PLACE: Flushing Meadows Park, Flushing, Forest Hills, Queens NY
DATE: Saturday, April 3, 2010
DISTANCE: 13.1 Miles (Half-Marathon)
WEATHER: Bright Sunshine, 52 degrees, 80% Humidity, Winds 12 MPH.
This had been the first time, I’ve done a race in Queens, since last September’s Queens Half Marathon.
Having said that, the conditions in Flushing Meadow can be challenging. Meadow Lake has always been in my mind, Meadow Swamp. There is always flooding, especially after a rain. The way New York has been rained upon in the last month, I was expecting to swim part of the way. Even still, the race directors at the starting line warned us about it in advance.
They also had live music along the way which was nice, except around Mile 11 or so, there was a band singing something really slow. C’mon now! This is a race, not a Perry Como lovefest! Okay, it wasn’t Perry Como. But it was something slow and ballad-like, and in a race, there’s just no place for that type of music. It’s got to have some zip, you know? Something to get you going.
The finish line was well done in my opinion. Some people, including my fiancée had corroborated each other when they mentioned that it seemed somewhat confusing of a finish, that the double loop, threw them for one. I didn’t see how anyone could have been confused though. I saw the chutes, and that’s how I knew I was in the home stretch.
But the chutes were just about all I saw…..and that’s where the sad part of this story now ensues…
The weather was great for running, though a bit bright. Thus the sunglasses and visor/brim came in very handy. I had not been feeling right from a respiratory standpoint for a while now. My doctor, who has been telling me that it will go away, and has thus prescribed me nothing, for a cold I had since February 20th (night of the award dinner), is going to be going away himself. In other words, I will be firing him soon, and getting another doctor. Since the beginning of March, I’ve had a cough now on and off, lately mostly off unless I eat, that has been giving me fits. I’ve been coughing less now in the last couple of weeks, but since my 15K last Sunday, I’ve been feeling winded without having to do much. I’ve tried Benadryl, Claritn D, Mucinex DM, and Saturday night (after the race) I did a Zyrtec. All they do is make me feel sleepy, and make my hands and feet itch, but never cure my issue.
Now I am not making excuses for my performance on Saturday, but I will tell you that I was just not into it at all. Instead of being in “killer” mode, I was in “dread” mode, mentally. Scurrying around in the morning, like a chicken without my head on, and having to worry about being late, really drained me too. My next race, Run As One , is next Sunday at 9am near the band shell on 69th street. Race number pickup ends at 8:30am. I am leaving by 7:45am sharp, no exceptions, this time around, and I will make sure that Karen has everything ready even before we go out for her birthday celebration the night before.
When the race began, I decided that I was going to not start off too fast like I did at the NYC Half. I had moved up in the crowd of starters, and was able to do my first 2 miles, in 7:56.83 & 7:58.80. However, something was not right with my breathing. I could feel it. Mile 3, I did it in 8:01.34.
(that woman I was running behind...I remembered what she wore, and found her time through the photos (i know, creepy, but i was curious to see how she fared in the end). She finished in 1:41:23. My all-time best was 1:42:32. Her pace? 7:45, which is pretty much what she did in the two miles that I kept up with her. Living proof that women pace themselves better than us men do.
By Mile 7, I was fighting to stay alive, we were heading towards the ramp to take us over to Meadow Lake. People were passing me now. This was disheartening. I finished it up in 8:47.53. And then it got worse. Mile 8 which was at the southernmost part (furthest away) of the lake was completed in 8:55.88. Dreams of posting anything PR-like were so long gone, that I was wondering whether or not I would even be able to finish. Coming back north on the west side of the lake, were those “puddles” the race official had warned us about.
A lot of why a runner does well or poorly has to do with the mind, I believe. Admittedly, I’ve had a lot to personally think about of late. It had a definite effect on my performance today.
I could just keep on whining here, so I’ll spare you the unnecessary drama. Miles 11, 12 and 13, were 9:01.83, 9:14.04, and an 8:08.22. The last .31 of a mile (since I wound up doing 13.31 miles) was done at 2:12.94 or a 7:09 pace. So for the last 1.31 miles, my pace was 7:55, which was respectable in an otherwise lousy race effort.
Going back to the positive side of this race, the race itself (not me), was the live band playing disco music with a horn section at the finish line bandshell, plus all the foodies they gave to us, to include blueberry muffin tops, bagels WITH spreads, and donuts, was a well-deserved treat. Last but not least at all was that we all finished with a medal over our heads. Though I told Karen (she ran too and did a 2:20 – not bad!) at the finish that I felt like handing back the medal, I will now look at that medal with the reminder that I’m no Superman. Just someone trying to do my best, whatever that best may be for that moment.
Final stats: Finishers: 464 / 2103 = 22.06% ||| Gender: 320 / 923 = 34.67% ||| Age: 43 / 126 = 34.13%.
And now for one last whine:
If I had actually equaled my best ½ time (1:43:32), I would have wound up with these numbers instead:
Finishers: 166 / 2103 = 7.89% ||| Gender: 130 / 923 = 14.08% ||| Age: 17 / 126 = 13.49%.
What can I say? I can’t win ‘em all. Sure, it would have been nice to do better, but even with what seemed like thousands of people passing me, in the end, I came in 464th place in the entire race. Sure, if I had kept up my pace, I would have finished in the top 200. Hey, the way I look at it, we sometimes need bad races in order to renew the chase, and the motivation to kick-butt the next time. Which I will….grrrrr!
Race Photos: (race photos to be appended once available)
But here's one from my friend, Jose Barrios who was at the park with his son and rooting us on righ by the finish line (see below)!