Monday, May 19, 2008

Happy Birthday, Liam! plus All Things Connect, and the Healthy Kidney 10K

My little buddy Liam turned four on May 13! That's his sister Ella in the foreground, and mom Gretchen.

Your support of my Fred's Team marathon effort made this picture possible. "Thank you" just doesn't seem adequate.

Please help me make sure that Liam, and all the children suffering from neuroblastoma and other childhood cancers, are able to celebrate their birthdays for years to come. Just click here or on the links on the right side and bottom of the page to visit my Fred's Team home page, where you can make a secure donation to my third NYC Marathon effort, which I'm running in Liam's honor.

Speaking of honor, the latest additions to the Honor Roll are...


making the total so far


How cool is that? Six thousand is a long way off, though. Won't you please help me reach my goal?

I'm taking an extra day off today, I'm feeling a little shin-splinty and I have a race tomorrow, the Wall Street 5K. Rumor has it that 17,000 people will be there! Egads. I need new sneakers, I think. I'm still waiting to hear back from Saucony, who I asked to sponsor me, but I'm guessing my request ended up in the circular file. That's the garbage can. So I shouldn't be putting the sneaker buy off much longer. Sigh. I'll still wear Sauconys, though. Love 'em.

Some unrelated good news to report: in addition to running and doing theater, I'm also a court reporting student. I'm learning to use those little machines that spit out gibberish on long, skinny strips of paper. The speed you need to get to in order to graduate and become certified by the national CR governing body is 225 words per minute. Seems really fast, and it is -- normal conversational speed is around 180. I was in the process of passing my 180 tests (there are 5 tests: a q & a, 3 tests on literary material, and a jury charge) when the semester ended and I took the next four months off to go to Florida to work. In my school, once you pass all your 180s you move into the final speed class, 190-225. In the week before I left, I took a whole bunch of tests, but never found out how I did. Anyway, today was my first day back at school, and there were three happy surprises waiting for me. First, I passed all but one of the literary tests. Two, they had changed the requirements for moving into the final speed class, and with the q & a and jury charge complete, I was now in the final speed class. Finally, I can start my internship hours! I was going to do some down in Florida, but I was not ready. I felt that I was losing speed, even though I was practicing, and I was too distracted by work to commit to interning. Now I am ready.

For those who followed my blog last year, it was pretty remarkable how my steno speed kept pace -- pun intended -- with my running improvements. Every time I made progress in one area, the other area improved, too. With my average speed holding steady at about 30 seconds faster than this time last year, I was kind of hoping that my steno would make a similar improvement. Turns out, maybe so. So wish me luck as I start testing again this week!

Saturday was the Healthy Kidney 10K. It was a beautiful day for running. It was my first race back, my second of the year. This race is a benefit for the National Kidney Foundation, and is sponsored by the United Arab Emirates. A few years back, a sheik (forget who) needed a kidney transplant, came to the US, got one, and began the Foundation as a thank-you. This race has some of the oddest swag -- phone directories for Saudi Arabia, pins in the shape of kidneys saying "I (Heart) Kidneys," stuff like that. It's always well-attended, and the t-shirts are always technical. I was looking forward to seeing my Fred's Team buddies and seeing how my racing form would hold up after all the trouble I had running in Florida.

One thing NYRR has started doing is to use seeded corrals -- your bib number corresponds to a pace corral, with your pace determined by this year's NYRR race history (if you have one) and your educated guess (if you don't.) You can start in a slower corral if you want, but not a faster one. I have to say, it was one of the best ideas NYRR has come up with. Even though there were over 7,000 people running, there were never the logjams or frustrations of previous races. The field was crowded, but it kept moving. Hooray! Anyway, my pace time, according to NYRR, was 8:07. Ha ha! That's based on my 5K from the Coogan's run. I saw one of my Teammates as I was heading for the start. She's a lot faster than I am, but she's also only run one race this year, a half-marathon, and her pace was 8:13. Hilariously, I was now "faster" than her! I started with her in her corral (one back from mine) so I could talk with her for a bit and start a little slower. I was wanting to run it at about an 8:30ish pace, which was what I did at the Bull Run in Boca Raton (8:35 with a 53:18 finish.)

Even with the seeded corrals, it was a slow start because of the size of the crowd. Mile 1 was 9:17, which was great. I am a big fan of negative splits, and I don't mind starting slower. I'm not sure negative splits make me any faster, but I find it makes racing a lot easier, which is more important to me.

No need for a blow-by-blow of the course, which was a clockwise loop of the Park, from 61st St on the West Side to Tavern on the Green, and the dreaded uphill finish. It started getting warm around mile 5, and I was starting to feel queasy. I saw a lot of people walking the last mile, and one person passed out at the finish line, a little unusual for a 10K. I'm guessing people didn't stop at the first two water stops, when it was still pretty cool out. Word of advice -- you still sweat when it's cold. Maybe not as much, but you do. Drink!

As I was rounding the south end of the Park, I saw a couple of my Teammates up ahead. I was amazed to see them, because they're normally a lot faster than I am. That was a real ego boost. I knew I couldn't catch up, but I pushed hard to keep them in sight, and ended up with a PR of 53:15. It's funny, their 8:35 pace is their off-season, haven't-really-run-in-a-while pace, and my 8:35 pace is a PR. For this brief moment, I'm as fast as they are -- at least until training begins! I'll take what I can get!!

The stats: Mile 1 - 9:17; Mile 2 - 8:50; Mile 3 - 8:37; Mile 4 - 8:35; Mile 5 - 8:12; Mile 6 - 7:58, and 1:44 for the .2.

More anon!

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