Sunday, May 6, 2007

It's Confirmed. I am a running ho.

Last night as the clock struck 10, I felt it was time to take 500 Miligrams of Naprosyn pain reliever, and hit the sack. I had already decided that I was not going to run. The pain on the upper inner side of my right leg (just about 8 inches below the right side of my knee) had not gone away. It was three days, and it still bothered me. It came in harder yesterday, when I played baseball with Matthew. As competitive as I have become, I did not want to harm myself from racing later on in the season.

I had a great sleep.

I woke up this morning at about 5:30am. Although, I decided I would not run, I forgot to turn off my alarm clock. I turned off the alarm, and was about to roll over in bed, when I decided to see how my leg was doing. I got out of bed, and walked around the living room for about five minutes, keeping in mind that everyone else was still sleeping.

Not bad. But was the pain being masked by the 'Nap?

I really had mentally un-prepared for this run, but because of this new condition, I decided to have breakfast, as if I were going to run.

After that, I decided to get dressed in what I would have worn, had I decided to run. Of course, there was no way that I was going to run, and yet, here I am, going through the motions.

A few minutes later, while still pacing the living room like an expectant father, I figured why not pack 'the bag'? The 'bag', as I call it, is my Nike duffel, I pack to each and every race. It has a towel, a change of clothes, a first aid kit, power gel packs, the latest Runner's World mag, and 'Glide' gel. The Glide gel is to make sure that my man tits don't chafe against my shirt. Yes, my girlfriend has really made fun of me about this, but my tits were on fire after my 2005 Marathon (In 2006, my ripped calf muscle stole the attention).

At about 6:20am, Ileana woke up.

"Are you going to race, Alex?" she groggily said.
"No. Go back to bed." I softly responded.

I was about to lay back down in bed, when I began to wonder if the music on my iPod was "up-to-snuff". I mean after all, the music had to befit that of a 13.1 mile race. Even though I did not have any intention to run.

It is 6:35 am. Here I am. The sun is out now and basking through my bedroom window intensely. I'm all dressed up. My pre-run power breakfast consumed. My bag packed. My iPod locked and loaded. But I'm still not running. Why?

All runners do something very important the morning of a race. They shit.
I'd like to tell it to you in a different way, perhaps try my hand a subtlety, maybe adding a touch of class along the way. But no, shit is what it is. With it, runners can't perform. Hence, the endless numbers of green Port-O-Sans one sees when they get close to a starting line of a race.
Like a horse, humans cannot run if they have a bowling ball in their stomach. Mine was not the size of a bowling ball (perhaps TMI here), but I now had the urge to "release the feece" (spelled phoenitically to be cute).

After I did this, and after I flushed. I looked in the mirror. "Do I have it in me?"
Then to be further psychotic, I not only answered myself, but mimicking Dirty Harry Callahan's voice, the response was,

"Well, do ya.....Punk??!!!"

Y-E-S !!!!

Suddenly, the cautionary sage, went out the 9th story window to be quickly replaced by a defiant, and optimistic runner.

A few minutes later, I was on my way out the door, in the elevator, in the car, and onto the Grand Central Parkway. Then the Northern State and Meadowbrook Parkways, and before I knew it, I was parking my car.

It is freezing outside!

Although I have run in minus 15 degree weather ( I will post that blog one day ), I was at least somewhat dressed properly for it. Short sleeve top and racing shorts. Not much else.

I put on my Brooks Beast sneaks for this. I needed a good motion-control shoe, especially since I had no idea how soon after I started the race I was going to be in pain.

The first test, was to be had even before the race began. The parking lot in Eisenhower State Park is about 1 mile from the start. I expected to have pain while walking. I felt a few tweeks, but nothing more.

The starting line was outrageously crowded, and since I got there with only 10 minutes before the start, I was way back. Although races nowadays have starting mats, that measure your time from the moment you cross the starting line, and not when the race begins, this normally would ensure your time to be accurate. However, the one thing that cannot be cured is the congestion that a runner suffers after they cross the starting line. It's important to share this with everyone here, because my first mile was run in 8:43.7. With the exception of my slowest mile (Mile 7) with a time of 8:35, there were no other miles I did slower than 8:11. In fact it nearly took me a mile and a half before the road opened up for me. I normally wont do this, but I will be taking off 20 seconds to adjust for the clog. I realize that my time without these twenty seconds is an "unofficial time", but you'll learn later why I did this.

Unlike the Brooklyn Half - Marathon, this is an extremely BORING course. However, there are no crazy hills in the end, like in Brooklyn either. One nice touch however, was the race "kickoff" music. Axl Rose's lungs wear pleasantly searing my ears as "Welcome To The Jungle" played at full volume on the PA's once the race began, and at the starting line. As each mile progressed, I noticed that I was hitting between 8 and 8:20 per mile, not bad, but accumulated over the first 7 miles, and now I am thinking that I will have no chance at a PR. Add to this, was a terrible headwind from the northeast of about 25 MPH. Unfortunately, that same wind which should have been at my back on the return legs back, died out!

But then again, I thought I wasn't trying for a personal record! All I wanted to do was to finish and not break my leg!

Mile 9 was when I started to pour it on.

The race was almost too boring to describe, so instead I offer you my mile splits....

Mile Time +/- 8min pr.mile pace
01...8:23.7 +0:23.7 behind sub-8 per minute mile pace
02...8:11.3 +0:35.0 behind sub-8 per minute mile pace
03...8:09.2 +0:44.2 behind sub-8 per minute mile pace
04...8:02.4 +0:46.6 behind sub-8 per minute mile pace
05...8:09.3 +0:55.9 behind sub-8 per minute mile pace
06...8:15.3 +1:11.2 behind sub-8 per minute mile pace
07...8:35.1 +1:46.3 behind sub-8 per minute mile pace
08...8:09.3 +1:55.6 behind sub-8 per minute mile pace
09...7:46.8 +1:42.4 behind sub-8 per minute mile pace
10...7:48.5 +1:30.9 behind sub-8 per minute mile pace
11...7:51.7 +1:22.6 behind sub-8 per minute mile pace
12...7:48.9 +1:11.5 behind sub-8 per minute mile pace
13...7:01.4 +0:12.9 behind sub-8 per minute mile pace
.1....:45.1 0:02.0 AHEAD OF SUB-8 MINUTE PACE!!!!

The human body is amazing. I cannot believe that I was able to pull off a personal best, which is even better than the PR I set back in Brooklyn last month. Even if I added back the 20 seconds on Mile 1, I still have broken my PR (gross time was 1hr45min18sec. Brooklyn's was 1hr45min39sec)

At a pace of 7:59, this is the first time I ever ran I race of over 10 miles with a sub-8 minute mile.

((Medals to the first 500 finishers))

I have thus far, had four straight personal records, and four straight personal course records. I don't know when this fairytale ends, but I hope the answer is never. In the meantime, I plan to take off from running tomorrow, but will see about re-grouping on Tuesday.


Mike said...

KICK ASS! That's AWESOME! Whew, I can only dream of a sub-2hr half-marathon right now... But one day. :)

Anonymous said...

Yeah dude! Like wow man! Totally awesome brother! Oh, sorry...those are the lyrics used in most of today's brilliant youth songs.

Anonymous said...

Ok, Your picture holding your number looks fine, but where is the rest of the line-up?