Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Race Reports - Part 2

Now that I have regaled you with the tale of the NYRR Sprint Triathlon, if a little sleepily and incompletely, let me tell more race stories. First, there was the Achilles Hope and Possibility 5 Miler. This one took place on June 26th, so it's a little embarrassing that I never wrote about it. Now that it's been awhile, I don't remember what I had going on the night before, but as usual, I didn't get enough sleep or prepare. My biggest problem since I started racing has been my desire to not make too many sacrifices when it comes to social events. Shallow? Perhaps. But training can be a lonely endeavor. Now, of course, that needs to change. And I'm getting off topic.

Back to the race. I don't remember what I had going on the night before, but I didn't have more than a few hours of sleep. Typically, I go to bed very optimistic, even if it's very late and I know I'm in for a rough race morning. That's why I knew I was in trouble when I was already dreading the race even before going to sleep. I did my usual set my alarm an hour too early, snooze approximately fifty times and wake up after an hour of unsatisfying sleep routine. I woke up wondering why on Earth I'd signed up for this race, drank a reGen (yes, they're recovery beverages, but it was quick and I was running late) and stumbled out the door.

I arrived in the nick of time and got into the last corral just as it was beginning to move. As a side note, it was my first yellow bib race and I was very proud even though I knew that my race time that morning would not even approach the time on my bib. And it didn't, but I managed to stay just under a 9 minute mile, which was the goal I set for myself after taking all factors into account.

The next race I never wrote about was the Queens Half Marathon, which took place on the last weekend of July. Once again, I did not do a good job of getting to bed early. I think I feel asleep around 1am and had to get up around 5 to get to Queens by the 7am start time. To be fair, though, the day was beautiful. It was way better than the weekend before when I did the sprint tri. This race was also pretty cool because I had fantastic company the whole way.

It all started when my friend Jared mentioned to me that a client of his (he's got a new gig as a personal trainer, guys!) was also running the Queens Half. For those of you who have read previous entries of my blog, you may remember that Jared and I have done a number of long runs together and you might wonder why he wasn't doing this one himself. In answer to that, all I have to say is that conditions were much less pleasant last year and he's since vowed never to do the Queens Half ever again. So that's that. But he mentioned that his client was running it and that we might meet up beforehand. I didn't think much of it at first. Then, the night before the race I received a text from a strange number. It was Jared's client! FYI - her name is Geri and she's running her first NYC Marathon for charity. Check her out on twitter (@runlikeawoman). I thought it would be pretty cool to have company on the run. We texted back and forth and I discovered that her goal was to break 3 hours for her half. I was pretty excited about the prospect of running with her to get there. I felt like it was a way to pay forward all the times my friend Sharon (who, by the way, has qualified for Boston on multiple occasion) ran with me.

On race morning I had to take a different subway route since the 7 train was not running from Times Square, as it normally is. This sort of thing always makes me afraid of missing a race. Fortunately, though, I was in good company and had plenty of runners to follow. I got to Queens-Corona park around 6:30 and went to pick up my bib and drop off my bag before finding Geri. After exchanging another round of texts, I finally found her waiting in line to use the restroom. I had the pleasure of meeting both her and her boyfriend, Dan, before heading to the start. The race actually started about 10 minutes late, which is very unusual for NYRR and had us wondering what was going on. We never found out, but finally did get started running. I did my best to keep us on pace and keep Geri from thinking too much about the task at hand. Hopefully I succeeded at the last one. I took a leaf from Sharon's book and tried my best to think of all kinds of stories and interesting factoids. I think I could've won the Chatterbox Award. Between my talking and Dan catching us every time we made another pass at the middle of the park, Geri had some good distractions.

I am extremely proud to report that Geri not only finished in under 3 hours (2:54, to be exact), she also did it without any walking at all! I was very impressed. And the finish was beautiful. Here's a picture of the very end, before we rounded the last turn:

It was a great race. In my experience as a runner, I can't ask for much more than good weather and great company come race day, and I had plenty of both for this race.

Finally I come to my final late race report. Last Wednesday I ran a 5K in Riverside Park called the Bass Ackwards 5k. This is apparently a series they hold over the course of the summer, so I'm looking forward to the opportunity to do more of them. This race specifically, though, went pretty poorly. I was hoping to at least be near my eventual goal of 24 minutes, but I was nowhere close. First of all, the foot pain was still an issue. Second, I got lost! Third, the last mile was ALL hills. They weren't horrendous, Harlem-style hills, but there were enough of them that, by the time I hit the last couple I wanted to scream "COME ON!"

The clock read 29 minutes when I finally pulled in. It was very disappointing and I hope to get back into the swing of things very soon. Those are the kinds of races I like to avoid. But even with that, I learned a few valuable lessons. First, that I need to pay better attention to the course and second that I have a lot of hillwork to do.

And finally, my catchup race report comes to a close. This doesn't quite fulfill my update requirement because I have yet to even mention my big news, but I guess I'll do that now and write about it later. My big announcement is that approximately 1 year from now, on August 12th, 2012, I will be competing in the first Ironman race held in and around NYC. Yes, I've signed up for an Ironman. Not only that, but I'm going sober for the whole year prior. Further discussion to follow!

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