PLACE: Wantagh, Long Island
DISTANCE: 3.5 Miles
TEMP: 80 degrees - 51% humidity - low winds - overcast
7200 Runners. 190 companies.......
............................................................In a 3.5 mile long race?
That's pretty absurd. Too many people, right?
But that's why I crept up to the front section of the race, because had I not done so, I would have been zig zagging everywhere. As it was, my final distance was actually 3.56 (that's an extra .06 more)
The weather was definitely cooler than last year and the sun was not out completely. Which is funny, because in the shuffle mode, the first song my iPod played was "Reach Out for the Sunrise" by Duran Duran. I know, it's kind of a gay song, but it had nice hooks for running.
One nice thing about Jones Beach is that you are in the complete wide open, and as such, my Garmin never lost satellite reception. So, when I report what were my best spurts within my splits here, they are legitimate. Keep reading it's down there somewhere...
The guy who sang the national anthem, works at Runner's Edge. I actually spoke to him today at the store about him singing tonight. He's the lead singer in a local rock band (whose name escapes me). I bought a pair of sunglasses to replace the ones that I had lost, and another visor to replace the one that I had left at home. Nice going, Alex. Aces.
Before the start of the race, I knew there was going to be trouble ahead. Traffic-wise that is. 7200 people is a lot of people. Ocean Parkway was backed up for miles in both directions as the traffic snaked it's way around between eastbound and west, all in the search of entering the parking lot. I have no shame in telling you that I zoomed past a lot of cars waiting patiently in single file to go around this jam. I know, I know, people like me suck. But I didn't want to miss the team photo. Well, I missed the team photo.
By the time I got to the parking lot it was full. If you can believe this, we all had to go past the needle, and park in Field 4. I was in a pretty foul mood about this. I should have left the office earlier. Guess I like my work too much it seems. I tried to leave, but I never go by a watch, only by a task, and my last task I committed to do did not end until 5:15pm.
Anyway, this year, our tent was even further from the start than last year. Any further, and I think I'm going to recommend that the Marcum lawfirm make separate T-shirts for us bearing the name Long Beach State Park instead. Oh wait, Long Beach isn't even a state park. Whatever.
The usual suspects were there at the tent. All except for Jon Garber, who was stationed in Germany, and could not make it in, and Steve Stransky, whose not really had much time to run of late. I can totally relate to that life-getting-in-the-way type of thing too.
I was feeling loose tonight, with tremendous inspiration I had garnered all day long from my colleagues and from emails alike, and I felt like I was on a mission to kick major bootay.
Also, I was impressed by the fact that it didn't feel as hot as it normally did, thanks in part, to the hat and sunglasses I sported for the first time at this run.
Intelligently (Yes I know, a bit rare for me) , I made my way to the starting line about 25 minutes before the airhorn ( I would like to say gun, but race directors are wusses in this day and age....I say use a stick of dynamite the next time we do the race. Hey the freaking people 5 miles away waiting to start might actually get to hear this. Oh shit. This parenthesis-laden blurb is too long).
My first mile, was great. Except for some chunky guy who looked like Pugsley from the Addams family. He was annoyed that I was not giving way to his Jabba the Hutt like waddle ( I have to admit though, he was one fast mutha jabba.).
So the first mile I did in 7:00 flat (7:00.20 for those calculating maniacs out there). Whoa! A little fast. In fact, and not captured by the Garmin, was the fact that when passing the .5 mile marker, I looked, and my watch had said 3:27, which would have been a 6:54 pace, and with the exception of that exceptional race at the airport a couple of years ago, this might have been one of the fastest starts ever for me since I started this odyssey again in 2003.
So. Could I keep it up? (Okay. You people have sick minds, you know that? That's not what I meant to say!)
Halfway during the second mile is where we turn back around. Typically if we had any tailwind, then we'd be hit with headwind. Fortunately, there was very little wind to speak of, and not too many people had Mexican for lunch either. So again, I say, very little wind to speak of.
I remembered last year, how I was dying during the second mile, and that was because I had gone out too fast. This year I went even faster, however I am a better athlete this year, and the sun was cooperating (Good Sun, Good Sun).
As I passed the 1.5 mile marker, my watch said 10:57. I felt I had given up too much ground, because it had to have meant that I did the first half mile of the second mile in 4 minutes. Seeing nothing but straight away and a little bit of a downhill, I actually motored till I stormed past the 2nd mile marker. And now my watch said 14:08. At 3:11 for the back half of mile 2, that was by far, one of the best performances, I've ever put on in a short race. Having those 12 ounce mizuno Wave Riders really paid dividends tonight. I did pass a lot of people during this time, and I clocked my 2nd mile in 7:08.39.
Confusion can lead to let down. During mile two there is an area where you run a hairpin in and out of one of the field parking lots. I plum forget about this. All I saw were people ahead of me making a right turn, so I thought. "Yay. The finish is almost here." I also saw other peopple coming back out, but I also thought, "Wow. People are still running from the back of the race....Until it hit me.....Those people running out were pretty damn fast so they could not have been lined up at the back, rather it was a hairpin turn..... What a stoo-nad (Italian folks, can you help me out here with the spelling? Is it Stew-nads? No wait, that's when your "boys" are really cooking beneath your shorts....Oh, never mind...)
So, I was confused, and dejected knowing I was still further away than originally planned. Again, I drew upon my inspiration to pull me through and finished my 3rd mile in 7:08.65. Nearly identical to the 2nd.
Local races usually give out low numbers...Unless there's 7200 runners. I must admit, it stoked me when I saw someone line up next to me and their number was '6139'.
The last half mile I decided to walk and it took me 15 minutes. Just joking. I had to change it up. It was getting too predictable.
There is a little bridge leading to the Nikon Jones Beach Theatre. It is really the only formidable hill there (well formidable might be saying too much). I decided to hold back the rains a bit, look down (a tactic I used while in the Bronx during last year's New York City Marathon. Hey, if you don't see it, it ain't there, right?). I did look to my side, and counted lamposts backwards starting from 3. The third lampost, you see, is the apex of the bridge. From that point on, it's all downhill. 3 - - - 2 - - - -1 and blast off.
I honestly didn't think that anyone from my company had passed me, and at this point, I wasn't going to let that happen either. I had a shot at internal victory, and I just reached out, remembered of my inspiration, and grabbed the glory. I surged, out of control, and let it all hang out (just the legs, nothing else). Grunting, like a McEnroe from old, I soared past the awaiting crowds, the announcer, through the chutes and crossed the finish line, and did that half-mile in 3:54.30. However the most impressive thing of all is that my Garmin had me marked as doing .56 and not .50. A big difference, if you ask me.
Yes, I was drained when I finished. Yes I even felt like my bladder was going to go (but didn't, whew! ), and Yes, I fucking lost my hat AGAIN. Urrrrgghh!!!!! (When will I ever learn? I was disoriented. What the hell do I do with these hats when I finish a race, anyway?) However, in the grand scheme of it all:
(1) I came in FIRST PLACE in my company which sported nearly 100 runners.
(2)The final time of 25:11 was a PR for me for this distance.
(3) The 7:11 PACE was my second-fastest "2nd running life" result.
In fact, if I wanted to be nit-picky, which I am since I'm about to tell, then with the real distance of 3.56, I actually paced out at 7:04. But in the end it doesn't matter because even the 7:11 is the second best (after the JFK 5k of 6:40 pace), in my second-coming of a runner.
Also, and as I mentioned all the way back in the beginning of this diatribe are my bursts as reported by Garmin:
Mile 1.00 Best "burst": 5:49 per mile pace.
Mile 2.00 Best "burst": 6:19 per mile pace.
Mile 3.00 Best "burst": 6:31 per mile pace.
Mile 3.56 Best "burst": 5:47 per mile pace.
Now what exactly is a "burst"?
I have no fucking clue.
I looked through the manual just now, and Garmin doesn't even have a clue.
I figure it's some short measurement of time/distance within that lap. But what the time/distance is again.... I STILL HAVE NO FUCKING CLUE.
Perhaps, the guy who programmed the watch's source code, left the company to work for Polar and never gave away his trade secrets. Sort of like KFC's original recipe without the arterial-blocking additives? What the hell am I talking about? The brain is jelly now, sorry.
What will be great, is to see how I finished overall. Last year, M&K took nearly 2 weeks to post the results. I'll be eagerly awaiting this to send to Scott to update our team.
It's nice to know that I'm still not too old where I can't continue to improve. Although inevitably, biology will dictate otherwise, I hope I never hit that age-performance plateau and decline.
Okay. It's official. I have lost the 3 marbles I had left for brains. Time to clean up, shower up, and go to bed.