Thursday, January 29, 2009

from the archives: 2008 gridiron classic race report

ah, what memories... the giants in a superbowl? could that really have happened, once - oh so long ago?

in the days before this blog, i posted my race reports in various places: typically, the runners world masters forum and kickrunners (coolrunning even earlier). when i looked back at this one, in anticipation of a return to the gridiron classic this weekend (both the race and, later that day, the game), i decided to repost it here.

mostly to remind me how sick i was last year at this time - so i'd stop grousing about the lousy weather and be thankful i wasn't spending time down with the flu! but, also to look back wistfully at how the giants surprised the world by winning the superbowl that night :D

NYRR Gridiron Classic, 4M
Sunday, February 3, 2008
Central Park, New York

Given the nasty bit of Influenza that dropped in on me this week and kept me home from work for 3 straight days, it hardly seemed likely that I would line up for this race. I had intended to run the 4 miler as speedwork, with a 26-27 minute target. It would have capped off my last high mileage week before I traveled to India on business. I don’t often get in much serious running when I travel, so that trip would have been a low mileage recovery week. But the best laid plans so often go awry.

After an unpleasant 4 straight days not running, I returned to the roads yesterday [saturday] with an easy 4 miler. Aside from the hacking cough, it wasn’t as bad as I expected. Then I put in a few hours at my office to catch up on stuff that I couldn’t get to during the week. When I got home, I ran another 4 miles in the late afternoon. Those 8 miles, together with the 6 miles I ran on my last pre-sick day, gave me 14 miles heading into the race.

I’ve run the Gridiron Classic 4 times, three of those were back in the days when it was a 5K race. I last ran the 4 mile version [in 2006], in 25:23. Since I was still relatively weak from my bout with the flu, and now on day three taking the wonder drug Tamiflu, my 26 minute target was useless. The two 4 milers I ran yesterday were each around an 8:30 pace - so I reset my target for 30 minutes. This didn’t seem too optimistic given the short distance.

What really amazed me was the huge turnout - helped in no small part by the great weather. The race was run over a horseshoe shaped course - starting at 68th Street on East Drive, running north to the 102nd Street transverse, then south the finish of West Drive at 68th Street. Running wise, it disposes of Cat Hill in the first mile, then a nice recovery running up the East Drive to the 2 mile mark on the Transverse, followed by the rolling hills along the West Drive in Mile 3 and a nice downhill finish in the last mile.

As expected, the large field made the first mile rough going - I wasn’t pleased with the 7:59 split. Mile two was much more relaxed in 7:27, and Mile three was in 7:39, for a split of 23:06. At that point I felt pretty good and decided to push the pace and see if I could squeeze under 30 minutes. Since a good portion of that last mile was a net downhill, a sub 7 wasn’t too far a stretch. So I was pleasantly surprised by the 6:51, which got me across the finish in 29:56! Nice way to start off Superbowl Sunday.

Now, if only the Giant’s win tonight!

i wonder how that game turned out ;D

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