Interesting Race

Posted by on March 1, 2008 in Racing

Did an interesting race tonight. My swim coach told me that a bunch of my tri-buddies from L.I. would be doing this midnight 5k race at Republic Airport on 2/29. I had already scheduled a few things that would keep me on the island most of the day (note: Brian lives in Woodbury where I sometimes crash) and decided that I’d do the race. This was literally a day-of decision.

Some facts:

– Had knee surgery 8 weeks ago yesterday; have run on the treadmill 4 times and outside once (which was for 6 miles) over the course of the last two weeks. The last time I ran before was the NYC Marathon on November 4th.
– I only slept 4 hours last night because I had to get to JFK by 6 a.m.
– At 11:30 p.m., only 29 minutes before the race start, it was super windy (flags were full tilt and flapping like crazy) and in using the parking lot lights, you could see major squalls of intermittent rain and snow. Did I mention cold?

Before the race, I sat in my car and wasn’t social, preferring to just chill and listen to tunes in my own private idaho despite what sounded like a rager outside. About 10 minutes before the race start, I joined the crowd, chatted with a few familiar faces, and put on a game face in a sea of nervous faces. The group was finally herded outside where we were led onto the airport tarmac in the middle of what felt like an arctic monsoon (they don’t exist except at that very moment). You had to jump in place just to make yourself forget that every second of being there was torture. Yoga breathing saved me today. Tensed up the body to slowly (and loudly) exhale which helped to expand the muscles a bit given the frigid outside temp. As a result, I didn’t shiver at all. We finally got instructions from the race director, then he got into his car to signal the start of the race… with his car horn.

The course took us across some huge plane parking lot to an actual runway where we had seen a plane land just 5 minutes before race start. Going south was directly into the wind. You had to literally lean into each stride. I was fortunate to wear a run cap with a beak and since I was already looking down more than usual to help judge the road contour in that pitch black, my eyes in large part were protected from the elements. Think about how much energy goes into squinting and cringing your face. When we were with the wind, I felt like a Kenyan. This was a great opportunity for me to get into a good rhythm and really gauge the knee’s recovery. After a really crazy circuitous route, my prediction or hope of doing it in 25 minutes (with an outside margin of 26 minutes) based solely what I felt like on those five runs was decimated. 23:24, a 7:33 pace. I was 37th out of 266, 4th in my age group, and top 14% overall.

In running, the margins to improve are very very small, so to best the 25 minute mark by over 90 seconds is a big deal to me. Naturally, I’m ecstatic about this. I think that I had a good time because I must be better in bad elements than a lot of people out there; suffering must come easy to me?! Except for the first burst out of the start line, and after the lead pack had been established, every single person who passed me was passed by me in the last 1.25 miles. I was amazed to be running at full capacity and in control in the final mile. I can count on one hand the number of times in my running/triathlon career when this has happened.

My heart rate monitor watch died on me earlier this week, so I had no information this race about heart rates, zones, recovery, or any of the nerd stuff I like to know. Besides time, if the only other variable is to just to scale how I feel about it, it would be about 9.

The best part about this is what it suggests about my season.

Write a Comment on Interesting Race


Follow comments by subscribing to the Interesting Race Comments RSS feed.


Read more posts by