Sunday, April 13, 2008

RACE REPORT: TGL Run As One 4-Miler

RACE: Thomas G. Labrecque Sixth Annual Run As One Race to Benefit Lung Cancer Research
DATE: Sun. April 13, 2008 9am
DISTANCE: 4 Mile Run
TEMP: 49 Degrees
PERS. DISTANCE REC: 29:23 RACE # LIFETIME: 76th RACE # IN 2008: 6th

It's been awhile since my last race report. After having been diagnosed with Multiple Fatigue Fractures (if that's really what the doc says it was), I missed two races (NYRR8000 & Sctoland Run), and did a lot of cross-training to earn my miles rather than the traditional foot-pounding , that I normally put my body through.
The last time I did the TGL (Thomas G. Labrecque) run, I was at my lightest weight at 153. While I am not at that weight this time around, I have lost 10 pounds since the beginning of the year and am at a respectable 155.

Additionally, I was also on a tear last year, recording PR after PR. My 7:20 per mile pace was only bested the previous week by my phenomenol outcome at the JFK of a 6:40 pace. Considering, that this race this year was the first after a 2 month racing layoff, I was just going to be happy to finish without pain....and perhaps achieve a close to 8 minute per mile average.
There were a lot of other differences in this year's race from last year, both from a race as well as from a personal perspective. Racewise, this year's field has remarkably swelled up. There were over 6000 runners, up nearly 10% over last year. Remembering my struggles getting "through the pack", I intelligently opted to line up right away, and wait a few extra minutes to ensure I was in the right area according to expected finish time. Last year I was also unattached whereas this year I was not only running for myself, but also for my team (Forest Park Road Runners) as well.

I really like the feeling of running with a team as it makes me want to do well for more reasons than normal. Part of the team drove in with Bonnie this morning. I opted instead to huff it on the subway. I totally forgot that the meters in NYC are expired on Sunday, else I might have driven in (although Bonnie did say that the upper level of the 59th St. Bridge was a nightmare....what else is new?)

We all met near the bandshell. It was really cool and it definitely gave me more purpose to run than in the past (as if I needed more motivation, lol).

The race itself was uneventful. The weather, perfect. It had actually been warmer (and muggy) the day before. Not today. After posting a 7:30 for my first mile, I started giving up mentally the thought of breaking any PRs. Now that I reflect, I don't know why I had been feeling so dejected. After all, and like I said before, I would have been happy with an 8 minute mile. However, I did start to feel pretty good about myself when I clocked my 2nd mile in only 7 minutes and 3 seconds. Wow. Did I actually have a chance? I was already half-way through the race, and I've managed to hold up well thus far. Mile 3 last year for me was a bitch, primarily due to the hills. But I also knew that Mile 4 was going to be predominantly downhill too. If I could somehow just survive Mile 3, and have enough in the tank for the last mile, I could somehow, perhaps, possibly challenge my PR of 29:23.

Well Mile 3 did turn out to be a bitch. And although, I did it in 7:37, it felt like I had just run through a vat of extra thick maple syrup (the artificial kind of course!). Runners that were looking to impress, started blowing by me on the uphills, while others that went out too fast, were dying out, some even walking up the hill. I can't tell you how relieved, mentally, I was when I saw the Mile 3 marker. I actually had taken a pit stop just prior to that for some water (my first and only pit stop). But it wasn't even a pit stop at all. Somehow, I was able to run through the water trough, scooping up a cup, flinging the H20 in my mouth, and chucking the cup right into the waste basket. All within a few seconds, and without slowing down.

Around the start of Mile 4, I started jockeying for position. Knowing full well that I wasn't going to face too many more miles, I really started to turn the jets on. The greatest thing, I think, about racing, is that I had totally shed any fear of my injury. This last mile was the perfect example of that. There was an older gentleman, of asian desecent, who I kept passing and who kept passing me, and suddenly it turned into a horse-race. I didn't know it was going to be a photo finish either. But the best part of it all was that he turned to me and shook my hand after we crossed the finish line. Then he pointed at my Forest Park Runners shirt, and told me that he was in the club (well, at least that's what I thought he said). Anyway, I thought it was really cool that we congratulated each other after the run, and as it turned out, his name is Chong Duk Soe. As it also turned out, Chong Duk actually runs for the KRRC (Korean Road Runners Club). There were 30 Korean Road Runners at the race, from all over the tri-state area. Chong Duk is from Rego Park, so perhaps he's seen me training on the road?

I ran with all the intensity I could at the end, and when I looked at my Garmin (which annoyingly took me forever to get a satellite before the start of the race), I noticed something unbelievable. 29 minutes, 19 seconds. A new PR!

Here were highlights of the race.
Film is courtesy of the New York Road Runner's Club

I continued onward and walked back to the bandshell. I took the opportunity to change out into my dry clothing in the port-o-sans (I love my Transpack!). I found my cellphone and called her....she was actually at the finish line waiting for me. I never saw her as I finished the run. She was walking with Bonnie. John (Duralia) who was able to make the race, finished very strong for his first FPRR race as well. I really think John is going to get a lot better, as he's had some great running results (for sure) when he lived in Ontario.

We all met back at the bandshell. Jack (our President) was there, in traditional tank top and shorts as if it was 80 degrees outside, lol! Brenda and Carol were also on hand too, and they looked pretty happy with their overall result.

After a few minutes, the 8 of us remaining (from our field of 13) walked out of the park and headed for a restaurant called "3 Guys", located on Madison and 75th. It was packed with other runners, but it wasn't long at all before we were seated. I had an egg omellet consisting of goat cheese, spinach and mushroom. It was delicious and I made sure to wash it down with mucho cafe. This was a very enjoyable event. And I'm really looking forward to our next race in Alley Pond Park on the 27th.

But the day wasn't over yet. Jack, John, and I hopped on the train at Lex and 77th. We got off and as we were walking out of the station, I saw Arnold Langer. Arnold has been a longtime friend of my dad's. He was at the pastry shop just outside of the Union Turnpike train station. I went inside, and without even saying hello, I addressed the cashier that he was flirting with, while his back was turned to me.

"Did you know that this place gets some famous athletes, namely PGA tour elites?", I said to the girl behind the counter. At this point Arnold turned around, and while his mouth was hanging open, he remained speechless.

"What's the matter? You have NOTHING to say? This is so unlike you, Arnold!"

Well, eventually he did talk, as we sat down at a booth inside the pastry shop. We caught up on a lot, and made a promise that we would see each other again. He also promised that he would see me at the end of my Marathon this year. Also, he said he never got the video. And now I know why. I left it at the WRONG building, with the WRONG doorman. That was over a year ago. What a dope I was. The video, I am referring to, was a movie comedy-documentary that I created showing Arnold & my father playing a so-called "friendly" round of golf together. It was pretty funny, and I wanted him to see this. I will be digging through my archives this week to make him another copy. Although this time, I will be sure to burn a copy onto DVD.

I did 64 miles last week. So far, I have exercised a/o ran 13 consecutive days. I am feeling great. I will continue to monitor my health and watch my weight also. I am in a good place right now, thank God, and hope to continue this trend for as long as I possibly can.

More photos as we walked to the restaurant earlier...

With all the Cherry Blossoms around, I am happy to finally report. Spring has finally come to New York! Below, another CB. This one's on Lefferts Blvd, approaching Austin Street:


DGA said...

I hope you picked up at your doorman's the gift I left you for your birthday last year. You never mentioned anything so i suppose you did, or did i leave it at the right building? Shit! Maybe I sent it to the wrong address?

Alex Gonzalez said...

Let me guess. It was a blank check for a 4-year college, right.
(Crowd goes 'ooooh'). Now that's fucked up! :-)

DGA said...