Hey All, it's Sunday night!
Today, I had pretty good race. Ran in the 18-Mile Tune-Up at Central Park, and wasn't sure how I'd do. Last week I tried to do 16 miles on my own crossing the Queensborough Bridge and back, but good old MapMyRun just wasn't cooperating that day. Got a big fat "Auto-Pause" instead of an accurate tracking, so I couldn't really gauge how I did.
Today, however, felt different. This was three loops of the big 6-mile loop of Central Park, including Harlem Hill! I tried to start out slow and relaxed, but I fell in with a chatty bunch, including a pace group leader for other races who had a million stories to tell, and wound up doing a 9-minute pace along with them. I worried whether I was wasting what I'd need for the end, and then took a mint chocolate chip Gu with a Powerade chaser as I began the second loop at Mile 6. That sent a few bursts of energy through me, and I found myself coming close to 8-minute splits. After a while, I just dialed in that pace and stayed with it as long as I could, although that second Gu at Mile 12 didn't hurt matters. Towards the end, I felt myself slowing a tiny bit, but I reminded myself that the finish line was near. Right on cue, I came within range of the PA system, reminding the runners still competing to stay in the rec lanes on the left side of the road and leave the rest of the park to everyone else. Lady, you can remind us all you want, I'm coming in for the home stretch! So as soon as I saw the turn on the 102nd Street transverse, I booked it!
Met up with that chatty bunch later, and we compared "gun times," and extrapolated them to likely marathon times. Mine was 2:34, and I was pretty happy with that, but I wanted to wait until the "chip time" was available before logging it with good old MapMyRun. After I did, and posted it on Facebook, I got a lot of likes and comments that made me smile! :)
I'd like to thank everybody for the congrats and accolades, but this isn't the end by any means. The first Sunday in November, I've gotta stare down 26.2 miles on a journey through the Five Boroughs of NYC. So in between then and now, I've gotta do at least one 20-miler on my own, and then taper down. I'll keep you all posted, of course.
But it's not all about me, you understand. Another triumph today was that of a good friend of mine who competed in a duathlon outside Buffalo, and placed second in her age group! As a prize, she was awarded a snazzy-jazzy plate specifically designated for second place in her age group, and a free jar of peanut butter, LOL! I still think they should switch to Nutella, but that's just me. :)
Either way you slice it, this really is a good way to start the New Year that many of my tribespeople are celebrating. I've talked a little bit about new beginnings, about starting classes at a metaphorical new school, and making changes in life. This race was one good way to get a jump-start on that, as I needed a little boost of confidence to get started on all of those things. I hope to ride these new changes all the way to Marathon Sunday and beyond, and in other senses besides running. This year I'm also going to be re-kindling old friendships, making new ones, and making vast improvements and overhauls to this part-time hobby I call my blog. To the extent I can't see what can be done to make it better now, I plan to enlist expert opinions of those who know how to make these things successes, and continue to make great connections and spread a little extra confidence, self-esteem, and good old-fashioned happiness to all who read it.
Back to work tomorrow, peeps! Monday awaits . . . . :)