If you had a choice between beer and sangria on a balcony versus a possible PR at a not-so-important 4M race the next day, which would you choose? Yeah, it was a no-brainer for me as well. So, it should come as no surprise to anyone that today’s Mother’s Day race wouldn’t be so stellar for me. Yet, despite breaking my pre-race abstinence rule the day before, forgetting to hydrate or eat afterwards, getting home past midnight, and rushing to the start with just an orange for breakfast, I STILL thought a PR could be possible. What can I say? I’m stubborn that way.
The astute among you should have realized by now that I’ve been racing somewhat frequently this past month. Given that I have not yet fully recovered from my crash and burn at the Boston Marathon three weeks ago, ran a half-marathon PR at Long Branch last week, and is now running this four-miler on Mother’s Day, that’s a whole lot of racing going on. I know practically, I should be resting this week in preparation for the bigger race, the Healthy Kidney 10K, happening next weekend, but realistically I just had to enter and run this race because the sponsor is R Baby and all proceeds go toward improving the quality of care of babies in emergency rooms all over the city. I have both worked and consulted on cases of babies being mishandled and misdiagnosed in emergency rooms because of lack of appropriate staffing and supervision and so the cause was near and dear to my heart. Because of that, I had to run this race no matter how inconvenient it might have be to the rest of my running schedule.
With that background, I arrived at the start with some angst and trepidation. The weather was perfect for running this morning-58 degrees with sunny skies and a cool westerly breeze. I met many of my friends (some who’ve never run a race before) at the entrance to the start, congratulated everyone for running, and situated myself in the front of the corrals.
By the time the squealing horn signaled the start of the race, I found myself somewhat boxed in on the side of the road. I waited for an opening to pass but never got a chance until we reached Cat Hill. I managed to find my pace somewhere during the climb, but my effort was somewhat harder than I expected. After cresting the hill, I eased my breathing through the net downhill second mile. Although my pace was somewhat better in this stretch, I still struggled to synchronous my breathing to my turnover. This was somewhat frustrating since I’m usually at my peak by the start of the second mile. Instead, here, with the tough hilly Mile 3 up ahead, I knew I was in trouble. I made the turn at the 102nd street Transverse knowing I was on PR pace but fading fast. I made it through the third mile as best I could, but never found the right breathing rhythm or the power to drive the hills that I’m accustomed to. As a result, I ran a very slow 3rd mile and by the end, knew a PR would not be in the works for me that day. I ran mile 4 in a semi-daze, feeling as if I had no energy to push. My legs were sore, perhaps as the aftermath of the 20+ miles I had ran Thursday and Friday, and just not responding to my commands to speed up. I could also still feel some mild tightness in my right hamstring which affected my stride. In the end, I sort of stumbled through the finish line rather than race through like I always imagined I would. The final time was 24:45, about 7 seconds slower than my PR. I’m slightly peeved, but knew I made many mistakes in the past 24 hours that affected my performance.
Oh well. Sometimes you have to allow yourself to live a little and not be a P.R. hog in EVERY race. I’ll do things right this week and prepare for a better performance in a more important race next Saturday.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mom’s out there. Soak in this beautiful day for all it’s worth.
Mile 1: 6:10
Mile 2: 6:05
Mile 3: 6:22
Mile 4: 6:08
Finishing Time - 24:45
Average Pace - 6:11
Overall Place - 33/4635
Age Group Place - 9
Age-Graded % - 68.8%