Sunday, April 10, 2011

RR: Ship Bottom 5k and Cherry Blossom 10k

This was a nice weekend of racing.

Ship Bottom Sprint for Life 5k. April 9, 2011
I started off by participating in the Ship Bottom Sprint for Life 5k on LBI in New Jersey.  It was a very well organized event. Although I haven't feel very speedy or strong lately (since starting that new medicine I have felt terrible), I was compelled race it since it is a fund-raiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

I can't resist lining up towards the front.  I was right behind a row of teeny-tiny teenage girls who I hoped would race like most kids, by sprinting as fast as possible once the gun is fired until they realize they are really tired by a .25 miles.  This did not happen.  I was securely boxed in for the first quarter mile until I found a hole.  I took my line and dropped the pace, somewhat too aggressively... oops.

The course zig-zagged through a little neighborhood for just about half the race.  We hit a turn-around and then made our way out to the final mile long straight-away, down two-lane very head-windy highway.   This was a nice flat course, but the wind made it a bit tiring at the end.

I was pacing off a guy ahead of me with a really fantastic T-shirt. It said "Run Tall, Run Easy".  I kept trying to get tall, but at 5' 1 3/4's nature is not on my side.   I decided to focus on the Run Easy part.  I can honestly say that I felt like I was running "smoothly", but not necessarily "easy".  I felt great.  I hit mile 1 in 6:32.

However, it was at that point I regretted forgetting, for the first time ever, my inhaler in my car.  From there onward, my pace slowed and my chest felt tight.  With each mile, I felt more discouraged.  No PR today as I watched my watch read 7:12, 7:28 for the last two miles.

I finished the race in 21:40.  Because I wore my TNT shirt and this was a fund-raiser for LLS, there was a lot of cheering "Go Team!" as I tried to not die of oxygen debt on the way in.  Although it hurt, I was happy to have secured 4th place overall female finish.  I am eternally grateful for the guy who finished slightly before me who turned to ask if I take Albueterol for my asthma and he gave me his inhaler to help me regain my lung capacity.   Normally I dont take drugs from people on the street, but in this case it was so appreciated!

Cherry Blossom 10k, April 10, 2011
Today I was admittedly a little nervous about this morning's 10k.  800 runners lined up in Branch Brook Park for the Cherry Blossom Festival race.  I took a spot 3 rows back with inhaler in hand.

I felt so much pain at the end of yesterday's 5k, finishing with a 7:28 3rd mile that I had low expectations for what would happen at miles 4,5, and 6.2 of today's 10k.  Ideally a 6:59 paced 5k should predict a 7:15 paced 10k, but this race was hillier than the 5k and I was more tired today than yesterday.   A 7:15 pace would be a great accomplishment right now for me.

I decided to make this event an exercise in self-control and do what I could to stay at 7:15 pace.  First mile: 7:14 (excellent)...  I was so thrilled to run a perfectly paced first mile, that I let the second one get away from me... 7:03.  This just wrecked me on mile 3, where the final uphill section took up most of the second half of that mile.  7:40! Oh man.

Here I caught up to Ross, who I met exactly this race at this same place, as he caught me and dubbed me with my new nickname "Asthma", since I was suffering then badly.  Today saw me approach, said "Hey! It's Asthma! You sound good!"  (Apparently that inhaler does do something!).

Because I knew we had some downhills after the uphill mile 3, I decided to challenge myself to a negative split by slowly creeping my pace back down...
7:23 for mile 4 beats mile 3 so that's a good start.
7:17 for mile 5 got me close enough to my mile 1 (7:14), so all I needed was a strong finish.

I hitched a ride on the mojo of two dudes who were cruising well and got a burst of inspiration when a woman called out "10th female".  Awesome!  At this point, I broke a rule and glanced back to see if I was at risk of losing my 10th place finish.

Ha! I was surprised to see a chick I met at this very race two year ago, as well, running with Ross.  I heard him say some words of encouragement to her.  I met here at the end of this race, when I was able to drop a speedy kick and pass her just before the finish.   All I could think was, "Man! She is going to pay me back and steal my 10th place finish right out from under me."   So I drop the pace to add some distance.

Mile 6 was 7:07, slower than my 7:03 mile 2.   I was hauling anyway, b/c now getting passed was my most pressing concern.  Last .2 was 1:23, which is a sub-7 pace and the fastest running of the race.  I finished in 45:09 and secured 10th place female overall, 4th in my 10 year AG.

Now off to get some mileage with Enzo, and prepare for my new interview with the pediatric oncology unit.

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