Race 8 was the Colon Cancer Challenge 15k (my 7th marathon qualifier). This is a nice course: we start on the East Side, south of the 72nd Street Transverse, run counter-clockwise around the lower 5-mile loop (crossing at the 102nd Street Transverse), then run the middle 4-mile loop, finishing on the 72nd Street Transverse. The Colon Cancer Challenge offered a choice of a 4-mile or a 15k race, so I opted for the 15k, because I wanted to make it my long run, too.
Goals: to keep running between water stations, to run all of the miles at sub-10 pace, and to set a new PR (under 1:34:36 – a 10:10 pace). I was also hoping to break my 10-Mile pace of 9:48, which I set in January this year. The chocolate rule is still in effect. This was my 3rd 15k and the last one was over a year ago, so I wasn’t sure about strategy. I had also decided to wear my new Asics (I won a free pair in a contest at the Running Company). I’ve only worn them twice before and only on the treadmill, so this was going to be a real test for the shoes.
Daylight savings time came early this year, so I changed the time on my cell phone on Friday night, so I wouldn’t forget to change it the night before the race. I was up early anyway (I went to bed at 11 on my cell phone), so I headed down to Central Park to check out the Wellness fair before my run. I caught the finish of the 4-mile race – the leader came in at 20:05! My friend, Jany, was running the 4-mile race, too, so I tried to catch her finish, but I missed her (she finished 2nd in her age group!!). I caught up with her at the Wellness fair. It wasn’t much of a fair, but I did get a free book, The Colon Cancer Survivors’ Guide. I hope I don’t ever need it, either for myself or anyone I know. I dropped my bag and coat at the 15k bag check (running into Mayumi, another friend, who was also running the 15k, but much faster than I ever could), then headed out for my warm-up. I ran down the East side and around the bottom of the park, then turned around after about 11 minutes and ran back to the start of the race. I looked for Bonnie, but didn’t see her. I ran into Mark at the 9-mile marker and we hung out until the start of the race. I wasn’t sure how to pace this race, so I tried to run fairly easy. With the warm-up, my legs were feeling pretty good and I just let them go. The first mile went by pretty easily, but when I got to the second mile marker, my watch said I’d run the mile in 8:53 (and I’d walked through the water station and stopped to retie my tights, which were slipping down), so I decided to slow down a bit because I didn’t want to burn out early. Then, as I passed the 7-mile marker and saw that the 3-mile marker was much farther along than the 2-mile marker had been from the 6-mile marker, I realized that the 2nd mile was short and the third mile was long. I decided to not worry too much about the mile markers, since, obviously, NYRR was up to its usual efficient ways (more on this to come). I rounded the bottom of the Park, still moving easily, but getting tired. And you know what that means! Somehow, my mile splits starting picking up. Just after my second time up Cat, I heard my name and it was Paul, another friend. We ran together a little bit, but I was running out of air and walked through water station just after the 7-mile marker, using my inhaler when I’d finished my water. I put on the push and caught up with him as we headed up the flat section of the East Side (upper 80s to about 100th Street). We ran together to the next water station (he was running it slowly because of a hamstring injury, so I was able to keep up) and then he moved on again, while I walked through. As I came off the 102nd Street Transverse, I knew the next mile would be a little slower, because of the rolling hills, but hoped to pick it up again when I hit the 8-mile marker, where the course flattens out again. Just before the crest of a hill, I passed an ambulance in the middle of the rec. lane. Whatever had happened, everything was now inside the ambulance. I hope the person(s) involved is okay! At the next mile marker, I came within the length of the water station of catching Paul again, but then he picked up speed and I just couldn’t catch up (not to mention I walked through the water station, of course). I got through the 9th mile okay, but didn’t really have much left for a sprint. I finished on the transverse, hoping to beat my previous PR on the official clock. I did. I caught up with Paul after the finish and we got water and bagels, then headed up for baggage. I tried to see Bonnie finish, but was still getting my bag. We connected by cell phone and she had run a great race – sub-10 pace!
Rant section: If people know they’re going to be walking, they should start under the pace marker which reads “Walkers.” No-one should have to pass walkers in the first mile. Pedestrians who are not racing should find a better place to walk their dogs than in the race lane against the direction of the runners! There are two traffic lanes that we’re not supposed to be running in so that pedestrians can use the park while we’re racing – so use them!!! If pedestrians want to cross the race path, they should do it quickly and carefully, not start across the rec. lane and stop in the middle of the rec. lane. And, if the Parks Department insists that we stay in the recreation lane for our races, then I think they should be keeping the trucks out of the rec. lane when we’re racing. Yes, that’s right. At some point in the 9th mile, I had to run around a huge truck that was pulled out completely across the rec. lane. I don’t know how long he was stuck there, but I hope someone got him out of the way without hurting any of the runners. Another classic example of NYRR’s efficiency – Paul and I got bagels from the last bin of bagels. The bagels were given out by the 2s and 3s to the 4-milers (I know because I saw them walking around with bags of bagels after their finish), which meant that the 15k-racers didn’t all get bagels. Forget all of us, there were out of them shortly after I finished and there were still about 900 runners behind me! That’s just wrong!!!!!
Official stats: my net time was 1:26:25 for a 9:17 pace over the 9.3 miles – I set a new PR by over 8 minutes, which means chocolate for me! I was 1462 out of 2388 total runners, putting me in the 39th percentile. It was 43°F (6°C) with 74% humidity and 3 mph winds. My mile splits from my watch were: 9:31, 8:53, 10:06, 9:21, 9:31, 9:18, 9:06, 9:23, 8:37, and 2:43 for the final three-tenths of a mile.
Celebratory treats: Full on chocolate for an 8-minute PR! I went on a mini-shopping spree at Whole Foods on my way home. They didn’t have the chocolate treats I’d been eyeing all week, but I found something suitable: Pearl River 4-star Chocolate Supreme Cake (see pictures). It’s delicious, but not eating chocolate regularly is taking its toll on my chocolate stamina. I can only eat a few bites at a time. That’s okay – it’ll last that much longer! My treats also included some Zamarano cheese with a variety of Carr’s crackers and ice-cold Orangina.
Next up: The NYRR 8k on March 17th and the More Half Marathon on March 25th. Don’t look for chocolate treats on these two. I’ve never run an 8k before, so there’s no record to beat and my distance PR for the half marathon is 2:03:55, which I set in Anaheim, which is flat.
Thank you for all your support!
Here is a link to some random pictures, including today’s picture, some pictures I took at the reservoir and my treats: http://new.photos.yahoo.com/album?c=mytripsandraces&aid=576460762393146760&pid=&wtok=gri6X6wUN3KFXF7nuf6MZw--&ts=1173654008&.src=ph. (as always, there’s commentary in the slideshow)