Sunday, October 11, 2009

RACE REPORT: Staten Island Grand Prix Half-Marathon

Time for yet another Personal Record????

Not having run this race since 2005, it was somewhat difficult remembering what to look out for. I did remember that there were some hills. Hills, which cost me some valuable time that forced me to walk at some points, giving me a 2:02 finish back then.

It was fairly chilly today, and Karen had asked me whether or not to wear her long leggings (tights). She did, but she has an aversion to those port-o-sans (which I can't say I blame her) and changed behind a truck near the bathroom lines. Sacre bleu! And I don't even know what the heck that meant in French either!

Karen lined up with me, but mentioned that she had to go potty one last time. I took off when the gun sounded, though it was funny what the race announcer (not Peter Chachka but some other who proclaimed he was raised in Staten Island) said regarding course guidance. "In order to not get lost, all you have to do is follow the person in front of you. And if you are in the lead, then all you have to do is follow the truck." Silly, but profoundly wise words, I thought.

The first mile is a flat run for a half mile to the end of the stadium parking lot, followed by an up hill to Bay Street, and level running. MILE 1 - 7:38.69 BB: (means Best Burst during that mile) 6:47

Mile 2 was slightly downhill until we made the right to go onto Hannah Street, a little overpass that ended down below to the waterside ports on Front Street. Despite the up on the bridge, I still aced it. 7:34.21 BB:6:36

In Mile 3, I started following this woman with a Triathlete shirt on. I did this because I've read, and have proven, that women are much better pacesetters than us guys, who tend to go fast, slow, and everything inconsistently in between. She was not only consistent (7:35ish) per mile, but fast too. And I figured, if I had any chance to break my PR yet again, that she might be a key to this race. TIME-7:31.2 BB-6:52

Mile 4 was a continuation of Front St. which now became Edgewater Street. Though this mile was completely flat, the road surface was not too good, so I had to be mindful not to step on any cracks and wipeout (not again re: Cycle race-Road To Montauk). The sun was beating down, but the air was still cool (probably 52 or so). With the glare from the water, I was very grateful to have worn both my hat and sunglasses. TIME-7:35.9 BB-6:31

In Mile 5, which had one small bump, the rest was marginally downhill. Imagine to my surprise, when I finished it in 7:27.66. This was the pace I was doing last year in 5K's...and in Queens, I actually won hardware with that one time!
Still keeping pace with that short hispanic triathlete woman with the bouncy hair, but she had fallen back for a moment to get water. I guess not everybody is a smooth as me when it comes to getting water. TIME-7:27.66 BB-3:18 ( how in the hell did that happen? )

If I thought Mile 5 was fast, then wait till you hear this: In Mile 6, which was sharply downhill, I realized that I had to shorten my stride to prevent potential injury a/o further aggravation to my calves. And oh yes, I am wearing calf compression sleeves for the first time (ZENSAHs in black) and loving it to be honest (Can't you tell by my blitzkrieg on the thus far??). Even still with that, and trying to hold back I did this mile in 7:22, giving me an overall time of 46:30 for a 10K which would have easily bested my personal "modern day" record for that distance by almost 30 seconds. TIME-7:22.48 BB-3:51 (again I say.....WTF???)

Mile 7 was the beginning of the end of the flat or downhill surfaces. The nasty thing about the Staten Island course, is that it's like a credit card. It gives you a lot for nothing in the beginning, but in the end, the more you take, the more you pay back with interest. The uphill begins just slightly before Mile 7. TIME- 7:40.39 BB- 6:36.

Completing 8 miles was difficult. It was all uphill. The same downhill that gave me a 7:22, was now penalizing my with an 8:05. Not too shabby though. But damn. I wished that I could have avoided having any 8 minute milers too.
TIME- 8:05.44 BB-7:05

Mile 9 which took us through Battery Road and New York Avenue was somewhat a return to form. It was in bad need of repairs, but at least it was flat running for the most part. Seeing the guard shack in the park, made me realize that I had erroneously visualized this as having been part of the Queens Half course. TIME-7:43.39 BEST6:58

Getting to the 10 mile mark was fairly as simple as getting to the 4 mile mark. We were just reversing the direction. I did mile 4 in 7:35.9 and I did this one in 7:47.9 . Guess this means that I will slip about 12 seconds pace for every 6 miles ran. Imagine if I could maintain this at the NYC Marathon! Unfortunately though, the water girl gave me an empty cup, and that sucked too. I had taken GU gels in both Mile 5 and 9. At least I only had to run 1 mile before getting water to wash down the stickiness of the GU in Mile 6, but here? Empty cup. I wound up running with remnants of GU paste in my mouth for 2 miles or so. Another dejecting moment was that the woman who I was pacing behind and then dropped behind me and out of sight, was now back in sight. About 30 yards ahead of me. Made me think what if I had slowed when she slowed? Would I be where she is now? TIME- 7:47.74 BB-6:58

Mile 11 was more of the same dockside running. I could smell sulfur in the air (yuck). Definitely not what Phil Collins would sing either. Latin chic, and this Puerto Rican guy with a Puerto Rican flag was stayed ahead of me. Thought he would give up, but he's pulling away. My barometer that things are breaking down, and the worst is still yet to come....TIME-7:51.55 BB-7:11.
Mile 12 was a complete lesson in self-destruction. I knew it was going to happen too. All uphill. It's okay to do this early in the race, but I was really being tested here, I thought. My Zensahs were doing there job, but nonetheless, I could feel tightness in my left calf. I kept taking a page out from Karen's pre-race decree, "It doesn't matter what happens in this race, so as long as I know that I can go and sleep it all off later on." Repeating that in my head actually worked for a little while, but you can only fool gravity for so much. I hate hills. TIME- 8:20.5 BEST- 7:02

I had just finished passing the "12" sign and took a look at my watch. Amazingly I still had almost 9 minutes to finish and break my record. I couldn't believe it! I really thought that I ran myself out of a possible PR with Miles 8 and 12? Yet, here I am now, with the colossal chance to break my PR for the 2nd time in as many weeks.

Some dude near the 12 mile-marker yelled "No more hills! It's all down hill from here!" He lied. There was still one hill left. Even if it wasn't that big, why did he have to lie? Karen told me yesterday that this was a flat course too. Why does everyone minimize this course? It's really not all that easy. I actually prefer Central Park over this. Perhaps my newfound familiarity with the park is the reason why, who knows.

After we past over the last hump on Richmond Terrace, we finally came up on to the right turn that would take us downhill to Bank Street, and back to where this whole mess started. At this point, I knew that if I had any chance left at all to break this, that now was the time. I ran as hard as I could, thinking about, no wait, fabricating about, the challenges from some of my teammates, and even other Queens chapter running clubs. I saw someone in front racing in a Run Like Hell shirt. She was from the Hellgate Road Runners club in Astoria. They are notoriously excellent runners. "I must defeat you!" I thought. See, I am a complete lunatic. It's not enough for me to be a normal runner, and just challenge myself with my own goals. No. I have to beat people in races. Even if I dont wind up coming in 1st, 7th, or 77th but rather 777th place. LOL.

Well, I did as a matter of fact overtook the Hellgate Road Runner. Outsprinted her in fact. She later congratulated me after the finish, telling me that I finished off with a very solid kick. I don't know. I'm just crazy, I guess.

By now, you are all wondering....Did I break my PR?

ANSWER: YES!!!!!!! By 1.2 seconds!!

When I finished the race, I headed over to my car to get my clothes and then headed back to the port-o-potty to change out of my stinky clothes. Once inside, I started hearing people cheering "YEAH!" and grunting and stuff. Keep in mind; the toilets line up to the right of the finish line chutes, so I was hearing estatic people as they were breaking the tap (still under 2 hours).

Feeling amazed by breaking my own record in the half yet again, I decided, "What the hell?!" and voceiferously growled a "YEAH" from my own toilet as well! What I had not expected was the person ( pretty sure it was a woman ) in the next stall over. She started laughing right after I did that. I'm such a clown.

Karen, doing her thing here too....

Date: 10/11/2009 8:30 AM
Type: Race
Distance: 13.1 miles
Duration: 1:42:32
Pace: 7:50 / mile
Equipment: Brooks Infiniti 2 (Copper/Silver/Bl)
Weight: 158 lb
Misc: Quality: 9/10, Effort: 9/10
Field Placement: 777 / 3983 (19.5%)
Age group: 40 – 44
Group Placement: 103 / 342 (30.1%)
Gender Placement: 686 / 2351 (29.2%)
Weather: 48° F, Sunny, Humid
Statistics: Calories: 1565 VO2 Max: 43.8

Mile By Mile

Marker……Time………......Accum……....Best Burst….……vs. PR.........
Mile 01.…07:38.35….......00:07:38…........06:00….....00:10.31 behind
Mile 02.…07:41.56….......00:15:19…........06:16…......01:11.04 ahead
Mile 03....07:38.67….......00:22:59…........06:04….....01:12.87 ahead
Mile 04....07:42.85….......00:30:41….......05:43….....00:52.24 ahead
Mile 05....07:34.59….......00:38:16…........06:38….....01:14.81 ahead
Mile 06....07:31.51….......00:45:48…........06:18….....01:34.34 ahead
Mile 07....07:50.83….......00:53:38…........06:14….....01:13.18 ahead
Mile 08....08:10.52….......01:01:49…........06:47….....00:48.15 ahead
Mile 09....07:51.64….......01:09:41…........06:44….....01:03.76 ahead
Mile 10.…07:56.05….......01:17:37…........06:07….....00:59.23 ahead
Mile 11.…08:04.45….......01:25:41….......06:35….....00:49.69 ahead
Mile 12.…08:20.72….......01:33:62…........05:34….....00:04.46 behind
Mile 13.…07:35.97….......01:41:46…........05:51….....00:03.87 behind
Mile .1…..06:39.00….......01:42:32…........06:14….....00:01.20 ahead

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