Sunday, July 27, 2008

Latest Honor Roll Inductees, Liam Update and the NYC Half Marathon Race Report

My lovelies,
The latest and greatest members of the FRED'S TEAM HONOR ROLL:

SANDRO SEGALINI (who advises, "Intervals, intervals, intervals!!" and he couldn't be more right)

bringing the total going to the Aubrey Fund for Pediatric Research to an amazing


Thank you so much, dear readers and dear contributors. If you've been keeping up with my blog, dear little Liam is about to undergo two more rounds of chemotherapy at MSKCC to eradicate the recurrence of the neuroblastoma they found during his last series of tests. Fortunately, thanks to the thoroughness of the MSKCC staff, they found this recurrence when it was so small it didn't even register on standard tests. Regardless of its size, they will attack it swiftly and aggressively. MSKCC doesn't just treat the cancer, they treat the patient, and their goal is to get Liam to his first day of school in September, because that's what he wants.

A lot of the money for Liam's treatment comes from the Aubrey Fund. Thanks to all of you wonderful people who read my blog and donate -- or who I harass for money and donate -- Liam is receiving cutting-edge treatment that will allow him to lead a full life, and research is funded that will one day hopefully negate the need for the Aubrey Fund's existence. If you've ever donated money to a cause before without really knowing anything about it, let me show you where your money goes:, February 2008: A Day In the Life Of Liam: Pediatric Cancer Patient

If you would like to contribute to my third NYC Marathon effort, which I'm running in Liam's honor, please click on the links to the side and bottom of the page. Okay, and here, too.

Let's talk about running, shall we?
We shall.

This week we had our first Team speed workout at Riverbank. I've said it before, I'll say it again: such a nice place, you hardly notice it's built on top of an active sewage treatment plant. This being summer, the track and field is choked with folks of all ages. The field is full of soccer games (hence, most of our workout is spent dodging flying soccer balls. And no, you don't get to take the workout off if you get beaned. I tried that.) The exterior of the track has exercise classes and parents playing with little kids, and the track itself has health walkers, sprinters, and, if there's room, us. It's a real community, but a real crowded one. My hips were still bugging me from the previous weekend's step workout/12 miler combo, but I was game. It was, for a speed workout, fairly easy -- one-mile warm-up, then six repeats of one fast lap, one slow lap. Two lap cool-down at the end. I didn't bring my stopwatch for actual split times, alas. I did two repeats before stopping for water. Oh, and I recalibrated my Nike+ on the track. More on that anon. It was really humid, but because we're near the water there was at least a breeze. As easy as the workout was, I was tired by the end, but my hips felt a whole lot better.

So much better, in fact, that I was all set to do a 5 or 6 miler Wednesday morning before rehearsal (I discovered on Monday that I won't go to the gym after steno class, now that I'm going to night school.) At 5:15am the LOUDEST crash of thunder woke me, and I thought hmmm, maybe the gym is in order instead. I hate the treadmill, it's so boring. So I did the elliptical, which I have discovered is equally boring. Not enough time, so I didn't get a strength workout in.

Thursday, a delicious step workout! And yes, I was indeed a little harder on myself than Jeff was on us. Although I did forget one of my favorite variations, going up the stairs sideways. No wonder my hips hurt for three days. I am still jumping- and hopping-averse; I'm afraid I'll knock my hips out of alignment, like I did repeatedly the first year of training. Last year: no jumping, no hopping -- no injury. Why mess with success? Hot and humid (no way!) Afterwards, some of us got wee beers at the Boathouse. A nice cool-down.

Two days off from running, and today was the NYC Half Marathon. It's funny, I think I prepare less for longer Team training runs then I did for this one. I tried to get a good night's sleep, I had a whole bag packed, I tapered...why? I don't taper for our longer runs. Maybe because this was my first longer race of the year, and I wanted to race it. I really don't know.

The alarm goes off at 4:30am. The weather reports thunderstorms coming in the next hour, which oughta hit right as I'm getting to the race, as I decided it was easier to walk the mile and a half to the start that to find a mode of transport. I consider it my warm-up. So I pack my shoes, put on my Crocs and a raincoat, and head out. Sure enough, it starts thundering on the walk over, and just three blocks shy of the baggage check, the rain starts. The police on the Park side of the street shoo us all away from the Park and across the street to hang out under the Guggenheim awning. I wait under there with a huge bunch of people, and change into my sneakers. Eventually the rain subsides, I check my bag and head into the corrals. I don't see anyone I know, but see a familiar orange shirt and befriend a Team member named Scott. Then Teammate Julia appeared, running the Half as part of a 20-miler. She's doing two -- or is it three? -- marathons almost back to back this year, so her training is a little wacky.

The rain, while initially refreshing, didn't cool the Park down much, if at all. In fact, it made it more humid, and the heat wasn't escaping as the gun went off.

The course: a clockwise loop and a half of Central Park, out at 59th Street and 7th Avenue, down 7th to 42nd St. right turn up 42nd to the West Side Highway and down the West Side Highway to the finish in Battery Park. Now, here's my one beef with this race: Couldn't the course be just a little more interesting? I mean, a loop and a half of the Park? Isn't there another street somewhere in NYC we can run on, so we don't run over half of the Half in the Park?

Anyways, the plan was to run easy in the Park, and then push it a little once out. No reason to lose it on the hills. I'm a lover of negative splits, and I knew that the crowds would hold me back. 15,000 people ran. Yikes! The other thing I wanted to do was what I did at the Miami Half -- track my miles without checking my watch time. I didn't think that I was going to PR in the heat, but that's what I thought at that last 10K, and look what happened (hint: I PRed.) My goal was to finish in under two hours, but a PR would be nice.

So I tried to be patient and ran easy, passing only people who were slowing me down as opposed to holding me back. Saw Teammate Ashley in the Park, cheering us on.

Stupid story: So last week, at the NYC Tri, Ash and I were cheering people on and our friend David finally came by. Ash took off running with him, with me after them. They're both much faster than I am. Just as I was about to catch up, one of them dropped a $20 bill. I stopped to catch it, and then I started back after them, yelling, "David! Ash! Wait up! One of you dropped money!"

DAVID, WAIT UP? David's in the middle of a TRIATHLON! What a dope I am!

And if you want to see some of the funniest pictures of me ever taken, Brightroom captured the whole thing on film. Scroll down to the fourth and fifth row of pictures. I look like David's stalker!

PS: It's Ash's money.

My times in Central Park:
My 5K split was 29:02, and the 10K 57:24

or for mile lovers:
9:07; 9:26; 9:27; 8:59; 9:20; 9:04; 8:52 for the seven miles in the Park

After the loop and a half of the Park, out 59th Street. That was fun! I had Meat Loaf on the iPod (is there any better music to race with?) and the crowds were cheering, it was flat, it was out of the rainforest humidity that was Central Park so there was a big gust of what felt like cold air. This is why I signed up. Running down 7th was so different and exciting. Running in the Park - meh. No offense to those of you who rarely get to do such a thing, but that's where we do the majority of our training, and I know every bump and curve. If I'm going to spend three times what I normally spend to run a NYRR race, I expect something a little different. Okay, enough harping, I think you get my point.

The best part of the race was on 7th Ave -- they handed out sponges soaked with ice water. HEAVEN! And let me also give praise where it's due: the water and Gatorade support was excellent. So excellent that even I skipped a couple of stations, that's how well-watered this course was.

A lot of people were out cheering, suprising to me given the time of day, but I really appreciated it. Also, now that we were out of the Park, there was room for bands to set up, and there was a lot of entertainment crammed into those 17 blocks.

Turned onto 42nd St and up to the West Side Highway. There was a Brazilian band there, very energetic. We ran on the southbound side of the road; I had feared we'd be shunted to the sidewalk, which on a normal weekend is hugely crowded. I had started picking up the pace a little once we left the Park, and at this point the runners had thinned out somewhat and I was able to maintain a slightly faster rhythm. The breeze from the Hudson felt great. It was hard, though. Even with the water and Gatorade I was beginning to cramp and feel queasy. I had taken my AirAides before the race, a Succeed cap both before the race and at the 10k, and I even took a salt packet. Had Gatorade Endurance at every other stop, and boy did they serve it full strength (which might have been why I was queasy; it did go away after a bit.)

15K split: 1:25:08

or in miles: 8 - 8:58; 9 - 8:57; 10 - 8:44

Past the Chelsea Piers, and the race is drawing to a close. I'm crampy. I should be feeling better than this. This is a half marathon. Chump change. It's still early enough in the season that I'm not a hundred percent used to any sort of distance. But still, I don't forgive myself. It forces me to keep pushing.

We're further away from the water's edge right now, and the breeze isn't there anymore. I'm getting hotter again. Also, the way the race was organized, the crowds were being kept away from the runners behind a double barrier, so it was hard to see people. Still, I saw Lucy (both at 59th St and again near the finish) Ann and Abby!

Mile 11 - 9:05; 12 - 8:55. 20K split: 1:52:47

I pass Harrie and Rich somewhere around here. Harrie was walking -- cramping badly, he said after. I wanted to stop and run with them, but was afraid if I stopped I wouldn't be able to restart. I kept going. Now I could hear the bands and see the finish line. Laid out what I could.

Mile 13 and .1 - 9:25

For an official time of 1:58:29. Not a PR, but under 2 hours. 9:02 average pace, which is pretty good for a half but I'd like it to be about 5 seconds faster (picky!!) A negative split, which is always good.

The second best part of the race -- after we finished they handed out towels soaked with ice water. Oh MAN did that feel good! Were it legal, I would've married that towel. There was a food bag with pretzels, apples and water. For a half, that's a generous food bag and yet, I was disappointed. Don't know why. What was I expecting, gold nuggets? Ran into Rich, Harrie, and Lynn at baggage pick-up, also new Teammates Savi and Courtney. A bunch of us went into the post-race festival, where Fred's Team had a tent. Rich and Harrie's parents were at the entrance to Battery Park, and I now declare them the Official Parents of Fred's Team. They are at every race, nearly every Team run, and they are so lovely and encouraging to all of us (sorry, Mom and Dad, I love you, but you ain't Official.) The tent was a perfect place to hang for a while; and we met a lot of new teammates, some of whom ran just the Half for the Team.

All in all, a good day of running.

More anon!

PS: The "recalibrated" Nike+? Told me I ran 14.77 miles. Calibrated my ass!
PPS: For ladies only: I prayed to the menstrual gods to keep from bestowing gifts until after the race. My prayers were answered -- gifts came literally 20 minutes after crossing the finish line. Sometimes they do listen!

1 comment:

ShoreTurtle said...

Nice race report.

I agree. The wet towel at the end was awesome.

Good luck with your marathon training.