Wednesday, June 27, 2012

RACE REPORT: LIRRC Summer Series 5k #7

Yeah, sure.  That's what Lance Armstrong would tell me in my ear later on, but I've done much faster than this.  Thanks anyway Nike!

You would think that showing up to Eisenhower Park on a Wednesday, and running hard would earn you a medal, right?

It worked for Karen just a couple of weeks earlier.... Hmmmm.... I am a medal whore after all....
Not such a bad idea after all!

RUN#: 185
RACE: LIRRC Summer Series #7
DIST: 5k
DATE:  Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 @ 7pm
TEMP: 74F 54% humidity
LOCALE:  Eisenhower State Park, East Meadow, NY
WEIGHT: 164



So, off to East Meadow I went.  The field was supposed to have been fewer then 50 people, like it was for Karen.  How many people were in the field tonight?  193.

The forecast called for cool temperatures.  Temperature tonight?  74.  Well, considering the summer we've been having, I guess it's not the worst.

I had pizza for lunch.  Bad boy.  As such, I was at 164 pounds.  Ugh.


The red shed where it all happens. The club house of the Long Island Road Runners Club. Quack Quack.


Nothing like a neat and tightly controlled baggage check area. LOL

Finish line for the pee wee race that preceded ours. The little girl in the pic was 4 years old.

Mile 1, I blazed.  I was able to keep the leader  well within my sights.  Hey, did I have a chance of winning this whole thing outright??

No.

Well, at least I did my first mile in 7:06.  An extremely strong lap for a summer race, even if it was a shortie (5k).

Anticipation, which led to perspiration suddenly led to desperation and finally revelation.
In other words, I shot my load too quickly, and had little left in the tank in the end.  Oh yes, I FELT like I was killing it, but according to my iPhone, I never got close again to that magical first mile.
See below:



My final time was 22:53 Nonetheless, I had a decent showing.  And with the iPhone no less.  I figured it was my 6th best ever 5k.  Not bad considering I weighed 164 pounds. Actually maybe It's the iPhone and the defender case that it's in. It's just so damn heavy.  This was the first and the last
time I race with it.


I still contend however that Nike+ has the nicest interface.  The color coding on the course map is the bomb!
Unofficial initial report showed that I finished in 43rd, but 2 people were DQ'd so 41st.

My pace was a nice 7:23. Again, considering that I was overweight and feeling sluggish this was an impressive result.  Nothing like running on a mostly flat surface (albeit a slightly boring one too).
Lastly, I came in 5th place.  The smug look of smug.  Whatever the hell that just meant.
No seriously, I thought I was going to win.  No hardware!  Waaaah!
Okay.  Get over it.
NEXT!


Sunday, June 24, 2012

RACE REPORT: Gay-Lesbian Pride Run



The June swoon was definitely upon me this year.  In a month where most runners start to cut back on the number of races they do, and especially because of the heat, I increased.  Having done 4 races in each of both April and May, I did 6 races this month and there's yet one more in the tank  coming this Wednesday evening at Eisenhower State Park.  Each race has had interesting moments, including my last one, which was yesterday in Central Park.  It was the annual Pride Run, commemorating Gay and Lesbian rights (although I heard an acronym tonight on TV, GLBT, better known as Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender).

RACE #:  184
RACE: Gay & Lesbian Front Runners Pride Run
DIST: 5 Miles
DATE:  Saturday, June 23, 2012 @ 9am
TEMP:  70F ....93 % HUMIDITY!!!
LOCATION: Central Park, NY
WEIGHT: 165


The temperature for the race was not the stifling 90's as it was earlier on in the week, but at 70 degrees and with the humidity at 93% , I knew I was dealing with soup.  More than that were the "internal" factors, that I had to deal with.  Weighing 165 pounds, not getting enough sleep the night before, and drinking beers with my great friend Nico, who was in from Spain, didn't help my race readiness either (but those beers were fun!).

I passed this when I decided to do one more lap of the park. 2 hours 17 minutes to do 1 mile?  Very amusing indeed!

The first mile was completed in an amazing 6:52.  Amazing because that mile included much of Harlem Hill.  It killed me though.  Did me in.  My tongue was hanging out for the next 4 miles.  I did everything I could to bravely hang on.  People were passing me to my left and to my right.  In droves.  Front Runner runners were knocking me out of their way.  They were running with a mission, while I lacked ignition.

To me, each rolling hill in Central Park, was like a wave against my tiny ship.  I got capsized time and again. The lactic acid was building up in my quads, my lungs were heavy as lead, my midsection wanted to throw up.  I was nauseas.  What was wrong?

And then as I tried to get things going, I would look at my watch and was still over 8 minutes per mile.  It felt unreal.

Defeated.  Annihilated.  Buried.  The Empire of Doom struck back at the Pride Race in a BIG way.
And even after it was all over, I still managed to finish in the top 14% overall, which in a field of nearly 5000, is nothing to sweat over.   But you could have fooled me.  I was on the verge of nearly blacking out, and had to sit in the grass with the rest of the finishers for awhile before I could catch my breath.

Once my energy level rose, so did my discontent with my performance.  Whatever alcohol that was in my system from the night before, had been all sweated out.  The humidity had gone down a bit, but the temperatures were getting a bit scorchy now at 85.  

Look at that first lap.  SICK! :)



I was left unsatisfied.  I needed to make a point.  I needed to do penance. 

Much like Nolan Ryan, who would work for as much as 3 hours AFTER a game, in the weight room, I figured I needed a little payback.  I took my car out of the garage it was parked in, and now easily found street parking.  Came back into the park, and did a full loop of the park.   So, what started out as a 5 mile day, ended up as an 11 miler.

And this morning, I did another 10k too.  With a negative split on the way back.  I was averaging 9:16 thru 4 miles, but after mile 5, I brought it down to 8:54.

And what a horribly brutal photo of me running through the park for another 10k.  Masochist to the extreme! And how ugly this photo is.  Well, I posted it nonetheless to show you that it doesn't matter how you look, it's how you do. That's what matters!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

RACE REPORT: Sid Jacboson JCC 5k

DATE: Sun., June 10th
DISTANCE: 5k
LOCATION: East Hills, NY

I love races that are close to my home town of Port Washington.  What a pleasure it is to know that good, local racing is just around the corner!

Karen, who had run the NYRR Mini yesterday, came with me and the chitlins this morning.  THe great thing about this race is that they have free childcare for this race.  Bar none, this is the best perk I've ever heard from any race! 

It was a little stressful getting the babies fed and changed though, I will admit.  At one point, I just had to ask Karen if she could take over because I needed time to stretch and psych.  The one downpoint of the race was that they had no baggage check.  That was a downer because my SUV was parked a 1/4 mile away.  Oh well, I guess I was going to get my practice running in before the race after all.

Typically, a 5K is the best race if you are going to drink a performance enhancing drink (like Red Bull).  I downed about 16 oz, and was set to go.  I lined up in front and when the airhorn blasted, so did I.

I had mentioned to Karen how I didn't think I would be beating my 5K PR anytime soon, since that was done in 20:43, or a pace of about 6:41 per mile.  Plus, that race (the JFK Runway Run) was completely on flat terrain.  It was on the runways itself!  This race?  Well let me give you a hint....the name of the town is called, East HILLS. 

As for the hills, they were nowhere to be found in the first mile.  Someone had mentioned of a killer hill that rivaled that of the Kings Park hill, but I hadn't seen it.  I did believe this runner however, and thus, I was going to motor as much as I could in the beginning, to hang on for dear life afterwards.  And as I jockeyed for position with a few runners, I don't think I was worse than top 20 as we passed the Mile 1 marker.   And with a time of 6:40 for the first mile, it made sense.  I was on FIRE!!!!

Right after the Mile 1 marker, is when the fire turned to getting burned.  Here came the hill, and the sun had come out too.  Not too sound too much like a geek, but a voice in my head, a calm voice like that of Obi-Wan-Kanobi spoke to me.  It said;

"Rely on your training Alex.  Stay focused.  Use your tools to stay ahead.  You are a smart runner, let your intelligence and your feelings guide you."

USE THE FORCE, more like it!

And as disastrous a time I had on my 2nd Mile, I didn't lose any ground. In fact, I surpassed two people on my way up the long climb.

Mile 3 was downhill.  But....would I have any steam left.

So, speaking about steam...The heat was getting to me.  I actually took water when it was available, drank half-and dumped over my head the other half.  In such a short race, I would never have even bothered to waste time, but my engine was overheating, and my "JEDI" focus was getting very, very fuzzy.

And that's where the main storyline to this race comes about.

One of the guys that I had passed going up the hill, seemed to be gaining on me again.  Satchel Paige says to never look back because something may be gaining on you (funny, he was a baseball player, not a runner), but I looked back.  And this guy with the yellow shirt was indeed gaining on me.  I looked at my watch though, and realized I couldn't have more than a quarter mile.  Unless this guy was the record-holder for the mile from Morocco, there's no way he can catch up to me.

Think again.

As I made what, at the time, would have been my final turn (right) I was digging hard.  So hard that I was grunting, and yelling "Oh no" trying to scare myself from this runner to run faster, and dig harder.  And then the fateful occurred.

I looked up to my left, as I heard the cheers, and there was this young volunteer on the sidelines along with the spectator.  He was motioning me to turn in to the left.

I saw that the left was the JCC.  It was predominantely obscured by the trees, but I could also see a bagel table and stuff.  Between that and this idiot volunteer, I turned left, and ran down into the JCC driveway.  I had my headphones on too listening to Paul Van Dyk and his electronic tunes coursing through my ears. 

Funny thing though....Where was the finish line?

At that point I slowed down.  And realized I was lost.  This reminded me of the nightmares that I have from time to time, when I'm running the marathon, and get lost in my dream to never finish.

The anxiety level was welling up, because I knew I was doing so well.  To get lost now, with less than a 1/10th of a mile, and work this hard in this heat to get NOTHING?  The anger was now also beginning to rise up as well.

"THE FINISH LINE IS BACK UP THERE!"  some samaritan yelled to me.

I ran.  Harder than ever, and made my way back up and out of the driveway/parking lot, and wouldn't you know it?  The FINISH line, IN BIG LETTERS  was just ahead of me.  However by then 3 people had passed me that shouldn't have.  That included that latino dude with the yellow shirt -

"CRAP, I hope he wasn't in my age group!!!"  I thought to myself.

As I crossed the finish line, I went straight to the race marshalls, and explained the situation.  They almost couldn't believe me, but asked me to come back after the race was mostly over, as there were still the vast majority of runners yet to cross the finish line.

I stood around and to my happy surprise, Karen was rushing home to the finish line.  Later on, she would tell me that she thought she did poorly, but with that hill and all, I think she did great.  Also, I felt she had even a better chance at medalling than I did, for I didn't count too many female finishers in front of her.

A few moments later, I was getting a bit dizzy.  The heat and exhaustion were both getting to me....That was until they announced that the first page of results .  I quickly got up, and ran to it!

And there I was ..... SIXTEENTH PLACE OVERALL and 2nd in my AGE GROUP.   WOOHOO!!!
However, I was concerned that the volunteer had helped my stupidity to lose 1st place.  Well, as it turned out, it did not.  The guy who came in first, won by 57 seconds.  Later on I simulated the excess ground that I ran, and it turned out to be 28 seconds (to go in and come back out to the course).  I still would have come in 2nd, but I needed to and did tell the Race Director about this.
Hopefully, it will be corrected from the 23:05  7:27 pace  to 22:37 and 7:18pace

In the meantime, Karen kicked ass, coming in 3rd place in her age group.  This was after she saw another woman wearing the same top as her, and it was the same woman from the New Hyde Park race as well.  She came in 1st, BTW, but in a different age group.

Karen has now 2 medals in 2 days.  Tomorrow night, we will be racing in Heckscher State Park, so I think 3 races in 3 days has got to be a record for Karen.  But if she places, and wins another medal?  3 medals in 3 days?  That deserves a dinner for her, don'tcha think?


BTW, she actually won a facial in the raffle today.  And we got a ton of free Monster Drinks, and food.  We actually made MONEY on this race.  The race cost us each $25, but her facial is worth $75.  We both won medals, and the childcare was free.  Plus all the free food and drinks as well.


Great day out overall!

RACE REPORT: New Hyde Park 8K

DATE:  Sun. June 3, 2012
TIME: 9:00am
LOCATION: New Hyde Park, NY   Denton Elementary School

The temperature was nearly 70 and the skies a pure blue.  And if it were not for the hills along the route, I might have done better.   The last time I did this race was all the way back in 2005, which is now seven years ago.  Life was a lot different back then.  I was still recuperating off a broken leg, a broken 401k plan, and a broken heart.  But I persevered, and like then, I was out to take no prisoners today either.  

The one thing I love about these Long Island races is that they are smaller, have better facilities for bathrooms, ample parking, and nicer treats at the end.  I think I have finally listened to my friend Bonnie, who had gotten on my case once about signing up for all these crazy, large races.  She was right, or at least, I needed to balance out huge races (NYC Half, Full Marathons, Brooklyn Half, Boston Run) with smaller ones (Aspire, Kings Park, New Hyde Park).

The 8K length is a joke, really.  8K is actually 4.97 miles.  My tongue hangs out .03'ths past the finish line alone when I'm done.  41:57 had been my time in '05, which was a pace of 8:26 at that time.  I was also 39 years old.  Now, I'm going to be 47 pretty soon (July 9), and I think I should destroy it.

And I did.

But it wasn't easy.

More than the sun, or the hills, I was quite surprised by the quality of the field pitted against me.  It was a war between me and the runners, and I didn't win that many times.  The last 1/4 mile was on grass no less, and I was actually outsprinted by not 1 but 2 runners, one female (she later came around and shook my hand for a great race, as we had been jockying for position for nearly 3 of those almost 5 miles).

The results showed what I had already knew.  It was indeed a tough field.  Overall, I came in 62 out of 170.  At one point, a long time ago, coming in the top 36.5% would have been considered a success,  but my reputation of late has been to always be under 20-25%.  How I stacked up in my age group was even worse, I came in 9th out of 17, meaning that there were more 45-49 year old folks that finished ahead of me than behind.

I was also quite annoyed that the raffles for the iPad and 42in ch LED flat screen, were not free, and that they needed to be bought ahead of time.  Ugh.

However, Karen kicked ass and got herself a medal for finishing 2nd in the Clydesdale (Athena) group...See below!



Maybe the best part of the run, was afterwards.  Dolly and Johnny who were watching the twinkies for us while we ran, lived less than a mile away.  I was able to go get the babies and come back, just in time for them to see their mommy get recognized...and yet again!

As for this race...I will be back with a vengeance next year!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Helpful Tips-June 2012

These are taken from my Runner's World Calendar (thank you, Runner's World), but felt compelled enough to post here:

TRAINING
THIN SOCKS, PLEASE.
Socks with extra cushioning are comfy, but they trap moisture, which may lead to blister's and athlete's foot.  Opt for socks this summer.  Putting Vasoline, sports lube, or bandages over blister-prone spots also helps.  And after a ru, make sure to change out of your soggy socks and shoes before you go out for coffee or errands.

Actually, I bring a pair of sandals with me, to let my dogs air out.  Feels great!

FUEL
GRILL TIME.
Ripe summer fruits are not just delicious-they are also rich in potassium, vitamin C beta-carotene, and phytonutrients that speed recovery.  Plus, frilling fruit over high heat concentrates flavors and carmelizes sugar.  Pick sturdy fruits, such as pineapple and mango, then cut them in hald and remove pits or seeds, soak fruit in water for 10 minutes and place on grill.

Never heard of this before.  Looks like I will need to give this a shake on the grill!

MIND+BODY
PROTECT YOUR SKIN
Athletes who train outdoors may have a higher risk of developing skin cancer.  To prevent it, avoid the sun between 10am and 4pm, wear a hat, run in the shade whenever you can, and wear SPF30 sunscreen.  Reapply after prolonged activity.

I typically go out of my way to run in ths shade primarily because it's cooler outdoors.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Daily Runs thru Flower Hill

Working from home has its perks.  One of them is the ability of not having to commute to work.  For me, what this means is that I get to run an additional hour in the morning.  After running 8 miles yesterday, and a 10k the day before that, I posted a Half Marathon today.  All in preparation for the New Hyde Park 8K race on Sunday.

Today, I ran from my home to Flower Hill and back.  Great houses, and perfectly paved roads in the private section of Flower Hill, made this a clear cut winner for my running regimen.  Of course, there was the Saint Bernard who looked at me as if I was his breakfast on Farmview Road, but other than that, what a pleasure.

Will be taking tomorrow off from running, and getting some much needed rest between now and Sunday.

After this Sunday, I will have done 16 races.  I'm gunning for a total of 40 before this year is thru.  In the end, let's see how realistic that will be.

RACE REPORT: Boston's Run To Remember

RACE#: 178
RACE:  Boston's Run To Remember
DISTANCE:  Half-Marathon (13.1 Miles)
DATE: Sunday, May 27, 2012
TIME: 7am
LOCATION:  200 Seaport Blvd., Boston, MA
WEATHER: Upper 60-s to Mid 70s.  Humid.

COURSE:
BIB#

Somewhere in the midst of the Memorial Day weekend, a race had to be done.
Karen had been invited to attend the reunion of Harvard alumni.  It was to be her 20th.  She graduated from Harvard-Radcliffe back in 1992, and if 20 years since her graduation wasn’t sobering enough, the fact that 1992 was 20 years ago, sure was.  As for me, I happily tagging along with her for the ride. Oh and yeah, bring the babies too.  Sure, why not.
Karen’s sister Kimberly has a nice house in Newton.  And for those of you not aware of what Newton is, Newton is a nice neighborhood.  Houses are big, lawns are professionally manicured, and high-end import cars seem to grow out of driveways like wildweed does here in my own beleaguered backyard.
Fortunately for us, Karen’s sister and her 3 nieces were looking for an excuse to gobble up our two little ones, so our room and board was set.  And nicely too, since Harvard is in Cambridge, and only about 10 miles due east.
We packed up the SUV with suitcases, children, diaper bags, electronic toys (for me, who else), and food, and in no particular order either.    We left Friday morning, and as we were driving, I kept thinking how exciting it was going to be to finally live the dream of getting into Harvard….And I didn’t even need to have great grades or cough up the $240,000 needed to fulfill a 4-year term either, yuk yuk.
Karen had scheduled us a plethora of things to do on campus.  The itinerary of what we would be doing each of the three days looked like more that of amusement park checklist at Disney then anything else.   In fact, it looked daunting.  How, for example was I going to find time to do a long run, let alone any run?
But with me, finding time to run is never an issue.   In fact, I already had it all planned out.
With me, life is never about the status quo. It had been sometime since I did a race outside of the Empire State.  New England was beckoning, and I just had to answer the call.  About a month ago, while Karen was selecting events off the Harvard event list, like someone would select appetizers off a Chinese menu, I too was up to no good myself. 
Every year, Boston holds a very popular racing event on Memorial Day Weekend, consisting of several races of different distances.  Of these races, the Half Marathon, is its signature race.  Well then, sign me on the damned dotted line!
For me, it is a sin to go somewhere be it for pleasure or business, and not find a race to do.  Even on our wedding day, Karen and I while in Fort Lauderdale, were running a 5k that very morning,  What can I say?  It’s like adding salt to our food.  Like a memorable spice to a delicious meal.  Yeah, well, leave it to me to make a reference to food to present to you a like-for-like example.
The race that I signed up for was called, Boston’s Run To Remember.  It’s held to raise money for the police officers families whose husbands (and wives) have fallen while in the line of duty.   While I am not an “affecianado” of the police myself, I do believe in this cause. Handing out stop sign tickets to unsuspecting families is not noble, but,  putting your life on the line to fight evil is noble.  Giving a portion of my $60 to the children of police officers who lost their lives is the least one should do to show their support for what they do to protect their neighborhoods.  In that light, it is no different than what an American soldier does for us, for which we support highly as well during this festive weekend. 
STRIKE ONE:

Not having had an issue with it for as long as I can remember, my hamstring, or rather I should say, pain, stopped by for a visit late Friday night while I was sleeping in bed.  Not sure, how it occurred, but I must have stretched while I was sleeping in bed and pulled it.  The pain was so prominent, that I jumped out of bed with the customary “Shit! Shit! Shit! Shit!” recital waking up Karen, and causing a national scene in the Gaby’s (Karen’s niece) bedroom that we were sleeping in.  It took me a good 20 minutes to work out the kinks, and kick out the jams, before I could semi-comfortably get back to bed and to sleep.
Though they were giving out the race numbers on race day morning, I didn’t want to wait till the last minute, so I ventured out to the expo the day before, Saturday morning.  The expo was being held at 200 Seaport Boulevard, though Bostoners know that better as the World Trade Center expo.  It is right on the water, tucked between Del Frisco’s and the nationally-renknowned Whiskey Priest, a great place to go ….but AFTER the race. Hah.
Parking was a cinch.  It paid off to leave early and get there before the restaurants opened.  It meant I could park right on the street, right across from the expo, and avoid outdoorparking garage charges.
The expo inside, was definitely a bit on the light side, vendor-wise.  I guess being a New Yorker, I’m just plain spoiled from all the hoopla drawn to the NYC Marathon expos.  But it was functional, and I didn’t need a cavity search to prove who I was, just to get my race number.  In fact, I was able to just walk right up to the booth and get my number, without even having to show my ID.  The trust factor here was in full force, and fully appreciated by me too. 
STRIKE TWO:
Later that day, the temperature in the Boston area climbed up to 91.  Worse than that was the humidity.  I was genuinely concerned about Mother Nature, and the disastrous memories of Chicago 2010, were coming back to me.  Even though this was not going to be a full marathon, it was mile 17 where I nearly collapsed due to the extreme heat. 
Karen and I went out and about Newton for a 3-mile run.  Helter Swelter. During my little run on Saturday, I felt tightness in the hammy.  Not good, but the little voices in my runner head told me, “Keep moving forward, soldier”, so I pressed on.
 I roasted in my own sweaty juices, and was so grateful once we were back in Kim’s air-conditioned home.  Let me put it this way, I was so hot that I barely turned the hot water knob in the shower later on.
STRIKE THREE:
A month back Karen had also cautioned me that the main event at Harvard was the Saturday night dinner/dance, which would not finish until 1am.  Meaning we wouldn’t get back to Kim’s until about 1:30am.  My race the next morning was at 7am, meaning I would need to wake up by 5am, to get ready, drive to the event, and give myself the needed prep-time before jumping into my corral.  This would leave me with about 3.5 hours of sleep.  Aye Yi Yi (a famous Spanish expression to signify the entry into poo poo world- I could have said ‘shit’, but thought poo poo was funnier.)
The race horn hadn’t even blown yet, and I already had a lot of obstacles to overcome. I always love a challenge….Especially if it’s a stupid one….Stupid is as stupid does?  Meh, I guess.
The party that night at Harvard was wild.  We all got naked and had wild orgies and steamy sex before collapsing into each other’s sweaty bodies smoking marijuana.
Yeah, ummm, okay.  Just checking to see if I got everybody’s attention.  ;-)
The party was very nice.  Karen got to see a lot of her old classmates, roommates, etal.  It was also sad to see those who had already passed on.  Their pics posted on oak tag and placed on easels near the entrance.  Carey Montserrat, was one of those individuals.  He had only passed on to the other side as late as last December.  Way too young.  It’s sad to think that with each reunion, that this list is going to only get larger, and the reunion is only going to get smaller.  This is why living your life to the max, is the only way to live.  We all should cherish our life and make as positive a statement as we can, while we can.

No pasta tonight at the Harvard Reunion, though the food was good.  They had meat carving stations, but I can’t eat that heavy the night before a race, so I opted for the Japanese station instead, having sushi, and some kind of chicken swarming in juicy teriyaki stuff, mixed with vegetables and crammed into make-it-yourself crepes.  
Also, I only had 1 drink of wine and that was early on.  I didn’t even drink soda because it had caffeine, so all I had was water.  Between the water, and the name tag, I felt like I was in some god-damned AA meeting!
Anyway, we had a great time, and we even got to leave early.  We were home by around midnight, and I was able to get 4.5 hours of sleep before waking up again for game time.  It’s still not enough sleep, but anything more than nothing is something.
Driving to the start was a breeze.  Until, I got to the Seaport boulevard exit in Downtown Boston.  1 exit to get there?  I, along with hundred of motorist, waited nearly a half hour just to get into the parking lot.  EPIC FAIL.
The lateness of my arrival, made a horrible impact on the race.  If already having three strikes wasn’t bad enough, this obstacle would prove to be the falling domino of my eventual demise.  By the time I got inside the expo center, it was already 6:45am.  I dropped my bag in checking, and made my way to a bathroom.  Someone said that there were many port-o-johns outside but by the time I got online for one it was now 6:54.  The line  was short, and moved quickly, but by the time I did my business and got out to go to battle the cast of thousands to look for my expected pace line up spot it was already 6:57.

Having to duck, weave, and shove my way through, while the National Anthem was being sung on the PA overhead on Seaport Boulevard, I somehow made it to the 8min per mile area, just as the air horn blew.  What I didn’t realize until after the race had begun, was how many people were still in front of me.   Something was wrong, because either I was running in a race with the most elite runners ever assembled, or it was something else.  There were thousands of people in front of me, and in front of the 8min/per mile area.  How can that be?
I was in trouble.
Despite my insane and tiring efforts to bag as many fellow runners as I could, I could not make up the loss amount of time.  I must have ran a tenth of a mile over in the first mile alone, to get around the slowpokes that had ZERO business being that far up in line, but the issue proved to be impossible to overcome.  And thus, STRIKE FOUR…..
I crossed Seaport Boulevard bridge, turning right onto Atlantic Avenue, and trying to avoid all the water bottles that the inconsiderate runners ahead of us left on the ground .  We turned left onto State Street and after crossing the  1 mile mark, my watch had barely registered .65 of a mile.  What???
The second mile featured more running along downtown Boston.  We swept north onto Congress Street,  The shade from the tall buildings was very much appreciated as the temperatures seemed like they were already in the high 60’s with plenty of humidity (though not as bad as on Saturday).  I still did all I could to pass people once he headed west on Cambridge and going up the highest ascent to get to Longsfellow Bridge.  What a nightmare.  It took nearly 20 minutes to get 2 miles done.  Overcoming heat, injury, and lack of sleep is one thing, but to be 4 minutes over pace after just 2 miles, was the final nail on the coffin.  At this point, my mind didn’t exactly quit on trying to achieve my 12th consecutive sub-8 race, but I wasn’t going to kill myself either anymore. 

Ummm...Yeah....OK....NOT!
And so, as I race west on Memorial Drive towards Harvard (familiar place now, ehh?), my splits of 8:40, 8:38, 8:42 and finally 9:20, signified that the white flag wasn’t just being held, but proudly displayed.

The turnaround point was just past JFK Harvard Blvd. The next 2 miles were done in sub-8 fashion, but I faltered again, posting a fairly despicable 9:44 on Mile 10.  


Memorial Drive is a very pretty scenic place to run.  It’s along the Charles River (pronounced “Chaaaas”, by fellow Bahhhhstun folks).  It reminded me a lot of the Potomac River in Washington DC, or even better than that the Schulkyill (I know I butchered the spelling) River that I ran along during the Philadelphia Distance Run back in ’08 with my friend Scott Siegel.  I was running in the sun now, with little shade, so the heat was becoming a factor.  At least I wasn’t cramping yet.  The added GU stations to coincide with the Gatorade stops were a much appreciated asset.  Along with the salt packet that I took at Mile 5, I did a great jump in nutritional management. 
Getting back to the city of Boston was a welcome relief.  The shade from the buildings and the cooler breeze felt great.  I already knew I had zero chance of breaking a sub-8, but by now, my secondary goal, that of busting 1 hours 50 minutes, was definitely within reach.  One thing about me, no matter how bad my run might be, I’ll never be unhappy because I always have secondary (backup) goals.  And even when I can’t meet that or any goal, it’s still okay, because I’m running.  And running is great!
As I ran down Seaport Blvd and back to the finish line, I kept thinking about how exhausted I was.  All of the things I knew one is not supposed to do leading to a race, nonethemore, a long run, was coming to fru-beat my ass in-ition.  Still, I had a good kick in me, and sprinted across the finish line, pumping my fist in their air at least a few times.

That's me at the bottom and in the middle.  So happy to get this done!
And in the end, I got my medal.  Mission accomplished.  Thank you Boston!
Nothing like having a proudful photo (medal, Harvard, etal) just to be ruined by the "Medium: tag on the shirt. LOL, DOH!
Karen’s friend Matt Wilson, also ran this race I heard.  The man is an unbelievable Ultra Marathoner & Triathlete, also from Newton.  He did this race in 1:35, easily busting my best ever half by nearly 5 minutes.  He’s around my age too, so there’s still hope for me I hope!!!