Monday, January 25, 2010

RACE REPORT: NYRR Manhattan Half-Marathon (Grand Prix #1)

This was perhaps the first time that I ever ran a half-marathon as a training run. 

I never was looking for a PR, just a nice effort ( in the 8:30 range ) as a final preparation before next Sunday's Miami Marathon. 

I think I accomplished my objective, except that I got a little bit competitive in the end, and was blowing people away with 2 miles to go, when I thought I had a chance at cracking 1:50.  I wound up at 1:50:17.

It was great that I didn't have any cramping until I went for my bag at the baggage area, and that was only because of having to step awkwardly and applying undulated pressure.

The Manhattan Half has got to be one of the prettiest and yet most boring Half around.  Pretty because the entire course is in Central Park, thus running through a park with all its nature is beautiful.  And boring, because it's 2 laps and nothing else.   My friend Bonnie and I were having a conversation at the pre-Jets massacre party at my place yesterday over this.  The Queens Half, while challenging, only touches 1 corner of the county.  Staten Island is 1 road, and factories,  The Bronx should be wiped off the face of the map, and Brooklyn is the only one that is really good.  As for Manhattan?  It should go through Manhattan, and not just the park.

That said, I liked having raced in a park that I run through all the time now.  It's pretty amazing how far I've matured running through Central Park.  Once it was ominously large, now it's just a pussycat for me.  I'm used to all the turns, dips and rises along the course.  It makes for easy strategizing.

The first mile was incredible slow at over 9 minutes.  This was mostly due to the congestion of runners.  By Mile 3 I was already averaging about 8:45 per mile.  Believe it or not,  I didn't even wake up until this one woman cut me off.  As I've talked about in the past, women are typically better pace-setters then men, as they are fairly consistent in their pace.  I decided to follow her, and did so until around the 6 mile water stop.  I lost sight of her, and forged ahead.

I still really wasn't trying to do anything crazy.  Want to stay fresh for next week's race in Florida.
Finally, I took note at the start of Mile 11, that I had a chance to break 1:50.  I started digging hard, and by the time I got to within a quarter-mile of the finish, I was actually yelling "dig" to myself.

The music I used was primarily from the soundtrack listing off the Grand Theft Auto IV soundtrack.  Hey.  Whatever works.

Final stats were as follows:
2154 out of 5456  Overall  //  1663 out of 3304 Men  //  262 out of 492  40-44 yr olds. 
Again, this was just a training run for me.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The 1986 NYC Marathon Medal is on its way!

This has been a tough winter runningwise. Either my head's not into it, or maybe I'm just so used to doing miles, that it no longer affects me. Whatever the case is, by the time I get home, I am tired. And trying to go to the gym in the morning is next to impossible, especially now that there's a warm body next to me.

I've been through these doldrums before, and each time I snap out of it. Here's hoping to a better second half of the month.

On brighter news, I found someone who is selling their 1986 New York City Marathon Medal. To me, this is huge. Six years ago, during what was perhaps the worst year of my life (even worst than that of 1986), I had my medals stolen from me. They were 3 in total from the 1984, 85 and 1986 NYC Marathons. I had these medals in the home of Dorothy M., mother of Treacy M. and mother-in-law of Gerard M.. I had stayed in Dorothy's basement from April 1 (and yes, what I fool I was to do so) until the end of August. Though I was living rent free, I was asked to be Dorothy's "handyman". While I knew this arrangement was temporary, I had no idea that she would ask me to leave (even when they knew I had no where to go).

Now, I normally would not accuse somebody without proof, but the nastiness that she and my then "so-called" friends, Gerry and Treacy, had shown me, makes me think otherwise. Of course, the real proof is that Gerry and Treacy still have a volume of my Twilight Zone DVDs which they willfully refused to return to me. They are theives and as theives go, I had these priceless Marathon medals in Dorothy's house. Yet, when I moved my medals were nowhere to be found. Snatched from my area in the basement where I lived. Snatched from the nearby black moldy walls next to the twin mattress I barely could sleep on, and in front of the slop sink. They were priceless to me. And now they no doubt, are in some display case either in Dorothy's home, or worse, in Gerry & Treacy's home. Maybe, they each have 1 of my medals, as a reward for kicking their friend out into the streets, the way that they did. I hope I am wrong about this. Hope that I am a complete idiot fool. But if I am not, then may they burn in hell.

The medal that is being sold to me comes by way of a really nice elderly man whose friend is selling his medals in need of money. I told him of my situation and took pity on me, adding that he too had his own misfortune in that he can no longer run due to a double knee and hip replacement. Trust me, when I get that medal, I am celebrating.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Slightly Cold Outside.

...And I thought Vermont was cold.

After running 4 miles on the treadmill downstairs yesterday, I decided to break free of the boring machines and just go at it alone outside.  I heard it was supposed to be really cold outside, so I wore three layers including two winterized running sweat tops, and a GoreTex windbreaker, two hats, and two pairs of gloves, with the top pair being a pair of mittens.  Add to that a neck/face warmer too.

And I still froze my fucking ass off.

It was so cold today (19F wind chill 5F) that I couldn't even feel my stomach.  At one point I had to re-tie my shoelaces.  I had to take off my gloves to do this, and within 30 seconds my hands were very cold.  Also, it was too cold to fumble for my snot rag, as I often have a quick buildup when it's cold outside.  So, I did the unthinkable and did air hankies, and spit a lot as I continued to run.

The run itself proved challenging in other ways too.  Not only was it cold, but it was very windy.  At some points I felt like I had to stop (especially on the uphills).  The wind was that strong.

Also of note, was the caliber of runner out there.  Just hardcore runners.  Most of them blazing by me.
I saw one woman, asian, long dark hair, wearing a tank top and knee-hi tights!  Her skin was a crimson red (no doubt), and it looked like she was headed out of the park at Central Park South.

The distance from our building to the park according to Karen is about six-tenths of a mile.  It might be a little more.  All told, I ran 7.57 miles today.  The Garmin watch behaved (barely) though I had to stand in the middle of 2nd Avenue and 102nd street just to get an effin' signal from the satellites.