Sunday, June 1, 2008

Two Race Reports, I'm Going to Be In a Book, and Check my eBay Listing

I thought I posted last week. Wow. Lots to discuss!

First and foremost, the latest additions to the Fred's Team Honor Roll:


making the total going to the Aubrey Fund for Pediatric Cancer Research to date:


Getting there, getting there. Slow but steady...

I admit to not being as aggresive about fundraising as I should be. It is early in the season, and with the economy being what it is, I am reluctant to push people too hard. But the Aubrey Fund is such a good cause, I know that there are people out there who would want to donate, regardless. Won't you be one of those people? Just click here, or on the link at the right side or bottom of the page.

My buddy Liam, and the reason I am running the marathon again this year, had his fourth birthday in Central Park today. Isn't that amazing? I couldn't go, as I was attending my cousin's birthday party, which was at the same time (a cruise up the Hudson River, breathtaking, and a beautiful day to do it.) My fondest birthday wishes go to Liam and his family.

Oh, gosh, so much ground to cover.

Last year, Liz Robbins, a reporter for the NY Times, came to a number of our Fred's Team workouts and interviewed a number of Team members for a book she was writing on the NYC Marathon. Well, the book is coming out in October!! It's called "A Race Like No Other: 26.2 Miles Through the Streets of New York." A major focus of the book is Teammate Harrie and his brother Rich. At the beginning of 2007, Harrie was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer on his salivary gland. He was treated at MSKCC. During his treatment, Harrie finished his coursework, graduated college, and ran at least three times a week. Harrie finished his treatment in June, and on November 4, 2007, Harrie and Rich ran the marathon side by side. Is that not the most amazing thing ever? Why Harrie doesn't get the whole book devoted to him is because Liz had to save a couple of lines for me! Yes, I'll be in it, too, she says. Chapter Nine. No autographs, please.

So here's how I'm trying to turn lemons into lemonade: I'm heading out the door for a run a few days ago, and I can't find my Nike+ sensor. I have the battery (the part that sits in the shoe) but I can't find the thingie that plugs into my iPod. Grr! That little doodad has been giving me no end of irritation with my inability to calibrate it to read a mile correctly, but I love the darn thing. So I head over to the Nike store -- the blessing and the curse of living a few blocks away -- and bought a new system, as you can't replace just the sensor (you can replace the battery, though.) I had dinner with a friend that night, and she said that she had misplaced something and had to buy new, and she knew that in 48 hours she'd find the thing she had misplaced. Well, sure enough, almost 48 hours later, the sensor turned up. So I put the original sensor/battery combo on eBay. Click here to go to my eBay listing. All the $$ will go to Fred's Team. Happy bidding!

Two races to tell you about, the Wall Street 5K Run and the Japan Day Run. Wall Street first. This was a Tuesday night race, sort of odd, but it was close to my school so I figured why not? I could just hang out at school and get some practice in, and then head over. It was also a new course, and I'm already starting to get a little itchy running in the Park. The race entries were capped at, hold onto your hats, 17 THOUSAND. What? Where the heck are they going to put all these people? Last year there were nine thousand people at this race, according to a friend, and it was mayhem. It's a run/walk, and there was no delineation in the starting line-up, and my friend said that last year it took her almost 20 minutes to get across the start line. Egads. I had low expectations. Plus it rained. All day.

I put on my rain jacket and water-resistant hat and headed over to the starting line behind the Amex Building. The race was scheduled to start at 6:45pm. At 6:40, it stopped raining. Hooray! And the rain kept a lot of people away, I think the actual tally on the day was closer to 5,000. Did 12,000 people stay away because of the rain?

If you've never been down to Wall Street, it's a maze of twisting, turning streets, some paved, some cobblestone. I couldn't tell you what the actual route was, because I never looked up. Until the last half mile or so on the West Side piers, we never ran more than a few blocks before turning onto another street, plus all the puddles, the sidewalks and the aforementioned cobblestones. There was no corral start, but they did have the walkers start on a different street, so that was a little better than last year, I guess, but it was still 5k's worth of dodge 'em. I ended up with a 24:24 finish, or 8:08/mile, which is pretty impressive considering the weaving around I was doing. The post-race fiesta on the pier was okay, there was a lot of schwag, and I got yet another bag, some coupons, and a pedometer, there was Subway half-subs there, some new energy drinks. The weirdest booth was for the Wii Fit -- they didn't have a console, so it was just a bunch of people telling us to check it out when it comes out. Huh?

Okay, onto today's race, the Japan Day Run. I signed up for this race thinking it started and ended at 72nd Street, like last year. Nope, 102nd. Last night I went to a party that, while not technically a Fred's Team party, was thrown by two Fred's Teamers, so there was a lot of us there (ps, that's how I learned about Liz's book coming out. She also has an article coming up this Thursday in the Times about lesser-known running routes in Central Park.) Home by 12:30am, up at 6:00. Out the door by 6:50, hoping that there would be an uptown bus on the East Side. Nope. So I walked up to 102nd (from 58th, so that's a shade over 2 miles.) I figured it would be a good warm-up.

At the corral line-up -- and did I mention how much I LOVE the corral system? -- I saw Teammates David and Cary. They are both much faster than I am, so I was surprised to see I was in Cary's corral. Was I that much faster? David was in the corral in front of us, but started with us. I wanted to start in the corral behind me so I wouldn't go out too fast, but David encouraged me to stay where I was and told me not to worry. I'm up for the challenge. I told David and Cary I'd keep up with them. And I did. For three whole minutes!

Mile 1, heading down the West Side -- 8:02. Mile 2 was more of a downhill mile, and that was a 7:55. Wow. And to my surprise, I saw Cary in front of me! I would occasionally pass her, then she'd pass me. But I was keeping pace with her! Mile 3 is Cat Hill, and the sun was out and it started getting really hot. I stopped at the water station, drank 3/4 of the water and poured the rest on my head. Mile 3 was 8:03, and I confess I was a little disappointed because it wasn't a negative split. I wasn't going for negative splits, the race is too short for them to have a real impact. Still, I like each mile to be faster than the last.

One mile to go, and I was starting to get a little queasy. But there's Cary again, right next to me. I had to stay with her, and I did -- I was alongside her all the way to the finish line, even though I was seriously ready to hurl. It was hot, and I was really feeling it. Crossed the finish line and checked the mile.


For a finish of 31:33, or a 7:53/mile pace. That is a 4 mile PR by 14 seconds. PER MILE.

No wonder I was ready to hurl!

We don't officially start Team training for another month, if you can believe it. As much as I'm dreading those stair workouts, I'm really looking forward to it. If this is where I am now, where am I going to be in September and October? This is going to take some getting used to...

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