Sunday, May 4, 2008

RACE REPORT: Long Island Half-Marathon.

COURSE: The 2008 Rexcorp Long Island Marathon
TOWNS: Uniondale, East Meadow, Westbury,
New Cassel, East Garden City, Hicksville.
DATE: Sunday, May 4, 2008
TIME: 8am
WEATHER: 53 degrees, 90% humidity, light drizzle
DISTANCE: Half-Marathon (13.1 Miles)

The alarm clock sounded off at 5am. I couldn't seem to get myself awake, and wound up staying in bed until 5:30am. Ugh. I did my customary toasted English Muffin with Olivio and Strawberry jam, and had an energy drink instead of coffee.

As I made my way to the car, I realized it was already 6:15am. No call from Jack so I gave him one. Turns out, he was running behind too. I got there a few short minutes later and from there we got to the Eisenhower State Park parking lot in no time flat.

The weather was a cool 53 degrees. It was foggy and somewhat misty but at least not windy. Last year it was 45 degrees with a 25 mile per hour wind. So mother nature gave me a definite upgrade this time around.

Another improvement was the physique. Not only was I 2 pounds lighter, but I was injury free. Last year I had a bum calf muscle and had taken Naprosyn. Funny thing was that my back was killing me the last couple of days (probably from lifting too many bags - gym & work) so I took one last night too.

Jack and I lined up in the 7 minute area. Now that I recollect, I remember laughing about how we lined up a little bit too far up. In the end, I was right where I needed to be.

The Race.

No Guns N Roses this year. Instead something else unfamiliar played.

When I told my father about my sub-8 half marathon performance, he told me he did a sub-8 as well. He ran the race for 8 minutes and then quit. I wrote a funny article awhile back. It's right here if you want to read about his "experience" --->

The roads were slick. Fortunately, there wasn't much in the way of hills to speak of, therefore slipping was not a factor. And without hills, this is a great race to try and achieve a PR.

The first mile was rush hour. There were lots of people. Fortunately the event start is in Uniondalenear the Nassau Coliseum and the roads are extra wide. Beginning mile 2, I started following some woman that had "Mi Tierrita" inscribed on the back of her shirt. If you happen to see this blog, then "Thank You". You helped to pace me well for the first 4 or 5 miles. After mile 5 there was a little hill however, and she started to fall back. I knew with my garmin on (and yes it worked this time!) that I needed to move ahead so as not to fall behind my goal.

My goal: Run a sub-8.

Last year there was some confusion regaring my finish time. I had crossed the finish line in just a few seconds under what would have been exactly an 8 min/pr mile run. However, the final net showed me at 8:01. This irked me, but hey, what can you do? Sorta like a pitcher throwing a strike on the outside corner, and being told it's a ball by the umpire. Sometimes calls go your way and other times they don't. That's life.

I knew I needed to keep close to the 8 minute per mile mark if I was going to have a shot a this sub-8 thingy. Last year, I started a lot slower, and thanks to a dogfight with someone for the last three miles, I managed to come close to it. This year I wanted to not have to worry about my pace for the last few miles.

So, and after mile 6, I never ran a mile more than 8 minutes flat. When I got to mile 10, I had to make the choice...Do I veer to the right and finish the half? Or do I go to the left, and go for broke with a marathon?

Ordinarily, I would go for broke, but not having done a long run in a while, and knowing full well that there now was a "possibility" for a PR, I chose to stick with the half.

My during race preparations were well done. I took my GUs at the right time (still don't know if they help or hurt) and hydrated properly. With an iPod on, I was extra cognizant about not encroaching (or being encroached) by anyone else's space.

Like I said, the race course was flat. Unfortunately, it is also a little bit boring too, but it can't be helped. This is suburbia after all.

So, while the race was pretty uneventful. The finishing time wasn't.

I finish the race in 1 hour 43 minutes and 52 seconds. That's 1 minute and 6 seconds faster than last year Distance & Course PR. And......

I broke the sub-8 barrier!

With a 7:56 pace per mile, that makes it for me the third straight race with a sub-8 performance. As for placement, the New York Newsday shows the "gun" time and not the "net" time. The net time is the true time that is measured by your electronic chip from the time you cross the start until the time you cross the finish. It took me nearly a minute to cross the start (see official receipt below). In the Men's Division, it appears that I came in 343 out of 1688 (343 as per not the ticker below) which is in the top 20.3%. In the Age Category, I came in 53 out of 273 (top 19.4%), and for the Overall Run, I came in 418 out of 3154 (again, as per Newsday.Com). That was in the top 13.3%. Based on my rating system, I scored a 250.1 rating, which makes it the 7th best race in my history of running (even including those speedy runs when I was 18-20). This was my 78th race. Below is a printed receipt from the race result booth.

I had a picture taken of me at the finish. Can't wait to see how messed up I look!!

The music I had on my ears was an interesting combination of Hard Rock/Heavy Metal and Hip House Music (Rap). It worked surprisingly well for me too.

It was funny because the race announcer stated at the start of the race that this was PR weather and expected that some would do a PR.

I accidentally left my camera home...again...ugh.... I will add photos to this post once they are made available to me.

Here's an interesting look at last year's split vs. this year
















With the exception of Mile 4 (which was almost a draw), only the last mile and a 1/10th was faster than this year.




DebbieJRT said...

Congratulations on hitting your goal!

Alex Gonzalez said...

Thanks Debbie!
The weather helped. And forcing myself to pace behind a few people that I thought were paceworthy definitely helped too!
My next race is the Forest Park run, but not as a runner, rather as a marshall (if I hand out cups of water, I'll save you a special one - wine, beer, or sangia? lol)