Tuesday, July 28, 2009

RACE REPORT: Marcum Corporate Challenge 2009

It was nice last year when I finally came in 1st at Arrow last year in this race. I didn't know that Jon Garber would be in Germany at the time, and Jon was clearly a better athlete than me. But, I really was happy with my pre-race and performance.

I was actually at the Lexington Avenue office today. A dream, because I had stayed over my friend's house the night before which happens to be 1 block away from the 96th Street Station. As a result, it only took me 9 minutes to get to work.

OT: Found this super-cheap place for lunch near Grand Central Station, where Pizza is only $.99 per slice. Two slices and a soda were $2.50. The line went out the door and snaked down the block. Once inside the place, the mexican workers there were furiously making, cutting and boxing pies as fast as they could to keep up with the demand.

I actually sent a text on my iPhone to my boss showing how I am saving the company valuable money by eating here, but I got no response back (lol).

It was of little surprise that the name of the place would be exactly as you see on the awning in this picture. 99 cent Fresh Pizza. Indeed.

I left the city at about 3pm and it was the right call. Traffic was not too heavy at that time because it was between lunch the commute home, and fortunately not too many trucks were on the road either. I actually took route 231 and entered Ocean Parkway from the East to reach Jones beach going opposite the flow of direction. Another great call!

I got to the site almost 2 hours early. Like I've regrettably done, in years past, it was great for once not to have to hurry, just like I did at my tune up race a week before. However, I struck again, by forgetting my race number. I had to go to the race info booth and get reassigned a new number (as seen at the top of my post - what a large and ugly number right?).

Almost as ugly as the number, was the meeting point for Arrow. Except, I later found out that if it weren't for some of the organizers, who, get this, pitched in their own supplies and money, we would not have had any race this year. I totally understand my company's point of saving money, but it would have been really lousy if we had not shown to race. After all, this was a CORPORATE challenge for LONG ISLAND businesses. And we are not only a Fortune 200 company, but easily the largest company in all of Long Island.

Example of most companies' setup:

...and now...our setup...

The course (pic below), was identical to last year's run. Basically and out and back with a minor annoyance of an "appendage" slightly before the end. This is where I died out last year and felt like throwing up.

After a horrendous version of the Star Spangled Banner was sung (which may have lasted even longer than the race itself), the gun went off, and we went all on our merry way.

After last year's debacle where little oversized children, who had no business on being at this race, as they blocked the runners from doing there thing, I am pleased to report that it was just us 'grups out there pounding asphalt, and breathing in the salty air. The weather was 84 degrees and very humid (what else is new) but at least it was overcast, so the sun would not prove to be a factor this year 'round.

Last year I went out too fast. I remember something of like a 5:11 burst at one point last year. This year the focus was fast, but steady. And it paid off.

I did my first mile in 6:54.89 with a best burst of 6:10. Feeling fresh, I noticed that I actually past someone with an Arrow shirt. Someone I had never seen before.

My second mile was slower. I did this in 7:11.25, bb of 6:28. Looking over my shoulder I noticed that this man was still on my heels. Damn, where is Jon Garber in the meantime, and why is this mysterious Arrow person looking to debunk my 2nd place standings, I humbly thought, assuming that Jon was way out in front.

The way back east (from 1.5 miles to the end) is a bitch. Headwind all the way. One has to really have a gut check when racing the tail half of this race. This is why it is so important to save your energy, like I was doing here.

My 3rd mile was 7:16.1, bb of 6:29. Though my time slipped, I actually had a net people pass ratio on this mile of like 4:1 (I passed 4 people for every 1 that passed me).

As we entered the appendage, I was feeling pretty good. No longer did my strong efforts make me feel delusional like last year, where I thought that the appendage entry into the parking lot field next to the finish, was really the finish. No, this time I had the whole course charted out. I was totally in control when....

As I turn at the base of the appendage to go back out, I see this mystery man about to enter the base. This meant he was only 3-5 seconds behind. With a half a mile to go, and still feeling strong, my mental insanity kicked into high gear. Completely forgetting the laws of nature, physics, and the fortitude to hold my food in my stomach from coming up, I decided to sprint.

The sprint lasted the entire last .5 mile of the race.

I blazed through the last .55 of a mile in 2 minutes and 50 seconds. If you look that up, that is a 5 minute 11 second per mile pace. Unbelievable, even by my own standards. I not only crossed the finish line sprinting, but it took me nearly 50 yards more before I could finally slow down to a stop.

I was so pumped about what I had done, that I started running again, this time to our glorious tent, to see if I was the 2nd person to cross for my team. Well, to my surprise I was not.

I came in 1st place for Arrow. That's 2 years in a row now. I have successfully defended my crown. Where was Jon Garber? I would later find out that he was one of the unfortunate people not to make the layoff cut at the beginning of '09. At that point though, I was so happy that I got my phone and called my friend to advise of the results.

Despite the humble amenities, those who chipped in got beer. God bless those women who did this. Salt of the Earth if you ask me. I prefer wine myself, but at the end of a race, especially a sprint, there's nothing quite like a nice cold frosty one.

A few weeks later, I was highlighted on Planet Arrow for coming in 1st. I got a lot of kudos from my peers (and some kidding around too).

This has always been a unique and memorable race for me, and work-permitting, I will always try to make this race every year, even if I didn't win.

The man in the middle was the mystery man. Turns out he's from another office. And we spoke after the race. Nice guy. Does Triathlons. Hope I can do well in that too soon!
Relaxing, Eating and Boozing after the race.

I realize it's a blurry pic, but the guy with the white bandana is Coleman Leviter. He's going to be a medical supporter on 1st Avenue for the NYC Marathon this year.

Finally. Our team photo. Look for the "ham" with the outstretched arms in the front.

Missed the photo op last year, but not this year!

1 comment:

DGA said...

God forbid if the pizza would cost $1.00! Like everything else it has to have a lot of number 9s all over.
The day number 9 is erased from this planet, which of course it cannot happen unfortunately, all the marketing people are out of business and running to another planet to contaminate it with their original and unique "strategy of the 9 ". SHEEP!!!!!!!!!!

Congratulations on beating everyone at Arrows. Did you eat all the kudos at once?

I loved your company's tent. It reminded me of "Favela" in Rio de Janeiro.