So, Juan and I did a race yesterday, the NYRR Poland Spring Marathon Kickoff, a 5 miler through the lower 5 mile loop in Central Park. A race in the park (so convenient) without Harlem Hill, and Cat Hill in reverse? SIGN ME UP!
Race had sold out a bit ago and luckily we were both in. I hadn’t done this particular race since 2008. I am not sure why. Is it a good idea to race the week before the marathon? Well, someone like me who doesn’t like to do speedwork and use the races to do speedwork, I say, why not? The last two weeks are about quality over quantity so between doing a slow 8 and or a hard 5… I’d rather do the 5! The taper is such a downer that at least a race will make it feel ok to run very little for two/three days before and after. Or so I like to think!
So, Juan and I didn’t sleep quite well. I think it was cold in the apartment or something. Apparently, they don’t turn the radiator heat on until it’s sub 40. It was like 46 and we’ve been freezing in the apartment (aka, boo, we have to wear clothes!). So when the alarm went off at 6:30 we were both sleepy and messy, ugh, tough morning. By 7:20 we headed out and walked the two miles to the start, our little routine. We dressed up a LOT, long pants and jackets so we could walk before and go to brunch after as soon as the race was over. We got there by 8, undressed, checked our bags and we headed to our corral. Picture perfect sunny day too!!!
It was around 50 degrees, so.. really nice racing weather. Though I am looking now and it says 59. Whatevs!
As I had done the last half marathon two weeks ago, with a 7:55 pace, I figured I’d be around 7:40 because. I didn’t sit and think about the math much, but the park is bumpier than Staten Island so, I gave myself a 7:40 average goal. For Juan, this was his first race in two months since the accident, and he had barely done 2-3 runs in the last 10 days, so he was rusty and expecting little. We went to the corral, said Hi to a few friends, got really excited about the marathon to come (the event is not called Marathon KickOff for nothing), heard a beautiful anthem, set the GPS and GO!
I had to start EASY and relaxed. It was a bit crowded so that always help (always remember, the crowds are there for a reason!!!) and I tried to keep my body relaxed. Mile 1: 7:36, well, how is that relaxed? if I am shooting for 7:40 overall, the first mile should have been like 8. Crap. Did I go out too fast???? I have THIS EXACT THOUGHT in every friggging race. I always expect less that I am capable and when I start out “faster” I freak out thinking I already messed up. I need to start trusting my pacing instincts, as they are never wrong (well, not really never, but more like 97% right).
So, I looked around and it started to thin out a bit, that was fast! Mile 2: 7:21 of course I still think I am going too fast. I have that constat fight in my head in every race. My body does one thing, my brain is trying to direct it to do another. Obv the body knows better. By Mile 3 is when the fatigue sinks in and you sit in prep for the last two miles push, so a slower mile is normal. Same thing would happen in a 10k. Mile 3: 7:26. Wow, that wasn’t the 8 I was thinking i’d get!
That is when my big problem start.
I start to get tired and I just want to start pushing and get it over with and sprint all out. But if I did that, I’d be toast by 3.1! I tell myself to “go to sleep”, turn the brain off. Relax, keep the effort and let someone ahead of you pull you. I did that. Mile 4: 7:18. I looked at my avg of 7:30s and I was quite happy, and wondered when I could start pushing it and how much… Once I get to the bottom of the park is when I get really frustrated, there’s 100 little turns and that last half a mile (of every nyrr race that ends in Tavern on the Green) seems like 5 miles. I hit the gas and I seemed to have done it right because I had exactly enough to the end of the race. Mile 5: 7:02! Nice negative splits right? Finish times was
Here’s all the splits:
I’d say that’s a perfectly executed race, even if I didn’t have a clear plan or goal!
And here are the official results:
See? 59 degrees? oh Wind? Didn’t even notice!
Finish time: 37:17 Average Pace: 7:28
Previous PR: 35:37. From: June, 2010
Age Grading: 66.70%
Overall Place: 590 of 5522
Gender Place: 84 of 2985
Age Place: 12 of 509
Well, anything that is close to 70% Age Grading works for me. And 12 in my Age Group in one of these, deep-AG-Competition NYRR races, is amazing too. I was quite happily surprised. I am still quite far from my PR a year or two ago, like 2 minutes, but it’s all happy and good with a week to go.
I met up Juan as soon as finished, said hello to a few more friends, and then waited for the rest of the runners. We grabbed one of my bffs and we went to brunch, which is officially how all races have to end, eggs and salmon for everyone!
On the same note, I’ve been trying to stay off crap food for the two weeks of the marathon and I am losing weight! There’s not enough good food everywhere at all times. Oh well, I still am trying!!!!!!
The rest of our Sunday was great. A relaxing weekend (with a race thrown in the mix) is what you need before the NYCM week. There’s so many people to see and things to do. Let’s go at it!