Thursday, February 5, 2009

gridiron classic 4 miler: race report

it almost seems like the gridiron classic 4 miler race took place weeks ago because immediately afterwards was the new york ultrarunning grand prix awards brunch and 2 days later, the empire state building run-up. i thought about skipping this race report, but decided to keep it short: just the facts ;)

this race was basically a speed workout. it took the place of the pre-awards brunch fun run on long island. still, emmy and i barely made it to the start on time. from parking east of lexington avenue, then the trek across the park to drop off bags and, finally, the crowd of runners (5300+ finishers!) all headed to the start, we managed to squeeze into the corral with just two minutes to spare. it was a repeat of the frantic rush to line up for the fred lebow 5 miler last month!

my plan was to run 6:40 miles and try, in the last mile, to bring it in under 26:38 (my last 4 miler in the park). the race went off without fanfare and i managed a 6:35 first mile. it was good to get cat hill out of the way right up front. mile two went by in 6:28, for 13:03 halfway into the race. despite the good start, i inexplicably gave back too much time on the west drive with a 6:57 mile 3 - and went into the last mile with a split of 20:00 even.

at that point i had caught up to, and passed, my old wtc teammate, john. i was confident the last mile would be a sub 6:40 and, despite the poor mile 3, happy with my race to that point. then one of the two chip fasteners snapped - argh! suddenly the chip was flopping, annoyingly, side to side on the remaining fastener. i spent a good chunk of time during the last mile looking down at my foot to make sure it was still with me - argh, again!

that malfunction aside, i finished the last mile in 6:43 - a toss up between bad karma with one fastener snapping off and good karma with the remaining fastener keeping the chip with me for the rest of the race. my time of 26:43, 6:41 pace, was mildly disappointing at 5 seconds slower than the holiday 4 miler this past december. but, overall, i was still pleased with the outcome (and the result was much better than my 2008 gridiron classic performance).

here are my race photos.

next up: i had planned on the bronx half this weekend, but will probably switch to the boston build-up 20k in southport.

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