Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Half and Half Weekend

Whew. What a weekend. A lot of running, but a number of other things as well. But I'll start with the running since that's the point of this whole thing. Saturday was the 5th Avenue Mile, which I was very excited about. I'd practiced a couple of times on the treadmill with Jared with success, so was hoping I would be able to repeat at the race itself. On Friday night, though, I began to worry a little. How would I pace myself? I planned to go by quarter miles, but worried about going out too slow in the first quarter and then having to catch up for the rest of the race. I knew I would wear a watch, which would help me pace over the entire race, but I worried about that first quarter.

It was a valid concern, as it turns out. I ended up running the first quarter mile in 1:20, which was WAY too fast. Once I saw that, I panicked and pulled back, still hoping I'd be able to make it under 7. The second quarter must have been very significantly slower, because I remember being right on pace at the half but still feeling drained from the efforts of that first part. I think I was still either just on track or barely off after the fourth quarter, but by that point I could barely pay attention to my watch and do the math anymore.

As I crossed the finish line, I looked at my watch and read a few seconds over 7 minutes. It wasn't my official time, but since I'd started my watch right at the mat, I knew my official time wouldn't be more than a second different. Later in the day I checked back on the website and found that my official time was 7:05. I feel like it was partly poor pacing, as I already discussed, but also that I didn't have enough presence of mind to kick at the end. If I had just buckled down in the last 100 meters and pushed it, I think I would have made it. But I suppose I'll have to wait until next year to find out for sure (unless I find another timed mile somewhere in the city which, realistically, is probably not hard to do).

On the bright side, I went to post-race dim sum with my roommate Monica. We went to a place called Nom Wah Tea Parlor which is run by Wilson Tang, who is also a runner and triathlete! He'd done the race that morning as well and was wearing his race t-shirt! Also, dim sum was delicious. Highly recommended to anyone in the area or visiting.

Even though the race was only a mile, I was wiped out for the rest of the day. Not even a nap could make it much better. But I got myself up, out and about again for the evening and managed to make it back in around midnight to get to bed for the 18 mile Marathon Tune-Up that was taking place on Sunday. That might sound late, but I'm actually terrible about getting to bed at a decent hour before a race so it was an improvement, if only a slight one.

I woke up Sunday morning a little before 6 surprisingly refreshed even though I wasn't expecting much out of this race. First, I'd just been feeling more tired than usual. Second, I simply haven't done well at this race for the past two years. I typically start off strong and then reach a point somewhere around mile 12 or 13 where I begin to doubt myself, take too many walking breaks, etc.

Sunday was different. I started the race and decided to count down, taking it one mile at a time and finding a small victory every time I passed a mile marker. Not once did I lose hope or steam. Actually, that's not entirely true. I lost steam at points, but not for long. A big difference this time around was that my ups and downs continued through the whole race. Typically, once I'm at a certain level of fatigue I can't recover and my performance continues to slip. On Sunday, I was pleasantly surprised when I was able to recover each time from these bouts of tiredness. One in particular was my third trip up Harlem Hill (around mile 13). I'm not going to lie, it was hard. Way harder than a normal trip up that hill. I was probably doing a 13 minute mile at the top and I was concerned that I would only falter for the rest of that final lap (each one is 6 miles). I was wrong! Once I hit the downhill, I was back to my 10 minute/mile pace.

There was a water stop at every mile. I think I probably skipped about half of the stops altogether, ran through five or six of the other half, and walked through the last two or three. This worked surprisingly well. I never felt waterlogged and was always able to start up again after the ones I walked through. As for fuel, I had a gel (they had them at about mile 8). I didn't eat it until a few miles after grabbing it. I knew I needed to eat it, but it was about as unpleasant an experience as I anticipated. Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to eat it at a water stop with Gatorade. Let me just say that I have not vomited in a long, long time but that's what I was reminded of when eating my "Double Latte" flavored gel. I made sure to wash it down with Gatorade immediately so that my stomach wouldn't have time to change its mind about the whole affair.

Alright, well there are still a few things I want to discuss, but I'm tired and I need to get up early to have my butt kicked by a Team Lipstick bike workout.

No comments:

Post a Comment