefore I most likely can’t blame the weather.  Plus, I was hearing stories of people who PR’ed without really training, or not putting in any double-digit runs…dammit, I put in the work.  Compared to last March/April/May, my mileage was higher this year.  Long runs?  All there-10 miles, 11, 12, 13-even 14 and 15 miles.  And since March, I had been doing speedwork twice a week.  Torrential storms with lightning?  Hit the dreadmill for intervals (and I never do speedwork on the dreadmill!)  Can’t make the workout for whatever reason?   Get the plan B to do in the morning (thankfully this time around it’s not quite pulling teeth to get that info!)  Despite the struggles this winter, once I got over the hump I wasn’t slacking off-little discouraging to be “rewarded” with my slowest half-marathon time in a few years (not counting the ones that were strictly training/MP runs)

But I really wanted a race that would have shown that I’m not kidding myself thinking I can BQ this fall…to BQ means I would have to run the pace for this half-marathon for a full (I really don’t think 3:40 is going to cut it for me, i’m gonna need 3:35 or better)  So not exactly a confidence booster…