Thursday, September 23, 2010

2010 nyc marathon tune-up: race report

i almost skipped this report because the first thing i did after i crossed the finish line sunday morning was accidentally erase my splits - argh! after dutifully recording each split for 18 miles i was more than amazed at my inability to remember the proper sequence for storing them on my ironman. i could easily plead mental fatigue - which was definitely there - but this new watch has bedeviled me more times than i'd like to remember. since my three loops were relatively consistent, the missing splits shouldn't matter too much.

this was my third consecutive tune-up, and it almost didn't happen because the date conflicted with the fall frolic 30k in stratford, connecticut. i switched races, and only registered for the tune-up on friday, because i needed one more nyrr race (together with the 2010 nycm) to complete my 9+1 requirement for the 2011 nyc marathon. during the race i kept marveling at the wisdom of running 18 miles to get 1 credit - when next weekend is the 5th avenue mile and it also nets 1 credit!

as for the race itself, my plan was to run 8 minute miles; basically three 48 minute loops. emmy and i carpooled in - and despite leaving my house at 6, still ran into time trouble getting to the start! it took so long to find a spot that she dropped me off at 103rd and lexington avenue, while she continued to look for parking. on the way over to central park i fell in with a huge crowd of runners on 102nd street. that's when i realized it would be a crowded race! when i got to the main road i heard announcements that the corrals would close in 5 minutes - and i still had to get over to the transverse and drop off my bag!

i made it to the 3 corral just as it closed - way too close for comfort. except for seeing my friend steve at the baggage check, it would be a long time before i caught sight of a familiar face that morning. in fact, it was steve who i saw mid-way through the third loop, and then my old friend sal, accompanying an achilles runner, later in the third loop. i didn't see emmy during the entire race - not until i crossed the finish line and found her waiting there for me! but i've gotten ahead of myself.

the first mile, heading north into the harlem hills, took me about 8:20; and the second, along the west side hills, also clocked in above 8 minutes. this wasn't an auspicious start - and got me to wondering if 48 minute loops were doable under the circumstances! but i got my head into the running and managed to finish the first loop in roughly 47:50 - right on target. as i started on the second loop i wondered if i'd get through the next 2 miles in under an 8 minute pace. i remember feeling relieved when both came in the 7:50's.

the second loop of the park turned out to be my best of the three. my split for the second 6 miles was just under 47 minutes - which gave me a cushion of just over a minute to maintain the sub-8 minute pace for the final loop of the park. i definitely needed it because that one became a struggle to deal with the mid-pack runners that i had begun to catch and the mental fatigue that had crept up on me (i really wished for my ipod during those last miles). the toughest was mile 17 - and cat hill. that smile gets ever more wicked each time around!

but i managed to keep it together and finished strong in 2:23:03 - a 7:57 pace. i was more than pleased to have gotten the race over with - and made it in under my target (even if it was 3+ minutes slower than 2009). emmy had finished 2 minutes ahead of me - and, as i found out afterwards, went straight to her corral without checking a bag. she took first in her age group! on the way out of the park we ran into anthony, wayne, herb, and eric. they each logged some pre-race miles before the start.

here are some race photos.

next up is the "trail-mix" 6 hour run in queens this weekend. my next nyrr race will be the nyc marathon!

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