Race 29 was the 18-Mile Tune-Up. We ran three counterclockwise loops of Central Park, starting on the East Drive at the 102nd Street Transverse and finishing on the 102nd Street Transverse.
Goals: To run between water stations; to set a PR; and to finish in 3:03 (10:10 pace, which is what McMillan Running Calculator suggests I should be running for endurance training, based on my 5k PR). I wanted to run the first loop in 1:05 or less, the second loop in 1:00 or less and the third loop in less than an hour. I also wanted to see how far I could go without refueling (not to be mistaken for hydrating).
Because of the mile race yesterday, I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel, especially because I didn’t do a cool-down run. I expected to be a bit sore, but was feeling okay. I got to the park early (more random disruptions by the MTA) and milled around a bit before heading over to the start. Mary Wittenberg told us that this was the earliest race start in NYRR history (7 am). While it can be nice to be part of historical events, I would just as soon have had more sleep. I took it easy going up the first set of hills and just tried to focus on keeping my pace down (up?). My downfall in the distance races (more than a half marathon) seems to be going out too fast and I really wanted to try to stay on pace today. Sometimes, I felt like I was plodding, but I reined myself in. There were only 2 water stations with Gatorade and they were both on the East side of the park, which seemed very strange to me. I would have preferred to have a Gatorade station on each side of the Park. Oh, well. I finished the first loop in just over an hour and was happy that I’d stayed on pace. I continued around the Park for the second time. Each time I ran through a section, I would remind myself that I only had two more times (then one more time, then on my last time) to get through it. That helped me quite a bit. And, yes, the first time around, I was telling myself that on the next loop, I’d only have one more time around and on the last loop it would be my last time. The second time around, I was telling myself that the next time around I would be on my last time. I like counting – what can I say? I also wondered when I would get lapped by the front-runners. Happily, I was in the 8th mile before that happened. On the second loop, I worked hard to keep from running too fast. My splits seemed to be pretty even, given the hills, but my knee started bothering me on the west side, so I stopped for a stretch break at the water station just after the 72nd Transverse, resulting in my only 11:00+ mile. As I passed the 102nd Street Transverse, Ian, the announcer, was telling us to keep going and not slow down at all because we’d be tempted to stop with the other finishers. I completed the second loop in under 1:02. I had promised my legs that if they could keep their pace down, I’d give them their way on the third loop. I had planned to try to keep my pace down through the 15th mile and then go all out, but I was tired and sore and wanted it over with, so I just ran. I took longer breaks at the water stations, stretching and doing knee swings. As I came up the East side, I started moving up, passing runners here and there and, while I didn’t quite get up to a sprint, I did manage to run a 9:11 for the final mile. The final mile was just under an hour. I was sooooo sore. I’m really not sure about the additional 8 miles I’ll need to cover for the marathon.
Official stats: I finished in 3:01:53 for an average pace of 10:06 (a PR by almost 6 minutes). I was 2475 out of 3523 total finishers, putting me in the 30th percentile. My splits were: 10:30, 10:36, 10:01, 9:38, 10:25, 9:48, 9:49, 10:51, 10:12, 9:44, 11:11, 9:47, 9:48, 10:35, 9:43, 9:33, 10:37, 9:11. It was 65° with 63% humidity and 5 mph winds.
Celebration treats: As soon as I left church, I went to Taco Bell for a Cheesy Beefy Melt (I substitute Baja sauce for sour cream) and I ate it on the train ride home, where I had a slushy Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper and a Chipwich. My treat for the Fifth Avenue Mile PR is a dark chocolate ganache cake.
Next up: The Nike Women’s Half Marathon (10/21); the Tower of Terror 13k (10/27); and the NYC Marathon (11//4)
Thank you for all your support!
I’m trying a new photo site: flickr. I forgot to get a picture after this race (first race without a picture!), but photos from the 5th Avenue Mile are available here: http://www.flickr.com/gp/7411850@N04/8gy6Y8