It’s been a long time since I’ve run a race without a goal, without the intention of giving it my best effort. But, this Sunday’s Poland Spring Marathon Kickoff 5 Miler had a purpose even higher than a PR–it was the eighth of my nine qualifying races for guaranteed entry to 2009’s NYC Marathon. (This year’s NYC will be my ninth; I already did my Plus-1 volunteering back in March.)
I wasn’t well-rested (Joan Osborne), and I skipped breakfast. Five miles, come on! No eating needed before five miles. Got to the start, got my bib and tee-shirt (oh no, this means I have to take one out of the Drawer), and as I found my corral, my TNT buddy RK shouts my name. He flies down from Toronto to run his qualifiers, visits with his girlfriend, and calls it a weekend. Even though Sunday dawned sunny and clear, Saturday had been rainy all afternoon. RK’s flight was turned back twice before they landed at Laguardia. Ultimately, he spent six hours on a plane, and this is after he ran a 20-miler in preparation for the Honolulu Marathon this December. Runners: we are a special, special kind of crazy.
So, we were off. I wanted to try out the Virtual Partner feature on little G, as it had been suggested to me that it could be a tool to keep myself on track at next week’s event, but after a couple of miles I realized it’s not how I think about my pace, and I went back to the stopwatch/distance/pace screen. Most days, I’m a negative split runner, so my pace changes from mile to mile. Even though ultimately my pace averaged out to faster than what I’d set the VP (let’s run nice and easy 9:30’s), in the beginning I was 40 to 20 seconds slower, which was discouraging for me. Who needs that?
Also, my calves and shins felt like columns of cement the first three miles. It took a certain kind of TK-stubborn to keep lifting them with each step until finally they loosened up. I blame the taper. Lesson: stretch double this week, TK. Check!
I finished the race in 46.43, nearly 4 minutes off my PR. Got my bagel and water and went directly to the office, where I put in a solid eight hours of clean up, catch up and set up.
Race day cannot get here fast enough!