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Sunday, July 09, 2006

Bronx Half Marathon

I rested for the Bronx Half Marathon by swimming a couple of miles in Brighton Beach, riding my bike 24 miles and then playing with my kids at the municipal pool on Saturday. It felt good to be somewhat rested, as usually I have 100+ bike miles in my legs the day before a run.

The weather cooperated by giving a clear, sunny and not too warm day. It reached a high of 85 degrees, but that was probably on the Grand Concourse which is always stifling hot and windy. I was driven to the race by my friend Chris who picked me up around 6am. I was perfectly happy to let someone else to the driving for a change.

After stopping by the Baggage Check, I realized that I forgot to bring my timing chip. I was annoyed at myself, because this is a very basic thing that you need to have. I was able to get a replacement chip for the race, but this meant I couldn’t run with my permanent bib number. The replacement number turned out to be a good thing, because I was able to use both of the bibs t-shirt coupons to double dip and get a child size t-shirt for both of my kids.

I went for an easy one mile run to warm up before the race. My legs were feeling kind of crabby and I thought I was feeling twinges in my right Hamstring. I started to worry about pulling something so close to IMLP, but I decided to go through with my race plan and just monitor it carefully. I was hoping to run 7:10 minute miles or better. I started off the race by running around 7:25’s for the first 5 plus miles.

While I was running, I overhead a couple of guys wearing those “I ran my fastest 10K, 20 miles into a marathon” shirt talking about their goal pace for the race. One of them said he is looking to run 7:45’s. I couldn’t help myself and replied to him that if he is looking for 7:45’s that he was going too fast now. I probably did that more to remind myself of how I should run, rather than as a desire to offer advice to another runner. The guy agreed though and we got to talking about how he just couldn’t help himself by going out too fast. I told him to think of it like sex; you don’t want to prematurely ejaculate. He agreed that was true and we proceeded to run next to each other for the next mile or so.

Eventually I let him get ahead as he was pulling me a little too fast for the pace I wanted to run at the moment. I throttled it back down until through the midway point between the 5th and 6th miles. I really wanted to try to break my PR and I was afraid that if I started to move too late that I wouldn’t be able to come close. I was feeling ok and decided I may as well go for it now.

I soon blew past the guy I was talking to earlier and concentrated on keeping my pace up. To help me do so I concentrated on picking off other runners. It kept me going strong and helped me keep my pace up. I was able to overtake everyone I pointed out and I refused to let myself start slacking off. As the later miles came on, it became a bit more difficult and eventually I was just running alone. I was feeling a great deal of discomfit, but I thought to myself that dealing with this discomfit is what I was going to have to deal with if I stood a chance of qualifying for Kona. I told myself to get over it and run hard to the finish line.

With a few hundred yards left to go, someone passed me. He offered words of encouragement to bring this thing home and I increased my effort to maintain pace with him. In the end I wasn’t able to retake him and I was annoyed at myself for letting someone pass me. I felt I could have dug a little deeper at the final 10th of a mile, even though I was already running at over 95% of my max HR.

I was ready to throw up and collapse after I crossed the finish line, but somehow got my body to settle down before I did. I grabbed my cold water bottle filled with Recoverite and sat down on the sidelines while I waited for Chris and other friends to pass by. Eventually my friend Rob came by and we sat and talked about the race. While we were sitting, some strange older guy wearing a Santa type had with white pigtails and carrying an ancient orange suitcase came by. I was amazed at the sight of this suitcase as it was the same kind my parent had when I was a small boy. I recognized it in a second, even though I probably hadn’t thought of it in 33 years. I had to take a picture of it, if for no reason other than to show my parents. The guy cooperated by stopping and starting to talk to us.

We talked briefly about the race. When the guy saw me with my camera though, he said that he would take out picture and proceeded to pull out a Polaroid camera that must have been from the same era as the suitcase. We responded that we didn’t want to pay for it, but he said “Oh no, it’s for free”. I was fine with that and smiled nicely for the picture. Rob though had a look of shear skepticism and leeriness. The guy even put it in a cardboard boarder for us. Here is a picture of the picture.

Rob eventually left to reunite with the group he came down with and I awaited the return of Chris and my ride home. He finally sauntered over the finish line in a little over 2 hours with Marcos, another friend that came with us to the race. I had to wait over 30 minutes from the time I finished to meet up with him, but I didn’t mind since it allowed me time to cool off and relax. It did take Chris just about forever to get ready to leave. By the time we got rolling the same amount of time it took for me to complete the race had passed. I guess that’s the price I had to pay for having someone else drive me.

My family wasn’t home when I returned as they went to my nephew’s birthday party. I would have liked to have been able to play with my kids when I got home, but by no means am I not enjoying the relaxation time I have now as I write this. Hopefully, they will come home soon though as I’ve now had enough time to relax.

Time for race: 1:35:50


Blogger Morrissey said...

"I rested for the Bronx Half Marathon by swimming a couple of miles in Brighton Beach, riding my bike 24 miles and then playing with my kids at the municipal pool on Saturday. "

Damn, you are a Beast! I hardly did anything on saturday. Anyway- you pulled off a great time and from your time, we were running pretty close to each other.

1:10 PM  
Blogger tamar said...

hey beast!
I ran that same race, and I think I actually heard you having that converstion about telling the guy he was running too fast! that was a tough day, congrats on your time.. I loved the pic of that crazy orange guy.. I missed him.. and your friend rob's expression is priceless.. I wrote a little piece on that race too, feel free to check it out, you'll probably get a kick out of it..

10:35 PM  

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