Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Countdown Begins...

Last year, around this time, I was so much less busy. I apologize for not blogging more. I'll try to make it up...

First and foremost, the latest and greatest additions to the FRED'S TEAM HONOR ROLL,

LAURA QUINN (the bestest roomie in the world, even if she isn't my roomie anymore!)



making the total going to the Aubrey Fund for Pediatric Cancer Research in honor of Liam Witt to an astounding



Liam update: he is on an antibody regimen right now. It is not easy on him, but he is doing well.

We've got one week to go until the NYC Marathon. Here's the scoop:

I am number 33252. I am in the 3rd corral of the 2nd wave of the Green start. Make sense? Nah, didn't think so. As long as it's not like last year, when I didn't start until 11:00, I'm okay, even if I did manage to get the green start two years in a row. The green start is on the lower level of the Verrazano, which is not as scenic, and -- as I've mentioned before -- there's always a chance of, um, showers.

I realize that I haven't had any contests, which I totally promised to do, and I was thinking about doing another "guess the pace" contest, and perhaps I should. But I'm not all that confident about my pace this year. You can look at my Buckeye Outdoors log and see all my paces and see that I'm actually a little faster than last year. And it's my fervent hope to break 4 hours. But I'm just not sure that I have it in me. Here's the thing: last year, I made HUGE strides in my running. This year, not so much. I mean, I improved, but not to the degree that I did last year. So last year I was really psyched. This year, I'm more nervous. It just doesn't feel like it did last year. I know I shouldn't compare, but I can't help it. I'm not worried about not finishing, because I'll finish if I have to crawl. I just want to finish strong and well. I guess we'll know in a week, huh?

So, my prediction is somewhere between 3:58 (ideal) and 4:15 (real) and I'm hoping it's more towards the 3:58.

Oh -- passed my 190 q & a in steno! And I am a firm believer in the connection between steno and running speed. How that affects the above prediction -- well, I'm holding to it, and I'll be hanging onto my good-luck charm, too!

Two runs to tell you about. The first was the running of the last ten miles of the marathon course. We met on the corner of 60th and 1st at 7am. One of the first cold days of the year. I was undecided about what to wear for the run, so dragged a long and short sleeve Team shirt with me. There was an NBC camera crew there. They're doing a show called "My First Time," and no, it's not what it sounds like, it's about people doing the marathon. They're featuring three people, and one of our Teammates is one of them. I think her name is Arlene. She's a breast cancer survivor, and to make things more complicated, she's had lymphedema in her legs since childhood. She's super-slow, but she doesn't care.

Last-minute instructions from Jeff, and we're off. We run the course on the sidewalk (obviously,) but we were a little cavalier about traffic, I'd say. We passed MSKCC almost immediately, and I got a chill thinking about passing the hospital during the marathon. I was with a bunch of first-timers, and I was pointing out a couple of things to them. It's funny how I run this route only twice a year, and yet I remember exactly where to go. To be honest, it's not complicated, but it does get a little twisty in the Bronx. The whole run felt pretty good. I stayed off the sidewalk once we got to the cobblestone part of 5th Ave, and that helped a lot.

So we're on the last 400 or so yards, and up ahead, we see a real finish line, with balloons and a clock. I don't wear my glasses when I run, so I can't read too well, but I could just make out the words "Cancer Research." And I thought, wow, India (Fred's Team coordinator) really went all out for us, but really, all this fuss for a ten-miler? Turns out, we were running into the front end of the yearly Terry Fox 5K Run for Cancer Research. Very cool, and to make it better, all their proceeds from their NY race benefit MSKCC!! Some folks were running longer. I ran an extra 2 with Teammate Ernie, who didn't realize she was supposed to leave the Park at 69th Street, so I ran the lower loop with her with the marathon exit. Of course I felt guilty for not running more. Oh, well. By the time we got back, they were starting the Terry Fox Run, so we stuck around for that (some folks ran it) and also to cheer on Arlene, who had not yet arrived. The NBC camera crew was there and everything. So we're watching the course, and cheering on the runners, and somehow Arlene managed to slip in behind us and was hanging out talking with some of the other Teammates. She had to go around and pretend to finish so the cameras could catch it! It was pretty funny.

Today was the Poland Spring Marathon Kickoff, a 5-miler that kicks off, well, marathon week. The plan was to take it slow. I wasn't out to prove anything. However, I still had last year's run in my mind, because I remember how good I felt running it. We were all wearing our Bakst Brothers t-shirts, celebrating Rich and Harrie Bakst and Harrie's amazing story. For Harrie, I will run in a cotton shirt!

I lined up in the corral. I was by myself, no Teammates, but that was okay, I don't like running with other people. Well, I do like running with other people, but I'm not a talker or anything. I prefer to listen to my music or be in my own head. But I confess I was a little lonely. The race begins and we're off. Mile 1 - 9:03. Alls well.

I see Rich, Harrie and Lynn up ahead. They're not that far away, but I'm not going to push to catch them at this stage of the race. Mile 2 - 8:25.

Heading up the East Side, and I realize that I'm right behind them. I tag Harrie and tell him I'm his bodyguard, to keep his fans away. There's another Teammate with us to our right, don't know her name, but she's blond, with a ponytail, and wearing a black headband. I mention this because a few minutes later another blond Teammate with a ponytail and a black headband flanks us to our left. Bookends! It was cool! Mile 3 - 8:31.

I kept up pretty well with the bunch, even though they're normally a little faster than me. Well, Rich and Lynn are much faster, but they're holding back. Harrie's been injured a lot these past few months, but at the final ten-miler he smoked me. So I'm feeling pretty good. Mile 4 - 8:18.

Harrie, Rich and Lynn pull over for water, and I keep going, along with the other Teammate. I say to her, "They're faster than me, I know they'll catch up." Bonus -- seeing Teammate Abby cheering us on! She suffered a stress fracture in her hip, so no marathon for her this year. It was so good to see her! We get to the turn around the East Side, and are passed by coach Jeff. The other girl turns to me and says, "Here they come," and indeed, Rich, Harrie and Lynn come roaring past with about 400 yards to go. Oh, man! So I pick up the pace and charge up that final hill to keep up with them. I really pushed it. I was thinking -- I remember last year the last mile was under 8:00. As I passed the finish line, I looked down.


For a grand total of 42:19.

Am I ready for the marathon?

After the race we went to City Grill for our annual Team brunch. It was great. You can check out the photos from the race and brunch on my Facebook site!

PS: if you're in Long Island City, you'll see my nieces wearing these hats that I made them, being modeled here by my cat, Spot.

1 comment:

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