Race number 2 (1st 2009 marathon-qualifying race) was the Fred LeBow 5-miler. This was the first race of a very important year for NYRR. This is their 50th year and I’m hoping for some really fun events in celebration. The bib itself commemorates the years and the t-shirt is a special tribute to Fred LeBow, who was instrumental in taking the marathon out of Central Park and across the 5 boroughs of New York City. There is a statue of him timing us all as we pass the Engineers Gate.
Goals: to run between the water stations and to run 47:30 or better (45:06 is my 5-mile PR).
Because I’d done so well without a warm-up at the 5k, I wanted to see what I could do with a warm-up, so I got to Central Park early, but not early enough to manage the changes. I guess there’s construction going on or something because the race start was shifted back along the East Drive. I dropped my bag and had time for a 20-minute warm-up. I bumped into Mark – well, he bumped into me – and we chatted a minute, then I took off, very slowly. I just couldn’t seem to get my legs to move. I turned around about 8 minutes into the run and took only 7 minutes to get back to where I’d started, so I thought things might be okay. I ducked under the tape at the 9-minute-mile marker, but didn’t see anyone I knew there.
The horn sounded and we were off, but very slowly. We were hemmed in by the tape and then by the narrowness of the 102nd Street Transverse. It took a lot of effort to get out and around so that I could run comfortably. Well, there was really nothing comfortable about my running. My legs felt dead, as if I’d been running for 10 miles, not less than 2. Every step was a real struggle and the “stop” switch in my head was really looking appealing. I made it to the first water station and walked through it, wheezing slightly, but pretty sure I could get into stride once I’d had this brief rest. I was wrong. I felt even more dead heading towards the second water station. And it took forever to get there! It was about 2 miles after the first one. About halfway through the race, it dawned on me why I was having so much trouble. I’d completely forgotten that I’d given blood on Monday and that, of course, was affecting my performance. It also explained why I’d been so dehydrated, tired and lethargic all week.* At that point, I knew that it didn’t matter how badly I wanted it, my body would not be able to overcome the loss of a pint of fluid. I quit racing. I kept running, but started taking walk breaks and, when I hit Cat Hill, I walked all the way up it. My focus right now is the Manhattan Half and I didn’t want to jeopardize that race by knocking my body out of training. I did promise to myself that I would run from the water station to the finish and I was able to keep going for that last mile or so. Somehow, I even managed to put on a finishing sprint, though it wasn’t very fast (but still faster than I’d been running). I looked for Mark and Roxy at the finish, but was told by a volunteer that the hot chocolate was on the Transverse and it wasn’t. I was too tired to walk back to the finish, so I just went home.
Lesson learned: When setting goals, be sure to factor in all elements that might affect your race!
Official stats: my official time was 48:10 for a 9:38 pace. My splits were 9:25, 9:17, 9:13, 11:21, and 8:59. I was 3030 out of 4409 total runners, putting me in the 31st percentile. It was 44°F with 53% humidity.
Consolation treats: I passed out when I got home, sleeping for an hour and a half, without even realizing I’d fallen asleep. I had my slushy Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper, of course, but I saved my treat for this morning, when I had peppermint hot chocolate with peppermint marshmallows and a chocolate walnut bun from Fay Da Bakery.
Next up: The Manhattan Half Marathon on January 27th.
Pictures are available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/7411850@N04/sets/72157603703635198/.
*I usually give platelets, which don’t have much effect at all on me, because I get back my blood volume and the platelets are regenerated in 3 days.