Sunday, March 4, 2007

Coogan's Salsa, Blues and Shamrocks 5k 3.4.07

Race 7 was the Coogan’s Salsa, Blues and Shamrocks 5k (my 6th marathon qualifier). We ran from 168th Street up Fort Washington Avenue to the turnaround in Fort Tryon Park and then back to the start.

Goals: to keep running between water stations, to run 3 sub-9 miles, and to set a new PR (under 28:34 – a 9:12 pace). I would have set a 5k PR in Prospect Park last year, but NYRR had set the course wrong and we ran 3.2, not 3.1. My pace for the race was 9:07, so I really wanted to beat a 9:07 pace, too. The chocolate rule is still in effect. There aren’t very many 5ks in NYC, so it’s been a while for me and I wasn’t sure how I’d do, but I was planning to give it my best (and not just for the chocolate, as I hope you all know).

This race is in my neighborhood (sort of), so I got to sleep in. Well, if I could have slept, I’d have been able to sleep in. I didn’t have to leave until 8 for a 9 am race and I could have left at 8:30, but I wanted to do a 2-mile warm-up first. As I headed around the armory, I (almost literally) bumped into Lou and we chatted briefly. I ran from the start to the 1-mile marker and back, calling thanks to the musicians setting up to play for us as we ran. I refrained from tearing down the hills, to conserve energy for the race. I’m glad I ran this warm-up – I’d forgotten just how bad the hills are. I stretched and lined up and bounced around waiting for the race to start. I couldn’t believe how happy I was when the gun sounded. I was very nervous about setting a PR this time. This is a difficult course, but a fun one. Among the musicians are bagpipers, a steel drum band, a pair of rockers (on guitar and sax), a folk group, a high school band, and, at the turnaround, a banjo player. In just 3.1 miles! Columbia’s cheerleaders and their mascot, Roaree Lion, were also on hand, but I went to Penn (Ivy League Champs) and Columbia is our biggest rival, so I didn’t pay much attention to them. There are always lots of local spectators, too, cheering us along on our run. The first mile is mostly uphill, first gradual, then pretty steep to a rounding curve over the top to a nice downhill, which I tore down, hoping to make up time I might lose later in the race. I skipped the first water station and tore down the hill to the turn-around. This section of the course faces the Cloisters – it’s an amazing view, but I refused to be tempted to slow down to enjoy it. I made a tight turn and headed back up the hill. This is where I lost it. I ran as hard as I could, but I was losing breath, coughing and wheezing. At the top of the hill, the Mother Cabrini High School band was playing “It’s a Small World” (my second favorite Disney song) and I stopped at the water station to try to catch my breath. I checked my watch and realized that I wouldn’t make a sub-9 if I didn’t get a move on, so I dropped my cup in the garbage and took off again. I missed it. I tried to make up the time in the last half mile, though. At the 3-mile marker, I passed Sue (cheering me on so much that I could still hear here a block away), and tried to sprint to the finish. I made it with a clear PR, just over 27 on the official clock, but I was wheezing and gasping the whole way (it was 3 hours before I could breathe normally). I found Sue, grabbed my bag, and we started off on our run home, with Otto. As we passed the bandstand, there were children dancing (maybe salsa). We passed the rockers again and Otto requested Black Sabbath. The sax player said, “Yeah, hold on. No, wait. Don’t hold on. Keep running” and we all laughed. I ran an extra 5 miles after the race to get my long run in for the week, giving me a total of 10 miles for the day. Sue took me through Fort Tryon Park again and then around the Dyckman Fields, which run right along the magnificent Hudson. It was a gorgeous run, especially when it started snowing towards the end! When the weather’s nicer, I’ll take a walk around there and post some pictures.

Official stats: my net time was 26:30 for an 8:32 pace over the 3.1 miles – I set a new PR by over 2 minutes, which means chocolate for me! I was 1186 out of 2873 total runners, putting me in the 59th percentile and 294 out of 1254 female runners, putting me in the 77th percentile by gender! I finished in the top quarter of women!! I also came in 35th in my age group (out of 136 – 74th percentile). It was 34°F (1°C) with 54% humidity and 16mph winds for a wind chill factor of 24°F (-4°C). My mile splits from my watch were: 8:55, 9:02, 7:59 and :46 for the final tenth of a mile (which equals a 7:40 pace!!). Another sub-8 mile – by just one second, but it still starts with a 7, and it came in the 5th mile of the day!

Celebratory treats: Full on chocolate for a 2-minute PR on a 3.1 mile course! I tempted fate by buying a treat ahead of the race, but, my friend, Jolene, had called dibs on any chocolate treats that I didn’t get to eat, so I knew they wouldn’t go to waste. I went to La Maison du Chocolat and bought 2 Cannele (cinnamon ganache – my favorite and La Maison makes the best), 1 Guayaquil (vanilla ganache) and 1 Garrigue (fennel ganache). I also had an ice-cold Orangina – not as a substitute for Dr Pepper, but because I really like it. I did not enjoy these together – that would have been gross. I drank the Orangina with my post-race meal and will be having the chocolates after dinner.

Next up: the New York Colon Cancer Challenge 15k on March 11th (my last real chance for a distance PR during Lent) I’m considering the NYRR 8k and the More Half Marathon, which I would run as a team with Lana.

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: (as always, there’s commentary in the slideshow)

1 comment:

Jamie said...

Awesome job, George! Great to see you in blogland!