I’m tempted to write this entire post in the voice of Groundskeeper Willie, but that’s too much work. So I’ll limit the ridiculous accent to the title.
Jesus God, how this race sucked. I don’t know what went wrong today. It wasn’t a terrible race, but it wasn’t particularly good either. I just had zero speed after the first mile, which was just barely under 7:00.
Wednesday’s track session went very well and I felt fine this morning. I did a three mile warmup in the park and started to have some inklings that all was not well. It was sunny, humid and getting warm. I hate all of these racing conditions. I am a cold weather racer, my best racing weather being just above freezing real feel.
I’d deliberately left my heart rate monitor at home, since not only has it been acting up lately but I also tend to look at it during warmup miles and get freaked out by how high the HR% is. I knew the heat would just push it higher and do more of a mental job than usual today.
I did a couple of strides off on a side path and, boy, did those feel slow. They were probably in the high 6:50s, whereas I typically do some around 6:00 or below during race warmups. Ugh.
It was also a giant race. Or, at least giant compared to last week’s diminutive field of around 2,500. Today’s field was a couple hundred sweating bodies short of 8,000. While I was jogging around, I spotted Joe and gave a wave. Joe would go on to get third in his AG. Go, Joe!
I also spotted a blogger with whom I’ve been exchanging amusing emails with for the past week, Ellen Jovin, another 44 year old racer. I “stole” her AG award last week. She paid me back today by beating me by 10 seconds. We chatted as we passed each other on the way to our respective corrals.
And about those corrals: I was in red again; Ellen was in yellow today. Neither of our bettered paces from last week were reflected on our bibs today. I guess there’s a lag time in getting the credit. Still, it was an annoying discovery.
Two fun observations: First, the NYRR announcer needs a geography lesson, or at least help with pronunciation. They were raffling off a trip to “Edinberg.” I have no idea where that is, but it ain’t in Scotland. Second, there was a band playing Scottish music. I swear, for the first hour I was there warming up, every time they announced the name of the band I heard it as “Whiskey Piss.” I thought, well, that’s a little cheeky. But edgy, I guess. Almost Irish! Then I figured out it’s “Whiskey Kiss.” I like the first band name better. Either way, the music was frantic and repetitive enough to bring on a psychotic episode. That was the last thing I needed today.
So, anyway — boring race bits: The horn blows and the clusterfuck that is Corral Two lumbers forward. We’re moving at 7:30 and I’m already giving up on a good race time today. I’m thirsty already and yet, paradoxically, I have to pee. Jesus, why did I decide to do this?
But by the half mile mark things are opening up and I see my average pace is in the high 6:50s. I know the first few miles of this course are tough — with mile 4 being the worst. I’d gone in thinking I’d be happy to make low 7:00s for the first two-thirds. I was on track for the first few:
Mile 1: 6:57
Mile 2: 7:05
Mile 3: 7:13
The big Harlem Hills killed me, just like in the Mini 10K two years ago — in fact my splits are nearly identical to that race — and Mile 4 is an abyssmal 7:44.
Okay. I accept that and move on. I hope I can regain low 7:00s for the last two. But it’s not to be. My legs are shot. I’m hot and my head hurts.
Mile 5: 7:12
Just past Mile 5 a perky Front Runner zips past me and yells, “I love your shoes!” From the blur of her feet, I can just make out that she’s wearing the same model: unisex Asics HyperSpeed 3s. I grunt in appreciation and shoe solidarity.
Mile 6: 7:34
That damned last mile around the bottom of the park is always so sneaky. It seems downhill, but it’s actually comprised primarily of a gradual uphill grade.
Then the last .2 miles, which really is a hill. I pass a guy who sounds like he’s in need of a defibrillator. A crazed iPod wearer elbows me in the shoulder as he muscles past. I witnessed him call someone else an asshole earlier on. Please, let this ghoulish nightmare end.
Net time: 45:26
16th in my AG, 71.3% AG (ouch) and 123rd woman. Much more competitive this week!
Since I’m now racing at least twice a month, if not more, a cruddy race was bound to happen eventually. I have no idea why I was so slow today, but I’m guessing it was the suddenly warmer temps and highish (80%) humidity. Warm weather is my racing Kryptonite.
Onward to next week, when I take on the Scarsdale 15K.