Monday, October 02, 2006

Queen Grete's Great Gallop

To be transported in total darkness on a Shortline bus from a sleepy commuter town into the pulsing heart of NYC at 6 am.. Is a great way to wake up on a Sunday morning. I was really excited and thankful to be able to compete in today's 1/2 marathon. I had a year plagued with stop and go training due to a recurring muscle injury, and to wake up race morning feeling healthy and ready to test my stuff was really a great feeling. I arrived in Central park with that same thought I always have before a Central Park race.. What the hell is a transverse and will I know if I'm on one?? The park is a city in itself, taking up 6 miles of city space, closed to most vehicular traffic on the weekends.. And just my favourite part of the city.. So the only person I remember talking to before the race was Ginette Bedard, a 73 year old runner who beats most people in races a quarter her age.. She was exiting a port-o-potty (a runner's favourite pre-race hang-out.. 1. because it's warmer and 2. because that way you don't have to wait on a long line for one!) so I did what any normal person would do, went right over to introduce myself to her and see what her gameplan was for today's race.. She said something about wanting the whole thing to be over already, and I really couldn't blame her.. It was starting to rain pretty hard, and the race hadn't even started.. I made my way to the starting area (with over 4,000 runners today, getting there early made a lot of sense).. And then the sky just opened up.. I stood under a tree watching the poor suckers standing on the starting line getting totally drenched.. Then I sprinted to join them before I missed the start myself.. I cramped in near the front.. There was a small group from team Los Compadres that were hovering under a piece of plastic for cover, and they invited me to join them.. So I did.. It was so cute, I was kind of hoping we could all run this race huddled as this little unit, and each share the responsibility of finishing the race with a good time.. Ah, that would never work.. Racing is such an independent sport, each runner has to constantly monitor his own stress level to make sure he's pushing just enough.. For me for that day and that point in my training, I planned ahead of time that pace would be a 7:15 minute per mile .. Off we went.. I felt good and ready for this race.. I was ticking off the first three miles all close to my goal pace.. Then I saw Wanda, another master's woman from my team.. She was ahead of me.. I figured she was starting too fast, because I always beat her in races.. I saw a couple of guys w black t-shirts on with big 'H's' on the back, NY Harriers.. I had talked to one at the start of the race, he says he hasn't raced since Brooklyn back in March.. You could have fooled me I thought.. Every down hill I passed them and every up hill he passed me.. We talked a little.. I was surprised how comfortable I felt, nothing like last year at this race.. More than 1/2 way into the race Wanda passd me again! I was really surprised, and considered chasing her, but I felt now I was really running right at the threshhold point of my stress level.. I checked my watch, and knew I could maintain this pace to keep my goal.. I got to the 12th mile and realized that I had to really pick up the pace if I wanted to break 1:35.. I ran very strong and did my fastest mile with a 6:58.. Still didn't break 1:35.. Ran 1:35:03.. Had the chip time been displayed at the end and not the gun time, I would've seen that a bigger effort was needed, and I would have broken 1:35.. No matter.. I was thrilled that I did end up averaging 7:15 per mile! There's nothing more satisfying than training hard for months and months, having patience through the injury healing process, and then achieving your goals.. I really like that race, it's so well organized, and it's in honour of Grete Waitz, who won the NYC marathon a record 9 times.. She was at the post-race ceremony, looking fit enough to win the race again, and telling us not to blame Norway for our terrible weather today.. Typical Libra, wanting to be in everyone's good graces.. Of course, if a city names a race and a festival after you, I guess you can assume they approve of you.. I felt content enough to not even think about any desire to have a race named after me..

14 comments:

Morrissey said...

1:35:03 that is an awesome time! Congrats!

Morrissey said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
tamar said...

morrissey~ thanks! I just checked out your stats, your pr's are all better than mine, so you're no slouch yourself!Did you have fun running in the rain?

Myrsurv said...

well, I am impressed with your times but I am more impressed by the fact that you actually "talked" while you were running!!! Nice of you to catch Ginette while she exited the port-o-potty and not before...those are the moments we don't like to be interrupted at.

Kevin said...

Tamar: Great write up on the 1/2 marathon. I enjoy hearing about other peoples races. I had the exact same time in the Red Baron 1/2 in Corning in 2001 and didn't think twice about not breaking 1:35. I was more concerned that I was fading after mile 10, I was running on fumes. Many people don't train for a 1/2 marathon so they're running on empty when they finish. Keep the stories coming.

tamar said...

myrsurv~ yeah, you caught that right, I TALKED in a race!! What's happening to me, I'm changing my MO?? And celebrity stalking is a delicate art.. Always better to catch them exiting the port-o-potties..

kevin~ thanks, I'm glad you liked my tale! I love reading about other people's races too, especially if I've run the course myself.. That's cool that you had that exact time at a 1/2 marathon.. I usually hit the wall in a 1/2 at mile 7, for some reason.. I have a tip to share: Take a gu 15 minutes before the race w water, and you'll just need sips of water/gatorade during the race, and your energy should last til the end.. It worked for me..

Kevin said...

Tamar: Did Steamtown on Sunday and followed your advise. Took a 1/2 power bar and jelly beans along with Gatorade mix before the race. Had Goo, Gatorade mix and jelly beans on the course which kept me well enegergized. Finished just under 3:58, a little off the goal time of 3:50, but a little better than the mid race adjusted goal of 4:00. Had discomfort behind my right knee since Tuesday which became problematic in the 2nd half. Couldn't push off my right leg the way I wanted to. Other than slowing down, I was very strong at the end.

~Deb said...

You had me at warm porta' potty. Congrats girl! One day, I'll see you in the paper being the fastest female runner!!! I know I will.

tamar said...

kevin~ congratulations on your marathon! Under 4 hours, that's great! And you held it together despite leg issues.. I've learned to have several goals for a race (courtesy of my Coach Bob G.) from a lofty one to the last acceptable resort.. Like a range of goals, that way you don't beat yourself up if you're off by a few minutes of the ideal goal.. Let's see if I take this advise myself after NY!

deb~ oh right, like you'd ever go NEAR a steamy port-o-potty.. +crickets+.. how are you toots? Hope all's great with you xx

~Deb said...

A steamy porta-potty-----

SEE DEB RUN !!! FASTER THAN YOU!


Hiya tootz! I miss you! Got your message yesterday on your aspect break. (haha)

Jon said...

That kind of time in a solid rain? OK, I'm totally intimidated

tamar said...

deb~ I don't know that I've ever seen you in sneakers?
Hey you're overdue for a 'meet and greet' to discuss your phone bill.. Or any other topic you'd like.. How's it going?

jon~ I didn't recognize you with your hannibal look! Maybe I should wear that mask in my next race to get folks to stop talking to me..
Thanks Jon, yes.. It was raining too! I appreciate you appreciating the pile up of adversaties..

~Deb said...

Yes you have---when you visited me at the gym...I was wearing...oh...wait, I was wearing my three inch wedged sandals on the treadmill, wasn't I? Hmm. That's why my back hurts.

tamar said...

deb~ hey, if my feet looked like yours, I'd wear those fancy, open-toed ('new-fangled') shoes too! What in da'devil?