Sunday, April 19, 2009

Race Report: The TGL Classic

Before I even start with my race today, two big things. First of all, my 8-year old son, has been playing baseball so well as deemed by his coaches, that they promoted him last week. He is now playing on a team with 10 year olds, and get this….the coach made him their starting centerfielder!

When we were in Florida, I did notice that Matthew does have a pretty impressive gun of an arm.

Also, today is Stephanie’s 11th birthday. Minutes after my race ended, I got to my baggage and heard the phone ring inside. It was a number I had never recognized before. When I answered, it was Steffie, telling me that she got a cell phone for her birthday. There goes the neighborhood!

Steffie likes to talk even more than me. I hope her mother and stepfather have an unlimited plan…LOL…

Last night, I went to Maritza’s house for the first time in Little Neck. She was having a get together for a lot of her marathon and triathlon friends. I had a great time, and the sangria was pretty good too. However, I didn’t get to sleep last night until after midnight.

With little sleep this whole week, and at 2 pounds over weight (162), I had wondered if I were going to factor much in today’s race. When will I ever learn my lesson?

I nearly missed my race this morning, I was sooo tired. When I did finally come to, I followed my normal pre-race routine. 1 Cup of Joe, 1 English Muffin, lightly buttered. That, along with the face washing/drowning, did not stir me up. However, as I drove in, I made sure to blast my car speakers to the max with a preview of the music that I was going to run with, and that helped get me a little stoked.

I got parking on Madison, near 73rd Street, to see the familiar chaos of runners making their way into the Park. Also, there were a lot of dogs on leases. An asian woman was wheeling an old fashioned bassinette. Two little white haired dogs with bow ties on, were sticking their heads out of it. “You’ve gotta be kidding me!” I thought to myself.

I picked up my number. Yellow corral? WTF? I’m usually in the Red Corral. For those of you not familiar with the New York Road Runners, they have a performance-based system to handle the lining up of runners. If you get a number that’s less than 1000, or have a blue stripe, than kiss yourself in the mirror every morning. You are an elite athelete. If you have a number that is between 1001-2000, then you are most assuredly in the Red Corral. Red Corral times for short races are anywhere between 7minutes per mile to about 7:40 per mile. Then comes Yellow, Green, and after that I couldn’t tell you.

Polishing off my Sugar-Free Red Bull, and a portion of my Gatorade, I saw Sondra from our club today. Her bib was a golden yellow. I don’t know what corral that was, but she did well from what I saw later on the website.

In fact, a lot of runners, especially in our group, did well today. It was a magical 55 degrees outside. Anything for me that is between 50 and 55, is magical when it comes to running. I’d rather have it be raining and 53 than sunny and 58. It makes that much of a difference, to tell the truth.

The race was the shorter, 4 mile loop, around Central Park. I had done this race 3 times before, and have usually done great at it. I only had the chance to run once this week, with work being as busy as it was. I also lacked discipline, sleeping late every night, and abandoning my diet too. In short, I did not expect to perform too well, but masochist that I am, I wanted in.

The T-shirt they handed out was a beautiful technical shirt. For all the ‘cussing I made about JP Morgan, they at least invested a little more than other sponsors. Still, I will always have my reasons, albeit misguided, to use this race to channel my disappointments into furiously blind white-hot positive energy.

Getting to the start was very chaotic, thanks to the baggage. Baggage signs were marked everywhere, but none too many with arrows to point me in the right direction. By the time I got to the starting line, the corrals were closed, and I had to climb over a metal gate to gain access to my corral.
The first mile was a non-stop traffic jam. Learning that weaving in and around runners to get better placement, is not only dangerous, and tiring, but it really doesn’t cut away that many seconds either. Instead, I just aim for straight lines to cut my corners whenever possible. My first mile is usually what I call either a blessed curse or a cursed blessing. On one hand, the swarm of runners around me forces me to slow down, but on the other, it prevents me from going out too fast and burning out.

Mile 1 : 7:44.27

As soon as I saw the “1” (meaning miles done) sign, I felt it was time to push on the jets a little. It also helped to know that a lot of the 2nd mile was downhill too. I missed a water stop, but you really don’t need too much hydration in a short race like this….if you are well prepared, that is.

I noticed I was passing a lot of people, and kept checking my watch. I noticed 6:39, 6:56, and other moments of meteoric sub-7 efforts. As much as I didn’t want to do it, I would have to ramp back down not to waste myself.

Mile 2: 7:12.42

Mile Three and the hills on the west side loop of the park were mentally daunting to me. Hills are typically not friends of joints. After my left knee, and right calf have plagued me for much of the season, I wondered if I was going to have an “event” that way I did when I ran back from Argyle Lake about a month ago.

Well, I had no events. At least from the waist down. I felt pretty good going up the hills. I mean, I did have my moments of doubt, and some bouts of gasping for air at times, but my pistons holding up relatively well. I nearly blew my water stop, by dropping a cup of water, which is very unusual for me. After all, I am a master of the grabbing-drinking-chucking watercup motion.

I thought I had done this mile relatively well. Until, I noticed at my split, that it took me nearly 8 minutes. (7:57.90).

In the last mile, I made it a strategy to let it all ride after 3.5 miles. Normally, it’s the last quarter mile, where I ramp up to an all-out blitz, but I knew I was behind what I wanted.


Just this morning, I was actually thinking logically and believing that just finishing the race, would be good enough. I am way too competitive, but as Sandy told me last night at the party. “Make the best run your race. Do not make any of your training runs the best.” Or something like that. She mentioned that is what her coach would say. I wish I had the money for a coach. Perhaps next year when this nightmare of my furlough is over and done with.

The last half mile was indeed glorious. I was pumping so hard that I could not look at my watch. However, my Garmin 305, will tell you for each lap what your best in-lap pace is. And for mile 4 it was 5:32!!!

Some people who I passed, tried to pass me back, but I was really digging hard without let up and I basically had no one pass me in the final quarter-mile.

I completed my fourth and final mile with a time of 7:13.05, and held up my arms in the “V” position, as I crossed the finish line with a net time of 30:04.

Overall: 1165th out of 7562 – top 15.40%
Gender: 1006th out of 3769 - top 26.69%
Male Age Category: 126th out of 495 - top 25.45%
Forest Park Road Runners: 2nd out of 7th. – top 28.57%.
Gonzalez: 3rd out of 22 – top 13.63%
After the race, I decided to make a day out of it in New York City. I went downtown to the Apple store on 14th and 9th Avenue to get a new holder (green) for my phone.
A few weeks ago they had a good episode of Bobby Flay’s throwdown over who made the best fish and chips. A Salt and Battery was the restaurant being challenged. And they won, so I decided to go there for lunch.

Prior to that, I checked out the White Horse Tavern, known for its beers, but it was before noontime, so I just went straight to ‘A Salt and Battery’ for a nice little lunch.

................................... the famous Homestead Steakhouse in downtown Manhattan.

I thought Ihad a PR for thr 4 miles, but my PR for 4 miles was last year at 7:20 per mile.
Better preparation next time!

1 comment:

Alex Gonzalez said...

Almost forgot to mention...tomorrow is the Boston Marathon...