Sunday, March 2, 2008

I Got Beaten By A Seven Year Old.

The original title for this blog was supposed to be called "RACE REPORT: Coogan's". But that's boring, so then I put down "A New Personal Course Record" (good news!)...It stayed that way until I started investigating the ages of one such fellow that beat me. I am still in shock but it's a great headline. Now I will get back to where I left off below, when the 7-year old kid and his dad beat me.....
The weatherman got it real wrong. During the week they kept mentioning about a nice sunny windless day, with highs reaching nearly 50 degrees. Well, let me tell you. It was sunny, but it was 30 degrees and with winds of over 20 miles per hour, the "real" feel was about 20.

I actually like the cold though! I did not wear my windbreaker for today's race, opting instead for just a tee and my orange fleece throw over.

Ileana accompanied me as we drove over the Whitestone Bridge. From there it was the Cross Bronx, and miracles of miracles, there was no traffic in sight. The distance from door to start was about 17 miles, although it turned out to be a little more due to google maps leading me off a bit. Actually, it worked out well. It wasn't even 7:30 yet, and the roads were still open. As a result, we drove south through Fort Tryon Park, and right down Fort Washington. So, we drove through the entire course! Parking in Washington Heights, has always proved to be a nightmare.
Cops are everywhere, looking to mercilessly write up tickets for desperate runners and unsuspecting out-of-towners alike. There's just not enough parking. Ileana came with me to stay in the car, in the event that I was unable to park legally. Fortunately however, I found a spot right on the corner of W.166th on St. Nicholas Avenue. Here's a few pictures :

I met this one lady named Beth Moisant (got her last name from the race results...sorry, a little stalking here and there, lol). She is from New Orleans, Louisiana. Really nice person. We were joking about the elites up front wearing only shorts and a tee. I mentioned that I had every intention on doing the same. The same, that is, until I opened the car door. Brrr... Anyway, in talking with Beth, she mentioned that she does a lot of charity events for the FDNY, and told me about a race called Tunnel to Tower, which starts in Brooklyn and ends at the site of the World Trade Center.
The race is to honor all of those brave firefighters and police officers who lost their lives on September 11th, but mostly it's for this one firefighter named Stephen Siller. Here's a little bio on his act of courage:

Stephen Siller, beloved husband and father of five, was a firefighter from Squad
1, Park Slope Brooklyn. On 9/11, he was off-duty, and on his way to golf with
his 3 older brothers.

When Stephen heard on his scanner that the World Trade Center had been hit, he turned his vehicle around and headed towards the site. When his truck was prohibited from entering the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, typical of him, he raced
on foot towards the site with his gear strapped to his back.

He was last seen alive on West and Liberty Streets where he, more than likely, went looking for his Squad, all of whom perished.The Tunnel to Towers Run retraces Stephen’s footsteps on that fateful day.

In running along his path, we honor the memory of all the Firefighters, Police, and EMS workers who performed their duty that day. In running this race, we are reclaiming still another part of the city for all our heroes and for all of those who died on 9/11.

They will never be forgotten!

I had never heard of this race before. It's not sponsored by the Road Runners Club. It sounds interesting, and I am "kids" free that weekend. $40 bucks though. So we'll just have to see...

Back to the race. I did decide to have my "Red Bull" after all this morning. I've been debating it all weekend long whether to have or not to have. I've even had input from family and friends about the Red Bull dilemma.

In the end, I think I made the decision to drink it for the simple reason that this was a short, fast race. On a much longer run, I would not have done this. Did it have any effects on me? Not sure. We'll we ever know, perhaps not. Is my course record tainted? Nahh! Yo, what do you think I am, Roger Clemens? This is caffeine we're talking about, not STEROIDS AND HGH which you took over and over again, Mr. Clemens...(in case he's reading......which I highly doubt).

The gun went off. I had the fortune to be lined up fairly close to the front. It only took me about 14 seconds to cross the starting line.

The Coogan's race is an out and back course. You go north on Fort Washington Avenue and then go into Fort Tryon Park, and return the same way. For the first 3/4 of a mile (until 184th street) it's all uphill, followed by a mini-downhill, another uphill after Mile 1, and a final downhill inside of the park. The stairmaster exercises have really helped me, but my lungs were dying today with the cold air.

I think I might have gotten off too fast. At Mile 1, the clock said 7:37. Take away 17 seconds for time it took me to cross the start, and I just did my first mile in 7:20, which is exactly what was predicted of me on my running number. And why that was, I have no clue. I never ran that fast at any of the Coogan's Runs before. Perhaps the club goofed, or perhaps they are referring to my fastest NYRR 5k race, where I ran a 7:21 pace in Wall Street last year.

My Garmin behaved very bad today. It never acquired a satellite the entire time I ran. I even turned it on some 20 minutes before race time, and nothing. I had problems with the watch last night, and at one point it would not even turn on. Thank God someone at RunningAhead.Com posted a bulletin about this with a quick-fix (hold the mode and reset buttons together, release the reset and press down the power button). As far as I'm concerned the Garmin gets a big, fat "F" for me. I think I'm going to give my Garmin a time-out. Heh.

As the race name suggested, there were plenty of musicians along the course playing and cheering us on. Spanish, Irish, and a marching band right by the entrance to the park, all played under freezing temps.

The downhill in the park was good, but I knew that for every step down I was going to be facing an equal challenge going up. I think this thinking held me back somewhat, but I was gasping for air, and felt like dying, oh, some 10-12 times. So holding back was a good thing.

As we exited the park, and made our way back south on Fort Washington Avenue, a father was running and holding his son's hand. I was running like the dickens, stepping over my tongue from the exhaustion of running as fast as I could, but this fearless tandem just passed on by, never to be caught again! (As I wrote this, I took a look at the results...OH MY GOD....Christopher Mohri, age 7 and Mehryar Mohri, age 44. Finishing time 23:19) I WAS BEATEN BY A SEVEN YEAR OLD BOY????

I don't even feel like writing anymore! Personal Course Record my ASS! Boy, was that discovery deflating or what?! I mean here I am to tell you, that I finished the race in 23:37, beating my previous best by 14 seconds, and I a boy who just came out of diapers 3 years ago, and who still sits in a car seat........YAHHHHH!!!!!!!!

As I passed Mile 2, the clock read 15:38 (net time 15:21), so my second mile took me 8 minutes and 1 second. Mile 2 is right on the corner of 190th street. For the next six blocks, it would be all uphill. UGH. I only hope I read this when I do this race next year to remind myself "MORE HILL TRAINING FOR THIS RACE, PLEASE". My legs felt like lead. The hill peaked at 184th, and plateaued for another block before going downhill. Instead of taking off like the wind on 184th, I didn't kick it into high-gear until around 182nd. The killer instinct, I guess almost dead, along with the owner.

Downhill is a great though. The ground was dry and the sun was out. The skywalk by Columbia University was close and that's a nice way of knowing that your race is almost over. I ran as hard as I could (although I never caught that 7-year old...DAMN!!!), and finished the third mile in 7 and-a-half flat. I had no "umph" for the final 2 blocks, so I'm going to take creative licensing here and report that I kept the same pace to the end.

The finish line was rough as it always is for me on this course. I gave it everything I had. Left nothing behind. My tank was on D for delusional. I didn't even have the energy to take extra food and almost forgot my transpack that I left over in baggage claim. I felt like a zombie. When I got to the car, I mustered the strength to take a shot of Ileana, who had fallen asleep in the car.

I got in the car, dried off, and about 15 minutes later we left.

My next race is in Central Park. It's the NYR8000 race. My 6th of the year (well 5th, if you discount the Al Gordon cancellation).

Pictures from today's race:

Monument dedicated to the men & women who served in World War II. On St. Nicholas Avenue in Washington Heights.

Washington Heights sign in "El Barrio".

Looking up Fort Washington Avenue from the start of today's race.

Looking North on St. Nicholas Avenue. Homeless handicap in Washington Heights. Perhaps a veteran?
Armory. Track N Field Museum. I think that's Bill Rodgers in the windows.
Hey! That lettering looks familiar! Wash.Heights buildings reflecting..
Banners from the Track N Field Hall of Fame Museum on 168th.
Graffiti in Washington Heights.
More Graffiti in Washington Heights.
New Balance Track 'N' Field Museum.
The entire race course map of the NYC Marathon right on the floor. Cool.
Entry to the Track N Field Museum.
New Balance is the main sponsor for the museum.

Starting line for Coogan's. 5 minutes per mile. Oh, to dream!
Irish-looking gal, next to the Irish-looking sign.
Our race started at the end of this block:
Yes. Amazing things did happen here today..I got a PCR..And I got beat by a 7 yr.old.
Opening band by the starting line..Where are they? LOL.:
Ileana's favorite pose for the aftermath of my winter races:
Runners congregating and trying to keep warm in the deceptive sun:
I did a couple of laps up and down this street prior to the race...
This is in the Armory. The floor is made of the same rubberized material u see on a track as well. Some of the better runners (the "elites") were stretching here, and keeping warm before the start of the windy run.
Nothing says "New York" like a photo of an entrance to a Subway Station!
Great wall mural inside the Track N Field Hall of Fame in the Armory.
See those cups? I better get ready. I'll be needing to do this in order to get to the NYC Marathon next year. Oh, to be a better runner!!!

Or, this could be me directing traffic. I have to volunteer in 1 race this year (in addition to running 9 races) to qualify for the 2009 NYC Marathon.Here I am, sporting my 'Mike Reno/Loverboy" look, revamped from the 80's to now:


Alex Gonzalez said...

I'm still shellshocked by the fact that a 7-year old beat me. Now that I remember, his father pulling him along. Dragging him! That's abusive! I think both of them should be disqualified and have the records removed!!!

Anonymous said...

I bet you are saying he was dragged only to make yourself feel better!

DGA said...

Too bad i don't know how to insert a picture of the 7 year old. If you look at him it's even more pathetic!

DGA said...

Capital I !