Monday, March 22, 2010

Another Shamrock Shuffle 8k Race Report

This report starts off on Saturday morning. I wake up to snow and freezing rain. By midday it’s starting to look like a blizzard and there seem to be no signs of stopping. I tell my friends that if this keeps up I may not race tomorrow. I don't mind being cold and miserable but I'm not going to run in slush because that's what got me injured last year.

Fast forward to a cloudy Sunday morning. No snow/slush accumulation on the ground and barely any rain! Woohoo!! It's on!! I downed a banana, did a series of dynamic stretches, drank some water and took a long, hot shower. By the time I was all done my muscles were nice and supple. My legs felt a bit off for some reason, but I wasn’t concerned- I was sure I'd get them back by racetime. I met up with Chris at the train and had a Gu on the way down, spilling a bunch on my jacket (dammit!).

We got to our corral with about 15 minutes to spare. Even though it was a bit chilly, our jog from the Redline warmed me up a bit. I was starting to feel pretty good. The roads weren't that slippery and the wind wasn't bad at all.

The gun went off and about 30 seconds later, we passed the starting mat. The race was on! The crowd started off at a decent pace. My plan was to go right under the pain threshold until the last half a mile. This pace happened to be just slightly faster than the group around us, but not by much. I didn't have to do much weaving, but I was slowly passing people. As I hit the first mile mark I looked down at my watch. 6:34. Perfect. Then I hear a voice to my side "What’s the time??". I turn around and was surprised to see Chris. I'll be honest, I didn't think he was up for this pace. I yell back "six thirty!!!"

From then on, I would notice Chris popping up on my shoulder ever so often. Unlike the 5k race in 2007, I didn't surge or try to drop him :) The plan here was to keep an even pace until the end. I felt that I had the right pace locked down from the start and any deviation (i.e. going faster) would result in me blowing up before the finish.

Mile Two: 13:20... did quick math in my head... around 6:40. Cool beans. I missed mile three, but caught the 5k mark- about 20:30. My previous 5k PR was 20:38, so I was pleased to see that I beat that time as a split in my 8k run. The next milestone for me was the 4 mile mark. I know that the Sports Bistro guys in New York have done a lot of 4 mile races, so I wanted to see how my time compared. Last year Mike had a statement 4 miler - 26:46. That was the number I had in mind as I approached the 4 mile mark. I hit it on 26:28. Take that, Mike! :)

I was starting to feel good with less than a mile to go. I had broken my 5k PR and the Sports Bistro NYC 4-mile PR with just splits in this race, the only thing left to do was hold Chris off.

Heading into the last mile, I had no idea where Chris was but I had the feeling that he was probably still stalking me (what a creep). I saved up my energy for the Roosevelt bridge and managed to storm past a bunch of people on the uphill run. At that point my legs were starting to burn. I turned into the final straightaway and I see 32:14 on my watch. I had a shot at breaking 33 minutes!! I put on the nitro, pushed down the bile, locked away the pain and went for it.

A painful 40 seconds later I crossed the finishing mat in 32:54. A 1 min 45 second PR for the 8k (34:39 was my old PR).

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