Wednesday, June 4, 2008

NYRR 50th Anniversary Run and my 100th NYRR Race!!

Hi all,

Race number 17 was the NYRR 50th Anniversary Run. We ran the lower 5-mile loop counter-clockwise, starting and finishing at Tavern on the Green.

Goals: i) to run between the water stations; ii) to set a PR (sub 45:06); and iii) to finish in under 45.

This race was capped without prior notice by the NYRR and I hadn’t remembered signing up for it (I’d been debating whether or not I wanted to get up early enough to get to a 5:30 am start), but then I received the e-mail from NYRR with the race details, so, after the Japan Day race, I stopped by the NYRR office to pick up my gear. There wasn’t any, so I just thought it was a mistake. Yesterday, though, the reminder message was still on my mind and I decided to call the NYRR to ask about it. Turns out, they did have a bib for me! Luckily, I was able to stop by again after work to pick up my gear – no race day pick-up for this one!

Unfortunately, the trains are bizarrely screwed up between midnight and 5 am, so I had to get up before 4 am to get to the start. It’s normally 45 minutes at most to get to the start, but this morning, I left the house just after 4 am (because I’d checked the train schedule and there was supposed to be a train at 4:11), waited half an hour for the downtown train, which runs on the downtown track as a shuttle, so there are only 2 each hour, had to cross over to the downtown platform at 168th Street, wait there for the train to take me the rest of the way, and arrived at the start at 5:25. I was exhausted and a little stressed, because I hate waiting!! Plus, I could have slept another half hour!!

So, we’re lined up and it’s pouring rain. There are the usual announcements, including a shout-out to one of the runners who was celebrating not just his birthday, but his 50th! He is the exact same age as the NYRR and is a runner!! What wasn’t announced, but was equally important to me, was that this was my 100th official race with the NYRR (not counting the two races that were converted to fun runs due to weather issues)!! So, less than ideal circumstances for a 5-mile run – the metal grates and painted white lines get slippery and I’m afraid to twist my knee, so I tend to be a bit tentative when the ground is wet. I decided that I would run this for fun and be glad that I was participating in such an important event for the NYRR and for me. I also knew from the course map that there was only one water station on the course (on the 102nd Street Transverse)**, so I wasn’t sure what to do about the breaks I usually take. I headed out nice and easy, but the humidity caught up to me and I ended up taking a break in the 2nd mile and then 2 more in the 4th mile. I also hadn’t realized I was running this race until the night before and had run a ladder the morning before, which I wouldn’t have done, otherwise. I’m not unhappy with my performance, though. I managed to hold on the last mile and brought it home fast – no finishing kick, but the entire mile was solid. At previous anniversary runs, they’ve handed out Little Debbie cakes at the finish, but I was disappointed to see that we got the usual bagels and bananas at this one. There were no medals or t-shirts or any other commemorative souvenir for this event, either, which seems strange. I have my bib, though, and I save all of them, so that’ll have to do!

Official stats: my official time was 45:30 for an average pace of 9:06. My splits were 9:08, 9:21, 8:52, 9:37, and 8:37. I was out 1156 of 1784 total runners, putting me in the 35th percentile. It was 55°F* with 97% humidity.

Celebratory treats: I know I didn’t hit my goals, but it was my 100th NYRR race and the 50th anniversary of the NYRR, so I’m celebrating!! I had one of my favorite breakfasts: toasted everything bagel with olive cream cheese from Bagel Maven, plus a Frango dark chocolate mint cookie from Sue, who ran 2 amazing track races the night before and kindly shared her celebratory treats with me. Thanks, Sue!!

Next up: Anaheim 5k (6/14)

Race pictures are available here (I haven’t had time to rotate or caption them, but I will as soon as I get a chance):

*The NYRR website says that it was 62°F, but one of the buildings we ran past indicated that it was only 55°F.

**This is not a complaint. Because of the need to have the course cleared for traffic by 7 am, I completely understand why there was only one station.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Japan Day 4-miler 6.1.08

Hi all,

Race number 16 was the Japan Day 4-Mile Run. We ran the middle loop, starting and finishing on the 102nd Street Transverse.

Goals: to run between the water stations and to finish in under 36.

I am trying to get back into my marathon training, so I had planned to run 4 miles before the race and then 4 miles after. Because my subway line is still messed up (bus to train), I had to get up earlier than I’d hoped, but I managed to get to the Park right at 7. I dropped off my bag and started my warm-up. I ran the race course, so that if I got behind, I would be able to start the race as I came around to the transverse again. It was warm, but I tried to keep it slow and I walked up the hills. I’d given myself 45 minutes to run the 4 miles, but I was running 10-minute miles, even with my long walk breaks.

I was supposed to meet Roxy in the yellow corral, but it was impossible to find anyone. They’d only set up 3 of the 10 or so corrals, so there was a lot of mingling going on. I did find Rachel, though, and we chatted a bit before the race started. She took off, looking strong. It had gotten warmer or more humid and it was harder to breathe this time around. I was able to make it to the first water station without walking, but then decided to walk when I got to the 2nd mile marker on the 72nd Street Transverse. I got hotter and hotter and had more and more trouble breathing and ended up walking partway up Cat Hill. I’d been watching out for runners in skirts with ponytails to see if I could find Roxy, but she caught me walking up Cat. I tried to run with her, but had to stop to walk again. Three walk breaks in one mile killed any chance of making my goal. After cresting Cat, I ran to the 3rd mile water station, then, after that walk break, was determined not to stop again until I’d finished. As I was passing the walkway near the top of the baseball fields, I saw a commotion to my right and saw a runner collapse. Someone caught him and a small crowd gathered, but I ran up to every volunteer I passed to tell them about the collapsed runner, anyway. The medical tent was just before the finish and I stopped briefly to tell them, then tried to go back after I’d finished, but one of the court marshals wouldn’t let me go back and told me to walk around, even though I’d explained that there was a collapsed runner. I found another volunteer and he pulled out a map, asked me exactly where I’d seen the runner collapse, and took off. I got my chip clipped, then drank some water. I found Rachel, then Mayumi, then Roxy, then Lou. I didn’t win anything in the raffle. I’d been hoping for the trip to Japan, so I could give the tickets to my sister. She was born while we lived there and I think she would like to take her husband to see her birthplace.

Roxy and I took off for the 4-mile cool-down, but I didn’t get very far. We decided to walk it, though, because the Japan Day Festival didn’t start until 10. We got as far as the Marionette Theater, then cut across the Park to get back to the East Meadow. We passed the Shakespeare Garden and the Belvedere Castle, which overlooks the Turtle Pond. The Festival had started by the time we got there, but the food wasn’t going to be ready for about a half hour and the lines were already long. We wandered around the tents, received loads of tea (both cans and bags), took advantage of a Hello Kitty photo op, then walked back to 59th Street for lunch – pizza at Whole Foods. Yum!!

Official stats: my official time was 38:02 for an average pace of 9:30. My splits were 9:05, 9:20, 10:54, and 8:48. I was 1589 out of 2490 total runners, putting me in the 36th percentile. It was 65°F with 87% humidity.

Consolation treats: While waiting for my Dr Pepper to slush up, I was able to instantly gratify my slushy Dr Pepper yearning with a Dr Pepper freezer pop, thanks to Pete, who told me about them (and would have sent them from CA, if I hadn’t found them in NYC). I also had a bag of Worcester Sauce potato chips from the UK, a hamburger cupcake, and a gold-leaf-covered dark chocolate Buddha, which I’ve been saving for this occasion.

Race pictures are available here:
Pictures from my weekend in the UK are here:
Pictures of Central Park are here: