Thursday, May 22, 2008

Wall Street Run 5.20.08 and Media Challenge #1 5.21.08

Hi all,

To avoid overwhelming you, this will be a double recap, covering my 2nd and 3rd races in 5 days. I ran the Wall Street 5k on Tuesday, May 20th, and the first Media Challenge on Wednesday, May 21st.

Race number 14 was the Wall Street Run. We ran 3 miles through the Wall Street area, starting at the World Financial Center, running past the World Trade Center, then zigzagging across the island until we could run back up the west side to finish at the World Financial Center.

Goals: to run between the water stations and to finish in under 30. I had just run the Alumni Run on Saturday and still have the first Media Challenge tomorrow night, so I didn’t want to burn myself out, especially because this race is so crowded and it’s hard to run fast, anyway.

My friend, Andrea, had signed up to run this race, too, so I picked up my gear and headed over to her place (she lives near the World Financial Center). Andrea has a year-old daughter, so she wasn’t able to train much. I think the last time she raced was the Wall Street Run back when it was run to and from the South Street Seaport, which was before my running time. I didn’t tell her, because I didn’t want to pressure her, but I had decided before the race to stay with her the whole time and help her along, if she needed it. We walked over to the start, I dropped my bag, and we lined up, snaking our way through the uncorralled crowd to try to get closer to the front and ahead of as many walkers as we could. We couldn’t hear the announcements, but finally heard the horn and started our walk towards the start. We finally started running and started off much faster than I expected. The first few twists and turns went pretty well. We hit the first mile at 9:13, but Andrea thought we’d been running for about 10 minutes, which I took as a good sign. Every time I looked at her, she was focused and determined. I didn’t keep a running commentary (because I’m not good enough at running to maintain a conversation), but I would point things out or say things just to distract her. At one point, during the second mile, we were in the middle of the snake and could see runners on the parallel streets to the right and left of the street we were on. That is always one of my favorite moments of this particular course. We passed the water station and Andrea said she didn’t need to stop, so we kept going. I had warned Andrea that I would insult her baby to make sure she kept up with me and, at the start, I was telling myself to give her the first mile, but we were nearly at the second mile marker before she started dropping back. I first mentioned that I thought her baby was developing a squint. Andrea told me later that she hadn’t heard me clearly, but she reached out to grab at me, so I know she understood the gist of it! We came around towards the turn back up the west side and I told her I was going to stick with her to help her avoid the temptation of going home as we passed her building. She was doing really well, but when we hit the final stretch along the river, the course bottled up and I lost sight of her. I kept looking for her, but with so many runners in such a narrow place, I finally just gave up and tried to pick it up. The last 100 yards to the finish line were jam-packed and we had to slow to a jog to get across. I pulled off to the side to wait for Andrea, but she had crossed behind me. She told me later that she was nearly directly behind me, which is why I couldn’t see her. I was so happy for her! We finished the last mile (though I think the 2nd mile marker was long, so mile 3 might have really been short) in 9:04!! She did an amazing job and I’m hoping she’ll run some more and maybe join me for more races. She’ll be taunting me about my nieces to help me keep up with her in no time!!

Official stats: my official time was 28:45 for an average pace of 9:35. My splits were 9:13, 10:33, and 9:03. I was 3090 out of 4301 total runners, putting me in the 29th percentile. It was 50°F with 93% humidity.

Celebratory treats: My parents had sent me some Almond Royales and Scotchmallows from See’s candies, so I shared them with Andrea.

Race pictures are available here:

Race number 15 was the first Media Challenge. We ran twice and then some around the lower loop in Central Park for a total of 3.5 miles.

Goals: I didn’t have any real goals. I haven’t run this distance since August of last year. I checked my PR, which I set in August last year, and it was 29:40. My PR for the previous year was 32:10, so I hoped to finish somewhere in between.

I got to the Park early and ran a loop to warm-up. The rest of the teams showed up and it started to rain. It wasn’t too bad and I’d brought a plastic bag for my jacket. I started off at a fairly comfortable pace and tried to hold it through the race. It was a struggle to get around the first loop, especially when a guy, running against traffic (we run the race counter-clockwise, which is the official direction, according to the arrows painted in the lanes, so we had the right of way and he should have been yielding to us), came towards us yelling “Step off!” as he came. I had to step around him, but I yelled that he was going in the wrong direction. He said something back, but I couldn’t hear what it was. My annoyance kept me going and I started hoping I’d see him on when I came around on my second loop. I stopped for water, as usual, and walked until I got to the start of the final loop. I started running again, picking off some of the people who had passed me while I walked. As I came down to the bottom of the Park, I saw the step-off guy coming at me again, so, as he approached, I yelled “STEP OFF” and totally startled him. He responded by telling me to “Run another mile, white trash.” I was too amused to be offended by the racial slur. At least I didn’t elbow him, which Sue suggested was the appropriate response to his rudeness. With the rain and the humidity, I ended up walking twice on the second loop, including a break to use my inhaler. I managed to get back on track and ran across the 72nd Street Transverse and down to the finish without stopping, but I had no kick left and was extremely nauseous. I gave Sue my card and learned that I was the 3rd female finisher from my team, which means that I was a scored runner!* Sue was running a cool-down, so I grabbed my jacket and headed off to the Time Warner Center to shop for treats.

Official stats: my official time was 30:28, for an average pace of 8:43. My splits were 15:29 (for 1.8 miles) and 15:06 (for 1.7 miles). I was the 42nd female (we track by gender in these races). It was in the low 50s, humid, and rainy.

I found out today that my company took second place and that I’d won a trophy for second fastest female master. Again, this is because Sue, who was jogging the course because she’d raced track Tuesday night (running a 5:27 1500 and a 73-second 400 in her leg of the 4x400), came in second overall. I hadn’t expected to win anything because our young fast runners were held up in a meeting and the first four women from our team were all masters. I didn’t realize that we had all finished ahead of any masters running on other teams. I don’t have my trophy yet (I skipped the after-party), but I’ll take a picture when I get it.

Celebratory treats: I stopped at Bouchon Bakery on the way home and had half of a chocolate chunk cookie and half of a double chocolate chunk cookie. Tomorrow, I’ll have the chocolate Bouchon – I find they taste better the second day.

Next up: Japan Day 4-miler (6/1) and possibly the NYRR Anniversary Run (it starts at 5:30 am on 6/4, so I have to think very carefully about it, especially given the MTA’s complete cock-up of the trains in my area!)

*The Media Challenges are scored by the finishing place of each of the top 5 male finishers and each of the top 3 female finishers, so, the lower the overall score, the better.


Jamie said...

Congrats, George! Well done. I can't imagine those big city races, makes it fun reading your reports. Have a great weekend!

LeesMyth said...

I love that you motivated your friend by insulting her baby - priceless!!

Laura said...

That guy sounded like a complete jerk, so I'm glad you stood your ground and came in 3rd! CONGRATULATIONS!

Amy@RunnersLounge said...

Congrats on your two races! Job well done in supporting your friend through her race. Sometimes the support role can be tougher than the PR race.