Rained most of last night, but had tapered off by this morning - lots of water everywhere failing to evaporate. Walking to the subway with my cup of magic tea in hand was like slogging through an ocean of hot sponges. Less fun than it sounds like, believe me.
Didn't bring a bag (it's at work) and therefore forgot my own hydration. Fortunately, the race had water tables. Race got off to an on-time start and I grabbed water off a table right after what would become the finish line. So thirsty today. Decided that my best strategy to avoid passing right the fuck out was to take the pace real easy and to drink (and walk thru) every water stop. This turned out to be a wise decision.
Course was very crowded, even with the new corrals start. This is because they're not running the start like a corrals start - at least not for the back half of the pack. I had a number in the very last corral, as usual. I spent the first three miles of the race passing people, really, and that's always nice. I wasn't going fast, but it seems like most people had the idea to take it easier today.
Keeping my mantra in my head - "Run the mile you're in." - got me to the first mile marker and water stop in short order - and surprisingly easy. My legs were giving me now trouble other than the normal warm-up laziness and even my lungs were keeping the coughing to a minimum. I grabbed a full cup of water and it was gone in three gulps. WTF? Did they start using dixie cups or something? No...same size as always...just thirsty. After finishing my water, I got running again. These first two miles were the really hilly ones (though the course did NOT include the worst of the hills at the north end of the park) and I was surprised at my ability to handle them today.
Still, I was terribly overheated and I took off my shirt as I ran, which helped immensely. I know I'm not a super-model or anything, but I hope I didn't cause any runners behind me a sudden case of blindness.
Drank and walked through the second water stop right after the second mile marker. I think this mile marker was off. I'm fairly sure three and four were off. Coming down the east side of the park, my legs got fully warmed up, my body was working well, and I sped up somewhat. The next water stop didn't come 'til the 3.5 mile point, at which I was doing so well I didn't want to break my rhythm. To that point, I'd only walked for the two water stops and one coughing fit - all very short walks.
So I continued on, slowly increasing my stride length and pace. The hills began to get harder, but my hill shuffle...uh...shuffles me right up the hills. Another pleasant surprise today.
I noticed a woman in purple about halfway through the race; she and I kept passing each other (she'd take me on hills, I'd pass her on straights) and as the remaining distance dwindled to 800 meteres (there was no marker, BTW, but I'm familiar enough with the Tavern on the Green finish to know what's what out there), I noticed she'd gotten considerably ahead of me during the climb headed south past the 72nd street cutoff - about 3/4 miles back.
She became the one I had to beat. I poured on the power carefully, feeling very thirsty and getting very tired, but wanting very much to finish strong - and very slowly I gained on that woman - and then passed her! I held a good strong pace through the last 200 meters and finished feeling pretty good. I immediately went searching for food and water and was really wishing I'd brought my own HEED or Sustained Energy, because I needed electrolytes.
After a bagel and banana and two more cups of water, I was feeling much better and stayed to watch the kids races. Those are adorable.
To my dismay, my chip was not recorded, nor do I appear in the finish line tapes made by WABC (they broadcast during the race and made tapes of the finish line.) The tapes are poor quality and there are blank gaps in the recordings, including the window of time I was coming in, judging by the times of the people with bib numbers that I could spot-check against the NYRR database.
This is a real problem, because this race is a qualifier and I need proof that I did the race! I will call NYRR tomorrow and perhaps Brightroom caught me in their still photos... if nothing else, my neighbor and NYRR employee Mark can attest that I was there and ran the race - he saw me on the course and at the finish.
Time according to my watch: 54:30, which puts this race solidly in the company of my middle-achievement times. I've run 5 of these total and this is smack in the middle. I'd have to take six minutes off this time to PR...well, there's another five miler in two weekends and maybe I can take three minutes off the time. Given a day that isn't 97% humidity, I might be able to perform at a higher level.
To close, here are some pics I took on Saturday as I walked around the DUMBO area.
Some random wedding:
Londoners at the other end of the Telectroscope:
Otterness sculpture "Large Covered Wagon" at Washington & Prospect
PS I did run Friday after work, down to City Hall. It was as hard as Thursday was easy. Very strange.