Saturday, April 21, 2012

RACE REPORT: Alley Pond 5 Mile Challenge

As usual, the weather for the Alley Pond 5 Mile Race was dreary as all hell.  It was cold, damp and the threat of a downpour was everywhere present. 

Matt and Steffie came with us and hung out in the clubhouse.  This was the 2nd race where they've done this. God bless them. 

I lined up near the starting line.  Karen lined up next to me because she wanted to see how long she could keep up with me.  Later on she would comment, "I did all I could to keep up with you, but within moments you were gone."

The nice thing about the start was that despite having a 7:09 for my first mile (PR pace previous to this was 7:23, and also at Alley Pond back in 2008), I had to be somewhere between 10th and 20th place overall.

The first two miles of the event were pretty uneventful.  I was listening to my tunes as I coursed through the wooded areas, hugging the turns wherever needed, etc.   It wasn't until Mile 3 where "competition" began to rear itself.   Someone with salt n' pepper hair passed me by just outside of the park.  He pulled ahead, but I didn't let him get too far in front of me, just in case he represented the 3rd place finisher in my group.  At about Mile 4, I overtook him in grand fashion never to hear from him again.  However,  a tall lanky fellow passed me with about a half mile to go.  He too looked like he was in my age group.  So, as we were headed down the hill, and entering the final half mile, I pass him.  Then, with about a quarter mile to go, he passes me again.  This pissed me off.   I blew past him as hard as I could.  It was an all-out sprint.  I crossed the finish line nearly peeing myself from exhaustion.  Hey, what the hell.  If I can't tell the whole story, then why tell it at all, right?  When a person is in the throes of full exhaustion, bodily controls over waste solids and liquids tend to go by the wayside.  I'll never forget poor Grete Waitz and her "incident" during one of the NYC Marathons.
Trophy to the winner, Medals to 2nd & 3rd.

I knew I had done well, because really hardly anyone else passed me.  And when the results were handed in I couldn't believe it.  15th place...OVERALL!

However....I came in 4th in my age group.  BUMMER.  And I was the highest overall ranked runner with a 4th place in age group  SUPER BUMMER.   What will it take for me to get a medal or a trophy over here?  I guess I will just have to WIN the whole thing next year.  We'll see.  In the meantime, my splits were something else.  Mile 1 - 7:09.  Mile 2 - 7:21.  Mile 3?  6:53!  Mile 4: 7:44 and Mile 5....get the drumroll going please............... 6:43!

As it turns out, we didn't exactly go empty handed.  Karen went ahead and came in 2nd place in her age group, right behind Pauline Tang from our group too, no less.  I also won a certificate for $25 at a deli in New Hyde Park.  

Winners Circle:


My final time of 35:50 easily beat my previous best of 36:53.  This marked my 2nd distance PR this year, and all with an injury.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Persistence, Retribution and Victory

For those of think that they ways of being evil towards the innocent does not come with ultimate defeat, please think again.

A long, long time ago.  On Sunday, August 29th, 2004,  I was asked to leave Dorothy M.'s basement apartment.  It wasn't enough that she never even let me have my kids over and that I had to spend full days in the back of my Honda Odyssey playing with my then 5 and 2 year old children.  
YOU WERE ALL EVIL. AND PROBABLY STILL ARE.

It didn't matter that I had no money to go anywhere. 
It meant nothing to her that I had to support my children. 
It meant nothing to my supposed friends, Gerry  &  Treacy ( daughter of Dorothy the wicked bitch with the orange hair) that I had to commute 40 miles to work each way and now do it while homeless. 

They wanted me out.

So much for helping a "friend" in need....
So much for even trying to patch things up after I got kicked to the curb by sending an email to them .

I never got a response to the email I sent to Gerry & Treacy.  And what should I have expected. 
Not only did they never return my DVDs that they borrowed and REFUSED to give back.

But they stole one of the most priceless items, I had ever gotten up to that point in my life.

My Finisher Medals from the 1984, 1985 and 1986 New York City Marathons. 

THEY STOLE THEM.  AND NEVER GAVE THEM BACK TO ME.

After all the hundreds of hours I put into Dorothy's part of the house.  Repainting, Paint Stripping, Leaders, Gutters, Outside Work...

THEY KICKED ME OUT TO THE CURB AND STOLE MY MEDALS.

They messed with the wrong person.  They thought they would break my spirit.
They thought I would just live down to their view of me, a loser.
This is the handwritten words of Dorothy the bitch.

Since the day I was asked to "remove as much of your property as you can by Sep 15"
I have run in NINE MORE MARATHONS, THIRTY FIVE MORE HALF-MARATHONS, A TRIATHLON, TWO BIKE CENTURIES, AND NEARLY 200 RACES.  I HAVE PUT IN NEARLY TEN THOUSAND MILES IN TRAINING.

And that's just for starters....

I said it from that very day, that I REFUSED TO LET THEM DEFEAT ME, AND THAT I WOULD GET BACK THE MEDALS I DESERVED.  IT'S NOT THE MEDALS THEMSELVES AS MUCH AS WHAT THEY REPRESENTED. 

FOR NEARLY 8 YEARS, I HAVE BIDED MY TIME.  EAGERLY YET PATIENTLY.  DILLIGENTLY, RELENTLESSLY WAITING TO BE ABLE TO RECAPTURE THE PHYSICAL GLORY OF THOSE MEDALS.  TO BE ABLE TO REPOSESS THEM SO THAT GERRY, TREACY AND BROOM-HILDA CAN KEEP WHAT IS NO LONGER A USEFUL COMMODITY. 

TO DO THIS, I KEPT SEARCHING.  CRAIGSLIST, AMAZON, EBAY, YARD SALES, HOBBY STORES, RUNNING CLUBS, DEATH NOTICES, ESTATE SALES, YOU NAME IT.

After about 5 years when all hope seemed lost, there it was, on Ebay, a bid for the 1986 NYC Marathon Medal.  Too good to be true, but yet it was.  I won the bid on Jan 5, 2010.  1 down 2 to go.

Then almost a year later, and after suffering a near-career ending back injury, lightning struck twice.  An even more important medal, the 1985 NYC Marathon Medal.  The best performance of my 3 marathons from the mid-80s.  And on February 9, 2011, I had succeeded yet again.  Meatloaf once sang, "Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad".  I guess he never had to be humiliated by people he thought were friends like I was.

EVERY DAY since January 1, 2005.  EVERY SINGLE GOD DAMNED DAY, I search the internet for these coveted medals....

TWO-THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED AND FIFTY-FIVE DAYS.

It took that long for the 3rd and final medal to be put up for sale.
God Bless You, Mr. Edmund Varuolo.
I saw it listed on April 9, 2012.  Karen's 42nd and my Dad's 71st birthday.

The bid for the VERY FIRST, AND MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL MY MARATHONS, THE 1984 NYC MARATHON, FOR WHICH I RAN AT THE AGE OF NINETEEN, AND IN EIGHTY DEGREE WEATHER & HUMIDITY, WAS FINALLY UP FOR SALE.  The original bid was .99 cents.  It went up to $1.04 midweek.

I was willing to pay ANYTHING.
I wagered $334 DOLLARS.

I got it for $29 bucks and that INCLUDED the shipping.

And on Tuesday, April 17, 2012, and as I am working from home...
USPS dropped off the final nail in the coffin of those people that thought they had me defeated.
I got my 3rd and final medal. 
And the medals they have? 
They mean nothing to me anymore.  Nothing more than the metal in which they were etched from. WORTHLESS, NOTHING. 
You have NOTHING ON ME ANYMORE. 
You are DEFEATED.
Persistence is the sword of the just and the enemy of the thief.


I surely hope you (and I don't mean my fans but rather those who will be given their last rites here, as I will never utter their useless names ever again) are reading this. 
YOU LOSE.
I WIN.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

RACE REPORT #172 - SCOTLAND RUN 10K


RACE # 172. Scotland Run
DISTANCE: 10 kilomters
DATE/TIME: April 7, 2012 @ 8:00am
LOCATION: Central Park, New York
WEATHER: 42 degrees, 38% Humidity, Sunny, 3 MPH
WEIGHT: 161 pounds
SLEEP: Fri Night-6 hours, Thu Night-8 hours
CONDITION: Left Shin Splints/Calf Muscle.

Unlike last week's race in Plainview,the preparation for this race was not something to write home about. I've beendealing with a problem in my left leg that has been on and off for some time.It began while sprinting on the treadmill back towards the end of February, anddoes not seem to want to go away.

It's in the area of my notorious left tibia, the area where I had a fullthrough fracture back in 2005, that sidelined me for over 2 months. Concernedabout this, I put the brakes on after running 10 miles on Tuesday, and feelingtightness over that area. On Wednesday, it hurt just to stand, and it was scaryenough that I made an appointment to see Dr. Errico of Shelter RockOrthopedics.

Dr. Errico took x-rays of the area. Much to my relief, they came backnegative, but he mentioned that x-rays don't generally give a 100% positivereading. Microfractures (assuming, if that's what I have), do not necessarilyshow up on X-rays, and so, he suggested that I not do this race. Obviously, andby this race report, I did. His only advice was that if it was muscular(tendonitis, etc) that Advil, and ice wraps should help, but that I may belooking at something more serious, if the issue persisted 7-9 days out. He alsomentioned that if I ran, and if it hurt more that I should shut it down. Fineby me. I don't race again for 2 weeks anyway.

Anyway, that was the good news. The bad news was that NYRR decided to makethis race at 8am. Last year it was a 9am. In addition, to making this aSaturday race, the earlier start time meant we had to leave the babies with thenanny even earlier.

That wasn't the only issue I had this morning, however. Not by a long shot.Some time ago, and when this race was made available to me, I signed up what Ithought was this race, plus several other races in one fell swoop. For somereason however, NYRR never noted that I was signed up for this race. They alsonever charged me for 1 of the races either, which, I can only assume was thisrun. Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't say that there's always a slightpossibility that a person can make a mistake when signing up for multipleevents either. If this weren't a team points race, I probably would have justlet it go, and cheer Karen on. After all, I wasn't 100%, healthy, and the lastthing I needed was to risk further injury, despite my stubborness to run allthe time.

I went to Bonnie (our fellow race director, and good friend) to see if shehad any pull with Janet Cupo of the Road Runners, who is in charge of race admissions.It was very kind of her to respond back to Bonnie via email with the good news,which Bonnie later forwarded on to me.

Karen had dropped me off, as we were already doing a mad scramble just toget to the Westside, where the race had started. We didn't have enough time topark the car together, and since I still had to pay and register, the addedtime that I needed required that I get out first. And besides that, it wasalready 7:10 and registration, according to the NYRR website, closed at 7:15.

I made a mad dash with both my bag and Karen's to the registration booth.Our bags alone weighed 40 pounds easily. Shame on me for not realizing thatthis would happen by running late.

At the registration booth, I asked to speak to Janet. Typically, when a raceis locked out, special dispensation can be made on race day, if a) there areno-shows, and race spots become or are now available, b) you are a member of ateam and c) you have a printed copy of your confirmation stating the exceptionto entered a previously closed-out race was granted, on-hand. ALL THREEconditions MUST apply, JUST to even be given the COURTESY of a potentialresponse (which even then could be "no"). As this was a high-caprace, I didn't think it would be an issue, but since the race was already"SOLD OUT", my guess was that they had a lot of entrants already.Seems like a trend these days too. More and more runners!

Bonnie, with her amazing wizardry, responded back to me within minutes ofher email, showing Janet's response, so as I approached Janet on race daymorning with my printed email dated March 28th. I expected not to have anyissues. Right?

Wrong.

Janet tells me that in order to have been accepted into the race, that Iwould have needed to show up either during Friday or Saturday's number pickupto register. Then she told me that she couldn't help me and almost beganwalking away.

I got very upset by this, because in Janet's email to Bonnie, it read, and Iwill quote from the email that she wrote, that I still have....

From: Janet Cupo <xxxxx@nyrr.org>

To: Bonnie xxxxxxx<xxxxxxx@aol.com>

Sent: Wed, Mar 28, 2012 2:00 pm

Subject: RE: ScotlandRun

No need to switch

I have spaces

Alex

Can come to registration next week, sign up and pay for the race

Take care

So where, exactly, did she state this thing about no race day registrationsallowed in her email, let alone having to come in on a Thursday or Friday? Ofcourse, it is the perogative of the New York Road Runners club and their staffto refuse my entry. And, as I mentioned beforehand, I was, and am very gratefulfor their last minute acceptance of me (though after this article, I HIGHLYDOUBT they will ever accept me again this way). Still, I feel very stronglythat people should stand behind their words, especially printed ones. I wasnever advised that I HAD to come into the city on Friday or Saturday, toperform this transaction, and frankly, I can't even relate as to why she feltjustified in telling me this right in front of a box of unassigned bibs waitingto be handed out (as someone that I know got one moments later, without gettingthe 3rd degree that I had to get). Is it part of a psychological strategy toprovide "negative reinforcement" to people that they do favors for?

Anyway, Janet "broke" down and finally told me that she would giveme a number, but that in the future they do not accept walk-ins on race day.Really? Then I ask again....what was that huge box of unassigned numbers doingthere at the registration booth for???

I was so upset that I walked away before even getting a reconfirmation thatI would pay by check. This only further added drama to a scene that was alreadycompletely unecessary, and especially before an important race as well. Becausewhen I rushed from that table to the t-shirt table it was already 7:41am andwas having nightmares that the corrals would close before I could get in.

However that nightmare quickly evaporated. While I was waiting in line, one ofJanet's co-workers drew my attention and asking me if I had paid her. I wasthoroughly confused by the question, because I wasn't supposed to pay her. Shethen told me that she never gave me any change. Um well, yes, how can you givechange to a person that was going to pay later on in the week by check, right?

The resulting exchange required me to go back to the registration to sortthis mess out. And, for a moment, I thought Janet was going to yank the numberright out of my hand. This, after she denoted how I paid for a zillion NYRRraces but not one for Scotland.As if to say, I need money now. Fortunately, she confirmed what I had known allalong...and that was to pay by check. To be nice, I offered her a credit card,but she had no terminal swipe there, and probably had no time to do it, even ifshe did. And frankly, I had no time either.

I have been a long standing New York Road Runner's Member for the last 8years and for 13 years overall. In the last 8 years alone I have paid for 124,count 'em, ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY FOUR New York Road Runner Races, of which 10of them were NYC Marathons, and 3 NYC Half Marathons. I have given this clubthousands of dollars, because I do it to participate in the sport for which Ilove. I don't feel I'm owed any special or added rights as a result of this,nor do I ask of them to have special rights either. But, I don't feel it wasright to treat me as rude as they did this morning. My wife, who has run andhas PAID for as many NYRR races as I have, completely agrees with me as well. Ithink I deserve a little more respect, than the treatment that I was given thismorning. It's the kind of respect, that I give to runners who sign up for ourannual race in Forest Parkevery May. I treat them with respect, because their dues help our club tosurvive, and because no one deserves to be treated like that. I get enough shitlike this from a Health Insurace Customer Service agent, or a police officer.Enough already!

I am sorry to be belaboring or overstating this point. Especially, because Itypically praise the New York Road Runners Club, for all that they do, and theawesome show they put on the first Sunday of every November. But, I feel thatthe interaction that the club has had with its members has been deterioratingover time. And I am not alone. Just tonight I decided to do some onlineresearch to get a pulse of the people who are members, and found posts, onRunnersWorld.com no less, of a varied amount of opinions about this theme. Somepeople talked even talked about Janet (so I am not alone), mentioning her senseof fair play, and how helpful she has been, while others have said that she hasbeen rude. I think that just about nails it for me too. There have been timeswhere she has been extremely helpful and accomodating, but on days like today,I am left to scratch my head. I was grateful that she let me in the race, butnot in the way that I had to get in.

However, this issue is not with Janet, or her tireless co-workers. In myopinion, I do believe they work themselves to the bone, and needassistance. The issue really stems from the fact that theregistration validation process is broken. Better yet...nearly non-existent.Let me explain...The New York Road Runners has a new website, yes, but in myopinion, they have failed miserably in 1 category for which I have imploredthem to rectify since I rejoined them back in 2004......

 ...WHAT ON GOD'S EARTH WILL IT TAKE FOR THE NYRR CLUB TO FIGURE OUT HOW TOLET MEMBERS KNOW ONLINE WHAT RACES THEY'VE SIGNED UPFOR?????

If I had the ability to see online what races I was registered for, then Iwouldn't have to call their overly congested hotline to find out race statuses(congested probably, from people asking the same damn questions as me). And, ifI had known that I was not, in fact, registered, then I could have squared thisaway before the race would've sold out. In other words, having an online listof races that one registered for at any given moment, would have avoided theputting either myself or Janet in this position!!

Also, some of my co-runners have mentioned that they get an e-mail from NYRRwhen they sign up for a race. How come I don't get these emails? Why theinconsistency? No e-mails of any kind, and I've checked spam mail, blockedmail, etal. to make sure before I posted this.

Another beef I guess that I have with registration at Road Runners, has todo with people who do not live in the 5 boroughs. Listen, when I lived on E.102nd street, itwas a short walk to their HQ. A few minutes, and boom, there I was at the houseLebow built, making one of my many bib pickups. But not everyone can afford tolive in Manhattan, and so, when our twin babieswere born last year, Karen and I made the right choice to move out to Long Island.

However, NYRR makes it a challenge for anyone who lives out of the city. Howcan anyone who works until 6pm, deal with the traffic to it takes to drive intothe city during the week, find parking, and make it in time to sign up, pay, oreven pick up a number for a race by 7pm? Or better still, to get to the 7amstart of the New York City Half, I had to drive in because the earliest trainfrom my station was at 5:40am. Barring $300 dollars and up for a hotel room,this was not nearly enough time to get to baggage, and to the corral before thestart of the race.

One last quip about the NYRR, since I seem to be on a roll, though I don'tenjoy writing negatively, but must, must, must get this off my chest.... I am,STILL, really sore about this, but the fact that the automatic NYC Marathonacceptance for anyone who has run the classic race 15-times or more is beingabolished, is insanely unfair. If you're going to abolish it, then take it awayfrom EVERYONE, not just those who can't or won't complete 15 marathons by 2015to be able to be 'grandfathered' in. To make this even more a contemptouspoint, I will have completed FOURTEEN NYC Marathons by that year, falling 1shy. Thank you again, New York Road Runners. NOT.

Finally, and somewhere in all this menusha of negativity, there is a racereport. I promise. I will get to it soon, but I can't just yet, because as Iwas having loads of fun with registration officials, Karen was having some"fun" of her own.

Unable to find parking on a Satuday (what else is new), Karen decided totake our car to a lot. The lot she chose was your typical underground lot.However, they asked her for $40 which in New York, but to the rest of the "free" worldwas highway robbery. So she pulled out.

As she came up the ramp, there was a small blue Audi horribly double-parkedon the street, 73rd Streetbetween Columbus and Broadway, to be exact. Karen tried to turn left and thenswung over to the right of her to get by, but this car was so poorlydouble-parked (illegal) that there was no way to go around her.

Karen then noticed that the driver of the car was in the car, so afterseveral back-n-forth attempts, and since the driver hadn't done ANYTHING tohelp Karen get by, Karen honked her horn.

The owner of the vehicle wasn't asleep, but didn't budge. Karen, getting alittle anxious about the start of the race no less, and because it seemed thatthis driver was in another world, honked again.

Still no response.

At this point, Karen started losing her cool, and began honking a lot. Atthis point, the driver of the car finally got out, and gave Karen a nastystare. The driver, an obese Jamaican-American woman (Karen believes this basedon the accent and dialect) yelled at Karen. "Are you going to stophonking?"

Aghast, Karen pleaded if the driver could just kindly move her car a fewfeet over so that she could pass to which this fat pig incredibly said,"No!"

Karen was feeling a rage coming on. She know knew why it was so importantfor me to move us the fuck out of New York City. Not all, but many Manhattanites feel theyhave the right to do whatever the fuck they want. And the New York CityPolicemen only give out tickets for illegally parking and cellphone use. Andthat's when they aren't eating donuts.

Karen got upset as this big gorilla of a supposed-person, just stared herdown. Finally Karen said, "So what am I supposed to do? Hit your car? Ineed you to move, please."

"Well if you honk at me, I'm not going to move!"

The standoff between my wife, and the leading subject in the AmericanTourister commercials from the seventies, lasted a few more mintues before shefinally moved her vehicle. Karen got so upset by her attitude, that she wantedto key her car. Key her car? She should have elbowed her in the teeth, perhapsthen she would have had an easier time digesting her plantains.

Karen ran as fast as she could to meet me by the bathrooms, but in all theangst, left her phone in the car. By some miracle, I found Karen by the stagewhere the bagpipers were playing, and I gave her her number.

With no Red Bull in sight, I decided to have a coffee at the coffee housethat's in the park near the baggage area. For once, I was like Karen, gulpingdown coffee at the speed of sound. Well, at least I didn't have to go to thebathroom afterwards... ;-)

The weather was much colder than I had expected it to be, and much more sothan last week during the Aspire race. I wound up keeping my long sleevedKelly-green Aspire tek-T under my Forest Park singlet.

As I was finishing my last minute preparations, I saw Max Rodriguez at thepark. Wow, I thought to myself. First Vince was coming down from New Hampshire, now Max.I had been successful in being the top dog of our team for the first 7 racesthat I ran in this year, but these are excellent runners. I knew I would be infor some serious competition. Of course, there's KJ (Khemdat Jainarain). And ifVince and Max are fuel-air bombs, KJ is a WMD. KJ doesn't just win. He wins byminutes...per mile! I have the utmost respect for him, but, haha, I hope hewasn't racing today.

I made it into the corral very late. Looking back, I could see a sea ofrunner bending around Central Park South towards the east. Wow. Each race seemsto be getting bigger and bigger. A testament to a country that is looking totrim down their image as being sloths. I would like to think, that I somehowhave a hand in this, since I'm obviously boisterous about the benefits ofrunning, and how well I do, despite the fact that I'm no spring chicken.

Everything was all sync'd up, and when the gun went off, I decided that Iwas going to go all out, injuries be damned! The course was a full loop of Central Park, going clockwise this time, and finishing upwhere the NYC Marathon finishes, just north of Tavern on the Green.

Despite all the anxiety I had suffered earlier at the registration booth, Ilove running, I love running with big crowds, and I love running New York City. New YorkRoad Runners does a great job overall in somehow handling all of this chaos.Perhaps Janet was having a human moment, and if so, it's okay. I've had, andwill have many of them myself. Umm, Janet can we push that 15 marathon rule outto the end of 2016? Please?

As my running number was 1938, I was in the "red" or 2nd corral. Ifound myself having to run around people to pass them, but that was okay. Thecoffee was taking hold of my adrenal system, it seemed and I was beginning tofeel indestructable. Perfect timing. Interestingly, the first mile was moreuphill than down, and I somehow managed to complete the first mile in 7:29.

In the 2nd mile, some woman runner nearly made a male runner capsize, whenshe ran totally across him, cutting him off. She was taking the "runningthe angles" method a bit too seriously. I might add, that neither of themwere wearing music players either. Perhaps that should put to rest the myththat people with music players are less in tune with runners around them thanthose who don't wear them.

The second mile was up and down as well, but a little bit more down than up,and hence, a time of 7:12 was my 2nd mile.

Of course, now we come to Mile 3 which involves a clockwise attack of HarlemHill and Meer. I knew this was a killer hill, but also was ready. All that hilltraining on Beacon Hill near my home, and the recent races in Long Island wouldprove powerful allies in my quest to not lose too much time on these hills in Central Park. And by now, these hills seemed pitiful nextto some of the ascents I've recently climbed.

And indeed, I was right about how I felt, for I did the third mile in a timeof 7:21. At this point I was on track to destroying my previous 10k record,which was just last week! However, I knew I had more hills, and I also knewthat I was going for broke too. Leave nothing left for the end.

Despite a powerful agent, running past the area where I used to live didn'tseem to bring too much luck with it. By the time I finished passing thestraightaway along the upper east side, I had completed my 4th mile in 7:56. Icould feel some sluggishness, but I knew that I couldn't let the competitioncatch up to me. I realized I had to dig even deeper and gut this out like Ihave for most of my previous one hundred and seventy one races.

So, I attacked. And attacked again. Every time I started feeling a bout offatigue coming on, I fought hard to quell it. Every time, I climbed a hill,like Cat Hill, I slowed down, but then I would make up for it on the downhill.I pumped my arms for the downhills now as well as the ups.

The strategy paid off. I completed Mile 5 in a time of 7:28. That's usuallybetter than any mile I do. Even in a 5k.

The waves of fatigue, brought on by going all out did not stop, however. Istruggled on Mile 6, and gave back my gains of Mile 5, by posting a 7:59.

At around the time that I crossed the Mile 6 point, a runner from Hellgatepassed me by. We had been exchanging places ever since Mile 4. Now anyone thattells you that there is no competition, and that all teams should co-existharmoniously, I would say, "That's Nice." I would also follow up bysaying, "Have you taken your medication yet?" Keep on believing allof this Kum-Bah-Ya stuff. While I keep blowing past people, or at least tryingto. If there was no such need for competition, we would all just jog, and neverparticipate in a race. When you race, you race to win. THERE IS NO OTHERACCEPTABLE SUBSTITUTE. We race to race against ourselves, and others as well.So when Juan Carlos Rodriguez #1681 of the Queens-rival Hellgate Road Runner'steam passed me by with two-tenths of a mile to go, it was time to reach deepdown inside, and present a can of whoopass to him. And I did just that.

Even uphill, I smoked the last two-tenths of a mile. Did it in 1:03. Goodenough for a pace of 5:15.

No PR, and KJ, as it turns out, not only ran, and not only smoked me, butout of 7,500 runners, he came in the top 200. Hot Damn! However, I came in 2ndon our team, withstanding challenges from both Max and the out-of-town Vince.

My final time of 46:38 was the 2nd fastest 10k ever, right behind lastweek's performance. Given that I wasn't 100%, my lack of training this week,and that these hills were more in number than at the Aspire, I am ecstaticabout how I did.

That's about it. I just cooked Passover dinner, and cleaned up for everyone.It's nearly 3am, and I'm also going to need to get up in 2 hours to feed thebabies. Regarding photos, I will have to revisit and update this blogpostagain. Ugh.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Running Fool..RACE REPORT: The 33rd Annual Race for Aspire 10k Championships


RACE REPORT:  The 33rd Annual Race for Aspire 10k Championships

Race: Race for Aspire 10k Championship
Location:  Plainview, NY
Date: Sunday, April 1, 2012  @ 9am
Distance: 10k
Weather: 47F  75% Humidity  5MPH Overcast

Lose weight this week.  Check.
Sleep more this week.  Check.
Don't overeat this week.  Check.
Run Aspire course one last time.  Check.
Go over strategy. Check.
Pack bag the night before. Check.
Keep an eye on that tibia!  Check.
Write my PR time and pace on my arms.  Check.
Gain back 2 pounds.  Crap.


I woke up this morning to the sounds of "Vigil" off the Rocky 2 soundtrack and rather than wanting to wake up, all I wanted to do was to snuggle even closer to Karen, not get up, and skip the race altogether...

Right.

Who me????

Well, we did leave a little bit late.  But I was plenty nervous about this race.  It was eagerness yesterday, but the nerves kicked in, for I was expecting to perform real well today, gaining mastery on my 10k, and charting a new personal adult record. 

That record was etched on my left arm (47:11) and on my right arm (7:37 - pace).
Matt & Steffie came with us on this journey, and were great photographers.

Sleep the night before was not a good one, but I still managed to get about 8+ hours in total.  Add that to the 9 or so from the night before that, a couple of can of Red Bull, and B6 vitamins, and I was ready to go full throttle this morning.  And I did.

Shall we?

This race was not a net time, but rather gun.  It's about the only thing that NYRR does better than the Long Island running companies IMHO, but it's a very important requirement.  Fortunately, I lined up close to the start, and was perhaps 3-4 seconds from crossing the starting line once the gun went off.  Karen pinching me on the butt, just seconds before the start. LOL.

And we're off!!!


Mile 1 was a scorcher.  I destroyed it posting a time of 7:05.  I was already 32 seconds ahead of pace.
Mile 2 was the big surprise though.  Despite the hill up on Haypath, I somehow managed to pull of a time of 7:09.   To me, this might have been one of the best, if not best, miles of the day for me.  True to my training, I did not even look up until well after passing Cindy drive.  I was now a full minute ahead of pace, and so now I could afford doing just a 7:52 pace average for the remaining 4.2 miles.  Though that would seem like a piece of cake, keep in mind the worst hill was yet to come.

Mile 3 was along Round Swamp.  The toll booth collector from the transit company called "You Went Out Too Fucking Fast" came to collect.  I could tell this, by the way people were passing me more than I them.  Racers out in LI are very competitive.  There aren't too many light hearted runners here.  If they are at a race, they are out to kick butt, and not just chew the fat about how nice they're nails looked, or to talk about how well the NY Rangers did either.  Still, I clocked in with a 7:32, adding another 5 seconds of buffer time to my already record-setting pace.

Mile 4 was where I finished up Round Swamp, and hit the long straights of Old Country Road.  Not sure if the straightaways reminded me of the exhaustion that I suffered at Chicago 2 years ago, or the nauseating little Nassau County PD shack along the road, but I was beginning to feel it.  I just barely managed to escape that mile with a 7:36.  And now I was 1 minute and 6 seconds ahead of pace.

Mile 5 to be what going into this race, the toughest, became tamed instead.  I really stepped it up, perhaps from the energy that I had saved in miles 3 & 4.  I knew that once I got passed this mile that it was all mostly downhill from there.  How shocked then, was I when as I was finishing the hill, the mile clock in at 7:26.  Another 11 seconds of buffer, and now I was at an amazing 1 minute and 17 seconds ahead of pace.

At this point, perhaps because of nailing each mile in UNDER the average pace needed, I may have let up a little.  I was feeling tired, and just couldn't push it much longer anyway.  Plus, anin the back of my mind I keep thinking of my tibia, which had acted up again yesterday, and the fact that I have literally 1 race every week between now and like August!

Runners Making Their Way to the Finish Line


I should have finished my last two-tenths in a minute thirty.  That would have given me a total time of 45:54....UNBELIEVABLE!  However, the reason why I couldn't was because I had given it every last lick I could.  As it was when I crossed the finish line, my son Matt filmed me, and I could see I was beyond tired.  Even still, and with a final time of 46:09, I had the PR for a 10k I had so thirstily sought (thirsty? i only had two sips of water the entire way). 





After the race was over and I had shattered my 10k PR by 1 minute 2 seconds, I hugged my kids, and now it was Karen's turn to finish.  Before then though, Pauline (Seto) came across the line.  She was booking! 
Bust it Pauline, Bust it!

I missed Jack, Brian and Tom's finish, but it was great to see them afterwards.  I had seen Tom before the race, and it's great to see him slowly, but hopefully surely come back to form. 


Karen finally hustled her way through the finish line, and won 2nd place in the Athena category.  Her reward?  A coffee mug.  And let me tell you, to Karen, and with her love of coffee, I couldn't think of anything better for her (not me though.  I'm a medal whore. lol)

When she finished she concluded that she got beaten by a woman pushing a stroller.  I laughed but told her that I got beat by the boy with the yellow shirt, who I pointed out to her, at the start.

Apparently this race had award categories for single/double above/below knee amputees.  And I thought I was brave.  Compared to what they accomplish, my stuff is peanuts next to them.  My hat goes off to all of these folks that just say "Do It", regardless of the condition.

We met up with the team after the race.  In all, there were 6 of us from the Forest Park Runners that ran.  Nice job, team!

Is it me?  Or do I look like an evil Angus (Young) here?
As with the week before, the goodies at the finish line in side the school, were out of this world!  There really is something to be said about the smaller races, and I'm glad we've been incorporating a healthy mix of races between here and Gotham.
Not only was the food great, but a nice tek T to go along with it!
We met her at the St. Patty's Huntington run and the Kings Park 15k.  This woman is relentless.  Great job, Heather!


We couldn't stay with the group, who went to the Plainview Diner for some good grub, I imagine.  I had promised the kids to bring them back in time for their events. So, we left shortly afterwards.  I took Steffie to her friends house for Girl Scouts and to practice her "Flamenca" routine, and matt had his baseball game.

And what a game too.  Shame it got rained out.  Matt had 4 punchouts through the first 2 innings, and the 3 runs he gave up weren't even earned, but rather errors and passed balls.  He also cracked an awesome hit and scored later on in the 1st inning too.  The game ended 3-3, and I'm glad cause I was freezing.

Next up?  Back to the Big Apple.  Scotland Run 10k. Team points race.  I need a kilt for this run!  Anyone got a tartan / kilt to spare??

Other details from the race:




As I was driving back to drop off Karen, she asked me a question that I hadn't given much thought.
"Alex," Karen said, "With all of the training that you've done over the last few weeks at the Aspire, what are you going to do now that the race is finally over?"
I actually never gave that much thought.  Doh!
It's a nice course