Sunday, April 29, 2007

Huge Turnout


It was 56 degrees and cloudy with a sprinkle here n' there at the race.
Today was a who's who of local running clubs. Over 100 clubs, and 5,700+ runners were on
hand for today's 4 mile race for lung cancer. I was really impressed at the number of supporters out there, and the people who were running for a loved one that had battled with cancer.

The race lined up at the start on East Drive near 68th Street and did it's normal counter-clockwise loop around the meat of Central Park.
Doug Labrecque, son of the late Tom Labrecque, Sr., sounded the starting horn. It took me nearly 2 minutes to cross the starting line, and that was with me lined up between the 7 and 8 minute markers. There was a lot of jockeying for position in the first mile, with runners trying to set their pace and create open spaces. Surprisingly, I was able to do that mile in 7:30.

Of course, there are those hills between the 2nd and the 3rd mile in Central Park, which to me are routinely deadly. And as I was a little bit more than half way through it, the race was already won. The race came down to two men: Worku Beyi and Demesse Tefera of the Westchester Track Club (WTC). My girlfriend laughed because in the time that it took for her to walk from the start to the finish (like 1/4 mile away), she did not even get the chance to videotape the photo finish between them two. Beyi, 20, raised his arms in victory as he broke the tape and narrowly defeated teammate Tefera, 24, by less than one second. The clock read 18:43 as both runners crossed the finish line.

“He’s my best friend and a great teammate,” Beyi said of Tefera, and pocketed $400 for his victory. “We train together, we live together, and he really helped me run today.”

John Henwood, 34, of the New York Athletic Club (NYAC), regular to NYRR races, and who is tall and gifted, easily came in 3rd.who finished in 19:16. Also, an avid marathoner, Retta Feyissa of Westchester Track Club, who had won the 2004 Marine Corps Marathon in 2:25:35, and placed 34th at the ING New York City Marathon (2:27:29) that same year, came in 9th.

As for me, I did manage to beat my previous 4 mile PR, which I had achieved back at the Colon Cancer Fundraising Race back on March 11th this year. My 29:23 was almost 1 minute less than my previous of 30:21. My pace was 7:20, and although it's not the 6:40 from last week, I have to consider that there was a lot of hills, runner congestion, humidity, and longer race than last week too. In all, I came in 852nd. But that's out of 5707. So, top 15% ain't bad at all!


After my race, we hung out for the awards ceremony, which was pretty cool. I then changed in the Port-O-San (a runner's next best friend) and from there we took a drive down to the Tribeca Film Festival. Didn't get to see much (tickets a bit prices - $25 per) but we took pictures of the area and had lunch at my one of our favorite restaurants, Cabana Nuevo Latino, except this time at the one at the South Street Seaport, instead of Forest Hills. We had a pitcher of Sangria, and I had a Paella Valenciana, and I also shared my gal's "La Playa" salad too.

Provided that I keep a close vigilance to not hurt myself, races are fun to do. April & May are huge race months here in NYC. Next Sunday, I've got the Long Island Half Marathon, and then comes my suicide in the form of 3 more races on the 20th & 22nd & 27th. The run on the 22nd is the Wall Street Run, and while I want to do well in that race, I think I'm going to turn that into a "fun" run. After that things should wind down considerably, with only 1 race in June and 1 in July.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Thomas Labrecque Run

Every 3 minutes another person is diagnosed with lung cancer and each hour 18 people die from it. More than 60% of people newly diagnosed with lung cancer each year have never smoked or have quit smoking. And despite lung cancer being the #1 killer, roughly $1,800 is spent for research per lung cancer death compared to over $23,000 per breast cancer death for research.

About Tom
In September of 2000, Thomas G. Labrecque was diagnosed with lung cancer and died eight weeks later. Tom never smoked and was in good health prior to his diagnosis.
Tom was born in Long Branch, NJ, the third of eight children. After attending Villanova University, he served in the Navy for four years before joining Chase Manhattan Bank in 1964. He worked his way up and became chairman and CEO of the Chase Manhattan Corporation in 1990. In April 1996, after helping organize one of the largest mergers in banking history between Chase and the Chemical Banking Corporation, he assumed the position of president and COO. At the time of his death, he was chairman of Chase’s International Advisory Council, a post he assumed following his retirement in June 1999.

Rich, poor, whatever a person's situation, cancer is a horrible ordeal, not only for the one enduring it, but for the family and loved ones too. It is the first time I run this race, and I don't think I can top what I did in the last race, but it won't matter I will be raising money, and running for a good cause this Sunday.

I've been running everyday now, with no letup in sight. Unless I feel the need to, I will continue to run everyday, at least until after my Long Island Half Marathon on May 6. I think I may have approached a stage aerobically, that I have not enjoyed, perhaps even since I was 18. I don't know how much more I can do with this old body, but am ever so gently pushing the envelope to see what my actual limits are.

I will be picking up my running number this Saturday, and then heading over for the Tribeca Film Festival for an afternoon indie show.

Then it will be more sleep for me, and then my race.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Outdoors....Here I Come!

Well, today I ran twice. Once during my lunch hour and again through Forest Park when I got home. Finally, some warm weather! I'm really grateful for it too. My legs were beginning to ache running on those treadmills for all those months.

This morning, as I was fumbling through my running memorabilia. I was looking to scan in my running number from when I ran the JFK race back in 84' and/or 85'. To my chagrin, I could not find them, but I found out something else. A running number to a Queens Half-Marathon race that I actually ran in my heydey. Previously, I did not think that I ran one before 1990. Moreover, I could not believe that my some of my half times nowadays were better. I did that race in 1:51:17, or about 8:30 per mile.

This evening's run went well, but my left leg is aching a bit more. I really ran fast and effortless however. Even the hills went well. Great thing about this Forest Park, is that I can consider it to be just about anything. There's hills all along the course, and there is that great oval track at the end of it. With all the other runners out there, and with little worries about auto traffic, I definitely plan to use this a lot.

This was the picture that my 9-year old, Stepahnie, took of me after the race yesterday. The solar flare on the upper right hand of the photo I was holding is actually natural. No photoshop at all!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

In a word....Surreal...

Going into today's race, All I kept thinking about was how happy I was to do a race that I had not done in 21 years and 337 days (May 18th, 1985 to save you on the math).

The "Run on the Runway" is sponsored by the JFK Rotary Club. Funds raised from the race are used for scholarships, and to sponsor terminally ill children from countries with limited medical and technological services.

The first race was run in April 1972, but my first time running it was on May 20th, 1984. Until 2000 it was a 10K race which started at the Ramada Plaza JFK Hotel parking lot and to the runway and back to the hotel.

Pictures from 1984:

In that first race, I did my 10K in 41:17. A few years later, I would still be trying to break 40 minutes for a 10k (which never happened). It is my 10K PR.

In 1985, the race length, due to problems with traffic congestion, was reduced to 5 miles. That year I ran the race in 31:04 for an average, blistering speed of 6:13 per mile (one of my fastest ever). It was the only time I ever came in 1st place for a long distance race (in my division) and I came in 25th overall out of 350 runners.

Since then, traffic congestion had gotten a lot worse in the area, and the race was changed to a 5K. However, the race directors got it right. They eliminated the public roads portion of the run, and made the entire race on the longest runway of JFK International Airport, Runway 13. It is actually the longest Runway at JFK which is almost 14,000 feet, although only a short portion of the main runway is used for the 5K race.

I didn't sleep as much on Friday night as I would have liked to. I had a stressful day at work, and I had to get my children this weekend too. Usually, when they come over, I relish them for as long as I can. They usually fall asleep on me first before I ever have to tell them it's "Night Night" lol.

Last night, I also did not sleep too much, but I also decided not to run. It would mean sacrificing a chance at posting my 5th consecutive 30+ mile week, but given the speed that 5K demands, I was actaully more concerned about reserving energy for this race, more than for my Half Marathon last week.

The climate completely cooperated today. It was about 60 degrees, pure sunshine, and low humidity (10%). Even then, I was holding on to my prediction that I would finish somewhere between 23:30 & 23:37, which would easily have beaten my mark of 23:51 posted at the Coogan's Shamrock race in Washington Heights last year.

Remembering the article I read from Runner's World, I decided to go out faster than norm on the first mile, regress on the 2nd, and let it all fly on the last. Even then, I figured to finish no better than 23:30. But what happened, is a miracle.

With a field of about 300 runners, I lined up near the front. We were at the end of the runway, next to a humongous airplane hanger. Ileana filmed my "takeoff" and as the horn blew, I immediately exploded. One of the bad things about lining up to close to the front of the pack, is that you will die if you even try to keep up with them. The other thing is that eventually, your governing pace will take over, and anyone who was behind you with a better pace, will naturally overtake you later on. This can be a psychological letdown, especially towards the end of a grueling, fast run.

Lately, I've been measuring my mile splits manually, pressing the lap button after passing each "Mile" flag. Unfortunately today, there were no flags to be found. Not even an overhead clock at the start/finish! I had to rely on accurately starting my stopwatch as soon as my "Champion Ankle Chip" crossed the starting mats.

Anyhow, I never collapsed from trying to keep up with leaders, and only a few people passed me (although I actually passed a few people as well too!) Anywhow, I never really competed for the top spot. I had no chance. In fact, the winner, was this 19 year old out of West Point. He blew everyone away (take a look at the difference between him and #2 on the bottom of this blog). But I managed to see the winner almost the whole way.

Leaving the hangar area, we ran down the longest runway of Kennedy. Ahead in the distance was a parked 747! It was there to signify the turnaround point. Some marker!!

When I looked at my watch and saw that it said 10:00 minutes flat, I almost thought my watch had broke! I had to stare at it a bit longer to see that the numbers were still moving. Just then someone passed me! At this point, I was yelling to myself; "Forget about the damn watch, and the time.....Focus on your race!!!"

Anyway, I hustled it back. I don't even think I slowed down during the second mile, although I must've since my second half was done in 10:43.

Running back, I can see the leader, further and further away. I kept thinking to myself that I was losing ground, and that eventually other people would pass me by. But no one did. I kept thinking to look back, but wisely chose not to.

During the whole race, I clutched in my left hand a picture of me of when I ran my race back in '84. I must say the visual reinforcements coupled with the trance-techno music on my iPod, was all I needed to finish in good form.

With less than a half mile to go, all I kept hearing through my electronic beats, were the sound of me grunting, "Ayyyyiii, Ayyyiiii, Ayyyyyiii". I kept expecting to die, but I did not. And when I finished, I didn't even puke.

However, I did walk past my kids and past Ileana to the shade, and had to quickly get down on the ground or else collapse to it.

I still cannot believe my time. But my watch and the race clocks concur (within a second or two).


This week I will concentrate on getting up early to do my runs outdoors. I got up at 5:30am today (good), to post this blog and tomorrow it will be to run. Legs feel great today, but I must keep a constant vigilance against injury...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Food. Notorious Food.

For those of you who wish to read this, please beware. You may suddenly become hungry, and have thoughts of attacking your refridgerator. Therefore, please read at your own risk.
Today started on a downward slide. Typically, most runners can usually get away with packing in a few more calories. This is because the aerobic exercise of jogging will burn off more calories than just about any other activity. However, there are limits, as to what you can burn off, whereas the sky is the limit with how many calories one could consume.

Unfortunately, I just don't learn my lesson.

I try to have no more than 1500-1800 calories per day. A body weighing roughly 155 pounds will burn about 75 calories per day. Multiply that by 24 hours, and voilá! You get 1800 calories burned.

After a nice weigh-in after my Brooklyn Half last Saturday, I thought that if I could get to around 140-145 pounds, that I would then be at an optimal mass. However, I love to eat. And therein lies the problem. My weakness of eating. My stomach. My taste buds. They are all part of a non-stop machine. My stepmother Cristina calls me "Hooverito". She is Cuban, but one does not need much imagination to know why she calls me that. First of all, it means the vacuum of the same name, but only in Spanish. For me, there are more marathons than just running. Keep me from eating for too long, and watch what I'll do at an Italian restaurant.... What a disgrace!

And speaking of rampant and uncontrollable urges, today was no exception. For breakfast, I had not 1, but 2 bagels. And they were loaded with real Breakstone butter. At some point I will have to learn NOT TO BUY OR EAT THESE THINGS ANYMORE!!!!

But that was nothing. The assault continued later on in the day. I actually did a run at noon. But it was to my car. From there I drove on a flat road. But to tell you the truth folks, it was all downhill. You see, there's this
little deli called "Suburban Eats". It's right on route 110 in Melville....and their food is really, really good. And I was really, really hungry.

A foot long chicken parmagiana hero, a prosciutto, mozzarella, tomato and basil sandwich, and a bag of Garlic & Herb Roasted "Dirty" Potato Chips later, I felt as if I was in my third term. But let us not forget the Diet Coke. For we ARE watching our weight, right?! Yeah, sure. We are watching it all right. Watching it rise, like a bread in the over, to be sure.

The icing on the cake came later. Literally. The food truck (that damned food truck), which comes around every couple of hours by my office, honked his horn. "Coffee Truck is here", was announced over the PA. I was not going to go outside. No sir-ree! Heck, I ate enough already, didn't I? At least 2000 calories today, and it's only 2 pm!

But then I remembered...I owed Ken (the driver of that damned food truck) money for food from last week. I can't let the tab slide, right? I mean, I had to pay him. All I have to do is just march right out there, pay up, turn my ass around, and march right back in.

And that's exactly...what I almost did.......Till I saw them. The Hostess Cupcakes....Mmmmmm.
Hadn't had those in months. I fought and I fought. I circled the truck like a shark. I even started to mutter to myself, being careful not to let my co-workers see me (cause that might not be too cool). But the mind was too weak, and the digestive engines too strong. My stomach, like the plant in the movie, "The Little Shop of Horrors", had yelled to his rightful master...."Alex, Feed Me! Feed me Alex!!!" I pleaded with my brain to ease the sensations, but I caved. Then, I even rationalized, that "Hey? What's 350 more calories anyway?" I bought my sinful little treat, and then washed it down, with a Vitamin Water. LOL.

As penance, I went tonight to the gym, and just got back. 12 miles. After the first 6, my lower, inner part of left leg (about 4 inches down from my knee) was talking to me again. I got off the treadmill, and got on the elliptical machine, a non-impact exercise. I did this for about 20 minutes, then went to another treadmill. I'm glad I did this too because as it turned out, the second treadmill was in much better shape than the first.

I can't wait for the weather to finally warm up over here. I need to run the streets and the parks. All this treadmill running is taking it's toll on my legs.

Anyway, the lesson for tonight: Eat every 3 hours, eat small amounts, stay away from bad carbs, and if you must eat bad, be prepared to repent! run like this:
you must not eat too many of this:

Monday, April 16, 2007

111th Running of The Boston Marathon.

Hail to the people of Boston, a great city with generous people and wonderful cultures (not to mention some of the finest Italian food around too!). For not only did the elite running core brave the incredibly difficult weather, but so too did the average Boston commoner!

The first Boston Marathon was held on April 18, 1897. It commemorated the famous 1775 ride of colonial patriot, Paul Revere. It was also inspired by the first modern, Olympic marathon, held just the previous year. Not sure how many ran it then, but there are at least 20,000 runners who, without breaking a sweat can all beat the pants out of me, and they were all on hand today.

The Boston Marathon will someday become my goal, but at my age, I would still need a time of under than 3 hours and 21 minutes to qualify. That's a very stingy 7 minute 40 second pace. If it wasn't tough enough to do an 8:03 per mile this Sunday, I can't even imagine shaving off another 23 seconds for those first thirteen miles, and then.......ANOTHER 13.2 miles at the same pace?!

Nevertheless, it is in my soul to do this, and therefore my will is strong. I just need my legs, heart and lungs to catch up, and most of all, patience. That's all. Oh yes, and NO MORE INJURIES!!

I ran today for 3 miles, and even clocked in a 7:11 during my last mile. Then I ate, and just went back for a second run. I guess reading about these champs today on the Internet have given me even more fervor to continue my hot and sweaty pursuits!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

SHATTERED! ...but what exactly does that mean?

A little over two years ago, I ran in the Pfizer Oncology 4 Mile race in Central Park. My shins were aching terribly, yet I was able to complete the race in 31:02, for a pace of 7:46. The following week, I ran the Brooklyn Half-Marathon for the first time, and I finished the race with terrible, terrible pain. Two weeks and another race later, I learned from my doctor, that I had fractured my left tibia. The X-Ray was very clear. There was a solid white line, going horizontally across my lower leg bone (something like this, which I dug out from Google).
It was apparent that this was not normal. Further, there was already calcification, that had been there for several weeks, as the doctor had said.

Therefore I ran the Brooklyn Half Marathon with a broken, if not shattered, left leg.

Moving forward to now:
A few weeks ago, I had taken a few days off because of some discomfort that I had felt, in my calves (the source of my heartbreak during last year's NYC Marathon). I took off 3 days, and started running again, with no let up in sight.

Last night, I started seeing something odd about my upper left leg, around the inside, and about 4 inches down. It was kinda swollen, but it was also sore to the touch.

This morning, after having my coffee. And yes, after lowering my weight further to 153 (please do not ask how this was accomplished....I'm trying to keep this a "PG" rated site), I headed out with gym bag in girlfriend at hand to the car and to the race.
The Belt Parkway had 6:45AM.
But I arrived at Coney Island safe and sound.

For those of you unfamiliar with Brooklyn or NYC history, "Wikipedia", an awesome Internet encyclopedia has this to say, about Coney Island:
"Coney Island is a peninsula, formerly an island, in southernmost Brooklyn, New York City, USA, with a famous beach lying on the Atlantic Ocean. The eponymous neighborhood is a community of 60,000 people in the western part of the peninsula, with Seagate to its west; Brighton Beach and Manhattan Beach to its east; and Gravesend to the north.
The area was a major resort and home of Astroland amusement park that reached its peak in the early 20th century. It declined in popularity after World War II and endured years of neglect. In recent years, the area has been revitalized by the opening of KeySpan Park, home to the successful Brooklyn Cyclones minor league baseball team. The Cyclones are a huge success and bring in a lot of sports fans during open season."

I found parking at a meter directly in front of the Cyclone on Surf Avenue...

And although the sign said No Parking 8-8:30a except Sunday, the police in the their double-parked van told me not to worry about it, and also suggested that I take Ileana for dinner tonight for waiting for me in the car throughout my whole race.

So I went and got my number, and came back to leave the cell phone, because it was just bouncing around too much in the back of my shirt. It was cold again this year! The temperature was said to be 40, but when you are at Coney Island, which is within a stone's throw from the Atlantic Ocean, it's at least 5-10 degrees colder, and windier too.

8AM, and we're all on the boardwalk. "On your mark" was followed by the airhorn. The warmth of being huddled with thousands of runner all around was going to end soon. The iPod got turned on. The legs were ready...Or were they?

To give you an idea of how many there were, I walked for nearly a minute before crossing the starting line, and I was lined up just in front of the 8 minute pace sign.
So how did I do?

Mile 1 - Waking Up With Wood.

Running on the boardwalk in Coney Island is a challenge for sure. If climbing over the fence to get to the starting line wasn't funny enough, making sure that you don't trip over any of the metal studs that were not properly hammered into the wooden even less funnier.
Last year, someone took a nasty fall, in the very beginning, and about 5 people all around him went along for the dip as well.
"The Distance" by Cake just came on. Awesome!
I'm going pretty fast for all this congestion, I'm thinking. Maybe too fast. This ain't no 5K and I've got to pace myself, or it's curtains (pronounced as "coy-tans" because I am in Brooklyn right now). My lungs are doing great however, and I'm also thinking that my left leg is holding up, for now too.
Mile 1 Time: 7:56.5


Mile 2 - Hairy Is As Hairy Does.

The gifted runners have already done their turnaround, and are passing me going in the opposite direction. They are skinny, fast and beautiful. Well, not beautiful. But they are fast.
As I'm running on the planks in between the studs (almost dancing to avoid them), I see an African-American who ran into a metal barrel. He was negotiating the terms of his Garmin watch (which I have to get someday, by the way). Not sure what happened to him, but then I also saw what I believe was the missing link in the genealogy table for how men evolved from apes. There was an old man, I'd say in his 60's (God bless him). He had no shirt on. Brrr. But he had fur. A lot of hairy, man-made fur. I'm thinking, is this guy a hazard, just by filling up his tank of gas? The static electricity from his back carpet could ignite the fumes!
The turnaround was negotiated well. Not too tight. Not too wide. The sun is hitting me in the
face. I'm thinking about taking off my "buff", that's my headpiece to keep my head warm, but realized I was only in mile 2.
The 2 mile marker whizzed by my head. My watch showed me numbers, but in my head I said to myself, "Alex! YOU ARE GOING TO BURN OUT! SLOW DOWN!!!"
Mile 2 - Time: 7:55

Mile 3: Brighton Beach Memoirs

Finishing up the boardwalk section of the race, we all spilled out onto Surf avenue, and surprise...It was right by where my car was parked!! I looked in the car for Ileana, but could not get close enough. Little did I know that she was outside the car, and taking pictures!

Coming off the ramp, I definitely slowed down. Hopefully, this would not be a sign of more ill to come...or would it?
Mile 3 time - 8:25.4


Mile 4: Welcome To The Parkway

As we passed the New York Aquarium, and curved left onto Ocean Parkway, the blast of air that I had expected from my left, never came. Yesterday I trained in my office gym. I placed this fan, whose blades were like 18 inches long, right up against the left side of the treadmill. I did this because the forecast called for high winds out of the west, and since we were going to run north for nearly 6 miles on Ocean Parkway, I wanted to acclimate myself to this nonsense right away. Fact was, the sun was brighter than expected, but the wind was not to be.
As mile 4 came to a close, I looked at my watch and was shocked. I completely reversed the slowing effects. With 9 miles to go, I'd better slow down now.
Mile 4 time: 7:53.5

Mile 5: Runner #4318
As we entered Bensonhurst, usually a place where many would come and cheer, I noticed it was very quiet outside. Where is Everybody? I felt like Earl Holliman in that Twilight Zone episode of the same name too. Bensonhurst is considered by many to be Brooklyn's Little Italy. About 50,000 or roughly 1/3 of the population there are made up of Italian-Americans. Since no one was out there cheering, I was able to focus a bit better on my mechanics. I was keeping pace and doing every thing correctly. When the wind blew in front of me, I'd run behind someone tall to block it. To the left of me? I'd run to the right of the pack. After missing the first two water stops, I hit this one, knocked back carbo-gel pack, and had some Gatorade too. I found myself in pace directly behind this girl with red hair and shorts on (brave). She kept a decent pace, not too slow and not too fast. Just right. As I approached the 5 Mile marker, I noticed that my watch said, "39:53". Not wanting to be over the 8min per mile pace, I sprinted through the marker. Stupid.
Mile 5 time: 7:51.7


Mile 6: Kings Highway & The Streaker

The girl who I paced behind, fell behind by the end of the last mile, thanks to an all too-fast 7:51.

If it wasn't bad enough seeing 1 old man running nearly naked, I had to see another. This guy really had us laughing too (I think his intent), because he was running in nothing more than a colorful, tropical flowered Speedo. Ohhh Boy... This was the first mile, where I started feeling like "the machine" was getting rusty. The girl ended up in front of me by the end of this mile too. In a sea of over 5,000 runners, you have to pick your opponents carefully. Darn.

Mile 6 time: 8:06.8

Mile 7: NYRR, ya screwed up!

Where was your marker? Here I am running my heart out for me, and you and Mr. Magoo, and as I look at my watch I see 9 minutes more have gone by since the last marker. We are now at the Midwood section of Brooklyn, and for those city folks out there, we've run past 9 subway stations. Somehow or another, my legs are still going strong, despite the worry over my lumpy and sore discovery just last night. The girl who was behind, then behind again. This is getting interesting.

Mile 7 time: an estimated 7:55


Mile 8: Borough Park

Borough Park is home to one of the largest Orthodox Jewish communities outside of Israel, so I had no doubt that no one would be on the sidelines cheering for us here. It must be something to do with their beliefs and/or culture. Every time, I've ran in the NYC Marathon, and I pass through this area, you could hear a pin drop. The contrast between that and the roaring, cheering crowds everywhere else is such, that you wonder if you actually had blacked out and were in a deaf dream!

During this mile, I basically exchanged places with the redhead several times. Seems like we just can't kill the other. But who shall fail and who shall succeed, will I beat her and be victorious, or shall I lose, find a small corner to crawl into and bawl like a "wittle" baby. Only time will tell, and only the strong survive! (and really who gives a shit anyway....Well, I guess there goes my PG rating).

Mile 8 time: an estimated 7:56.6 (lap for miles 7 & 8 equaled 15:51.6)

Mile 9: Or, The End of The Good Life

With the expanse of Ocean Parkway now mostly behind me, and with an incredible sub-8 minute pace for the first 8 miles. As I past Church Ave., I made a sign of the cross and kissed my snotty slimy thumb. I was like bull, you see. To clean left nostril, close right nostril and breathe out thru nose hard, and vice-versa. Hey, I tried to be considerate at least, and not share my nasal discharge with anyone nearby.Halfway through this mile, Ocean Parkway ends by us runners running down the hill and under the Fort Hamilton Parkway overpass. At this point, the redhead took command and decided (or rather attempted) to put a blitz on me, to finish me for once, and for all. But I do not quit. Not yet, and if my "still" healthy legs have anything to do with it!

The mile 9 marker is just at the southern entrance of Prospect Park. Prospect Park was designed right after Central Park was completed and by the same chaps too. Attractions include the Long Meadow, a ninety acre meadow thought to be the largest meadow in any U.S. park.

I knew that I was at the end of the flat, straightaway. And although, I had done remarkably well, good enough for a new PR, I also knew a few other things too;

  1. I was tired.

  2. The uphills in this Park were going to be NASTY.

  3. My leg. My leg (I looked at each one just now as I write this)
Mile 9 time: 8:04.4


Mile 10: I Won't Back Down

I love Tom Petty's music. And yes, I REFUSED to back down. I passed the redhead and never looked back. Ran my heart out. Hell, I ran my lungs and spleen too. Nothing, I repeat nothing is going to slow me down! It's not about whether I can or I can't. It's about whether I will or I won't. I've done so much good in this race thus far. My God, I am even flirting for a sub-8 minute Half Marathon. I am 41 years old right?
Mile 10: 8:14.3


Mile 11: I Back Down
Oh, but how the dreamers so easily deceive themselves! Not a moment less than really feeling like I had this one all locked up; I see my first BIG hill. No problem, just take a little step here (breath), and a shorter stride there (heavier breath) , and another turn here (pant), and jump over the errant twig there (massive groan)..(and now "Red-Head passes me). And let's see; Wow. I am running out of breath and I have about two huge jugs of lactic acid now, otherwise known as my upper thighs....
The "Red-head" passed me, and this time she never looked back. For good too. Guess I was messing with the wrong opponent! At this point my thoughts of competing have regressed backwards to the point of insecurity within my abilities. 'Can I still do a sub-8? Yes, No, Yes, No, Nah...No Freaking Way!" Which then further crumbled into, 'Can I still have a PR?"

Mile 11 time: 8:21.5 (booooh!) Funny....just last year, it was still great!

Mile 12: NYRR REALLY screwes it up

The race course that NYRR has posted was wrong. (although now if you click it is right-sonofagun! Going south on Mile 12, we don't make the first left, but rather we have to go further south along the west side of the park till the next intersection, make a left there, go all across the park back to the east side, make a left and go north parallel to where those having finished their 10th mile are at, and then make another left to finish up in the center of the park! That meant another set of hills, and more torture. The redhead was not too far ahead, but she were going downhill again and she was speeding up.
Mile 12 time: 7:43.9 (Holy F*&*#^g A!!! - I didn't realize how fast I actually went downhill!!)


Mile 13: How To Die.....For A Second Time.

If I had realized just how fast I had gone in the past mile, and not be so dizzy by now, I might have had the additional umpfh needed for this next hill, which seemed even more insurmountable than the previous one. Still, and all in all, I was on my way to a new PR....Unless?
Mile 13 time: 8:28


Shattered Record or Shattered Leg?
(Well, isn't this what everyone wants to know?)

Like I said, two years ago, an unbeknownst to me, I ran with a broken leg. I'm not terribly proud of having a high threshold to pain, because I was out for two months due to it. I had pain at times this week, and while I slept 10 hours Thursday night (as the good book say to sleep long 2 nights before), I still had the swelling in the upper part of my leg. At what point then, does my leg shatter?

It doesn't!!!

Miracle of miracles!!!!!

I motor across the last tenth of my half-marathon in 48.1 seconds, and do not shatter my leg. But, by posting a final time of 1:45:39, I did destroy my previous Half-Marathon record of 1:48:08, by two-and-one-half minutes. And while my previous PR in Queens last year, was mostly flat the last 3 miles (I did an unbelievable 7:32 the last 3 miles in that one), Brooklyn is extremely difficult because of the hills in the park at the end.


POST RACE: Shelby Siegel is Runner #4318.

After my "Champion Chip" was removed off my sneakers, I saw her ahead. I made my way over, told her what a great runner she was, and thanked her for beating me. She laughed, and I did tell thank her again afterwards for helping me stay "in" it all the way (well almost!)

She did break the 8 minute per mile mark. 7:59 to be exact, and at age 32, she came in 67th overall for her age group.

As for this 41-year old goat, I came in 1302nd place overall out of 4956 runners, and you can find my results here ->OLD GOAT MAKES GOOD.

I will update this post next month with better pictures of me, once they are available from Brightroom.

ADDENDUM: More good news. I get home and my scale is now reading: 151.6. This is my lowest. Another PR!!

.............................................I think I will enjoy tonight's steak!

PS. And lastly to my new friend Ada, for whom I met on the "F" train back to Coney...Don't worry about not hitting your 7:40 pace. You might still get in with the lottery this year. And if you don't, you'll still only need 2 more races (for a total of 9), and you are in for next year.

And.....Congrats too for a great performance today!!!!