I am nervous about the race tonight, I emailed a running buddy Wednesday morning, because I don’t know of what I am capable.
The 3.5 mile course (two lower loops of Central Park run counterclockwise) is quite familiar to me as I’ve been participating in the series (and running in Central Park) for years. My PB for the race is 27:10, but last month I ran a sluggish 32:12. My training indicates I can hold a sub-9-minute mile for at most two, and usually run 3 miles in around 28:30. I had no idea how to pace–nor (more importantly) how much to push–myself. I didn’t feel like running as hard as I could, only to cross the finish line dizzy and nauseous. I wanted to run steady, with just the right amount of effort, so I could kick at the end. But what was that pace? Pfft, I threw my hands up and decided to shoot for 9:15’s.
The race starts at the top of the slope by Tavern on the Green, which creates a stampede of media workers, all hurtling down the hill at speeds that are unsustainable over 3.5 miles. Granted, it’s a great feeling to whoosh away, but I have paid the price for a fast first mile before so always try and rein myself in once we hit the trough. I suppose I did rein myself in, because Mile 1 was my slowest of the race at 8:25. Yeesh, better slow down! Mile 2? 8:13. Can I actually sustain this? Mile 3 — 8:03! Ohmygoodness just half a mile left, there’s that big curvy hill, but still… Mile 0.56 clocked in at 4:31, or an 8:02 pace. I was done in under half an hour. Damn, woman. Check the systems. Adductor brevis? No pain. Heart? Pounding with excitement. Lungs? Panting with glee. Hey, that just felt gooood. Mmm and aah. Dare I, dare I hope for something better than a 1:59:00 performance in Baltimore? Ooo, that’s risky emotional ground. Let me spend a little more time compiling evidence.
And also, I had a vicarious thrill at the performance of colleague SN, (who quit smoking less than a week ago) and broke away from me at Mile 2, to finish in 27:51 (more than a 4-minute improvement for him over last time). I say “broke away”–actually, it’s more like I yelled at him to bolt ahead (“Will you just fucking go?!”), since he wasn’t even sweating just keeping pace with me. And also, I passed my friend LW our for a workout; she trotted towards me on the course and we swapped waves. It’s always lovely to see her; she’s one of those amazing women I like to collect. And also, I had a lovely catch-up chat after the race with DT, a leggy Masters speedster from our children’s division and a regular at this series; I’ve known him for 10 years!
3.5 miles in 29:13, and 39th among all women. Can’t wait to see what happens at the fifth Media Challenge (which is actually the fourth, rescheduled due to thunderstorms). What do you think my target pace should be?