Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Race Report from the Scotland 10K Run
Part II – The Finish and The After-Math

After winning the Battle At Harlem Hill, I relaxed a bit, knowing that the worse part of the race was behind me. I pushed the pace back up to a fast but comfortable level. There were definitely people who did not survive Harlem Hill as well as I, because the general pace of the runners around me slowed down by quite I bit. As I passed them by one-by-one, I imagined how I used to be so much like them last year.

Mile 5 was essentially one fast flat track, followed by a long descent down Cat Hill. I love running this mile because it allows you to gain tremendous speed heading towards the finish. As I ran down this time, I succinctly remember not even caring what my pace was or who was around me, but rather being thankful that I was running and racing again. Still, I was pretty psyched that the mile 5 marker passed by at 6:26. I felt so great at that point that I felt I could’ve kept that pace for another loop around the park.

The finishing drive wasn’t as eventful as it could’ve been. Partly, it was because I was still enjoying the pure exhiliaration of running fast, partly it was because I was somewhat tired by this point and didn’t really feel like spending the extra energy required to shave a few seconds. After all, I did run a 6:52 back in the first mile, so what’s it matter if I ran a 6:20 or 6:30 now? But while I was having this internal monologue, I saw a few runners who I had passed at miles 4 and 5 quietly slip by in front of me. I was slightly annoyed at their intrusion of my rightful place in the standings, and was eventually forced to pick up the pace for the final finish. I eventually crossed the finish time at a cool 40:27.

After walking off the initial exhaustion, I grabbed my stuff from baggage claim and headed over to a park bench to put on some clothes. (For some reason, I felt so much colder after the race than I did before, even though the sun was out and it was obviously a few degrees warmer…weird!) In between this impromptu dressing change, I took my glance at my Garmin and saw that I had registered 6:27 min/mile pace. I was initially happy because although I didn’t remember my exact 10K PR, I knew it was somewhere in the 6:31-6:35 min/mile range. Really?? I PR’d. But then I realized that Garmin had me running 6.33 miles instead of the 6.2 and so I was not so happy. I then proceeded to spend the next ten minutes trying to figure out what 6:30 min/mile pace for a 10K would be. That turned out not to be such a smart move (well, I guess if I was smart I would’ve figured out the answer already…) because it gave me the biggest headache like you wouldn’t believe. I finally had to ditch the effort when I realized that even though I took Advanced Multivariate Calculus in college, my brain was not in the mood to do simple arithmetic while hypoxic and hypoglycemic.

After a quick stretch, I grabbed an apple and a bagel from the refreshment table and walked back over to the finish line to watch and cheer some of the other runners cross the finish line. It was fun to see all the different facial expressions people make while gunning for the finish. (I believe I’ve already touched on this topic previously, so I’ll spare you the commentary here.) Still, I felt especially sorry for a middle-aged runner who stopped and vomited twice in the last 100 meters or so before the finish. It took me back to my first race ever back in 2005 in this same park where I did the exact same thing. Definitely not pretty. I waited around the finish area, enjoying the sounds of the Red Hot Chilly Pipers and all the people dressed in Scottish colors until they were ready to announce the award winners and hold the raffle. Unfortunately, I didn’t win either and had to endure the 20 minute walk back to my humble abode in the cold without the warmth of a ribbon around my neck.

By the time I reached my apartment on the Upper East Side, I still hadn’t figured out what my pace was, and more importantly, whether I had PR’d or not. A few simple clicks on the PC later, I had my answer.

3/30/08 Scotland Run 10K Time - 40:27; Pace - 6:31
5/20/06 Healthy Kidney 10K Time - 40:34; Pace – 6:32 (Previous PR)

I proceeded to spend the rest of the afternoon, being completely exhilarated that I PR’d, yet also being completely dumbfounded as to how I had done it. Did this really happen? Did I really PR in my first race back…at a distance that I run 10 times before? How did I PR after running the worst first mile I’ve ever run in a road race? To be honest, I’ve had two days to think about it, and I still have no clue how to explain it to myself. This is scary!

Final Race Statistics

Overall Place: 204/6928 (2.9%)
Gender Place: 191/3644 (5.2%)
Age Place: 76/2639 (2.9%)


Run For Life said...

Congrats!!! I like how detailed your race reports are. I have several theories:

A. Perhaps those Scottish running gods are real.
B. Or it could be that due to the aforementioned shizophrenia you weren't able to reach potential and now that your body has rested it's kicking things into high gear.
C. Or maybe placing so many expectations on yourself before a race actually does some reverse psychology on your legs.

Ok...so I like making up theories and I'm getting carried away so I'll stop.

Just make sure to buy "running" some chocolate Gu when that time of the month is coming so "she" won't get so fickle on you once more.

Joking aside, congratulations once again! Looks like you're headed for a great year despite the injury. :)

running private said...

Nice to get back on the horse again, isn't it? Even nicer when you get a PR! Congrats on that - looks like the break from running did you a lot of good.

Non-Runner Nancy said...

Wow, that's fantastic. The rest did you good. It's funny about the math, in my 10k this weekend, Art and I were discussing whether or not we could do math while running. I actually had a math scholarship (that I declined) and consider myself decent, but don't ask me to do any math while running. I don't think I can hit on all the right cylinders while running or something... Art actually likes to do it to occupy his mind.

At any rate, I'm really glad you had a great first race back and really glad you get another shot at a virtual race too!! :D

Irish Cream said...

YES!!! Lam! That's so exciting! Congrats on the PR :) Loved your race report . . . hahaha, "After-Math!" Hilarious!

Chris said...

Nice race report. Congrats on the PR. For me, starting slow always seems to pay off in the end.

Red Hot Chili Pipers... love it

Jamie said...

Dude you rock! Congrats. I had to laugh at your math comment as I can't do math when running either.

Nibbles said...

What a great race and time! Congrats! I was signed up but super sick with a chest cold. Thanks for letting me have a piece of the excitement!

Nitmos said...

Excellent job. Why worry about the 'how' and enjoy the PR? Chalk it up to it being a great day. And maybe you are in better condition than you thought.

Christine said...

did you have wings on? did your drink rocket fuel? are you secretly kenyan? whats the trick man? And I love how the math while brain was "hypoxic" and "hypoglycemic" made your head hurt. Too funny. I've been experiencing syncope lately in the OR and blame it on the fact that my too large of a brain is demanding too much 02. haha.

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