Sunday, June 1, 2014

Stomp the Monster 5k, USATF Open Women Championship, Marlboro NJ. 6/1

Stomp the Monster is quite an event.  The organizers did a really good job putting on a 1200+ person 5k and Festival to raise a ton of money to help cancer survivors.  

Their mission statement: "STOMP The Monster™ provides financial and other support to cancer patients, their families, and caregivers when they need it most – during their fight with the disease.  We promote a healthy lifestyle with proper diet and exercise, leading by example, and provide funding for potential advances in prevention and treatment."  Here the story behind the race. Please read it if you can.  In short, it is about the inspiration for this event, Seth Grumet, and his fight and ultimate survivorship.  

Due to my involvement since 2010 as a Coach or Captain with Team in Training (a group of marathon or half runners, as well as Triathletes, Cyclist, etc, who raise money for cancer research in exchange for coaching and race day assistance), I got to see a lot of familiar faces and people I have not seen for a while.  It was so nice to see Janet and Jacqui briefly before the start.  Janet and Janet are closely connected to the cause and Jacqui did a lot of work for Smiles for Shira and inspired massive amounts people to register their bone marrow swabs in order to become a match for those in need.  Many many lives were saved as a result.  Please read that too and get swabbed if you are eligible.  As a cancer survivor myself, I am not swappable, but Sidney is and he did it.  To be able to save a life of a person in desperate need and running out of hope is truly a miracle. 

I also saw Bobby who I have not run with since he kicked my butt at the Manasquan Reservoir by agreeing to meet me for a few miles and then telling me once we got there that he needed 15 at sub-8 pace… holy crap.  :) I hung for 10 and retreated to my car, mumbling something about having to get home.  Boy was that an awesome workout.  Especially since I had not seen Bobby for about a year when he was running in the 9 minute range.  People who work really hard seem to find a way to get in phenomenal shape fast.  Bobby is now an Ironman. He too has a close connection to this cause. 

I ran into Bill and Joy, as well, who were a big part of the TNT group for a while but we lost them to Triathlons.  I blame Stella and her crazy wigs and tutus for this.  I tried to lure Bill back into marathoning with promises of a fast course in his future, but I can tell he is gone. :) 

In addition to all those I seem to have connected to my life as a survivor, this race was also a USATF Championship race for Open Women.  This means the USATF-NJ Race teams were sending their fastest ladies and the smart men, like Martin, who want to snag as many points as possible in this large 700pt race were there.  I spent at lot of time after the race "warming down" with Bill and Bob. :) Can someone please send me a link to a Runner's Lexicon for Bill.  He needs a lot of help, but we can start with just that for now :) 

The race started at 10:30.  This was my only complaint.  10:30 is like mid-day for me.  I am usually done running with Enzo by 8:00 am now and we are doing 8-9 a day at parks about 30 minutes from my house.  It was so nice and cool this morning, but by 10:30am it was getting warm, I will guess high 60's at least.  The humidity was lower than last weekend so that was great.  I was hoping to run faster than my 5k at Ridgewood since that was just a suffer-fest for me.

I line up towards the front, since net time matters in the Grand Prix Series.  I find Karl, which is easy since he is like 7 feet tall and wears orange. He has been racing incredibly well this year and I was hoping to usurp some of his energy without him knowing. (Karl those racing flats I mentioned were the ST 5 Racers). 

The Gun goes off and for the next 20 minutes I got to watch Karl fade off into the distance and there was nothing I could do to stop this. I then notice someone running near me, calling out how long we have been running to her running partner.. 1:15, 1:18, 1:20… omg, I wonder if she did that the entire way? It was also at about 1:20 that I noticed my breathing was starting to labor to much so I reigned it back and tried to settle down to a pace I felt I could sustain.  I was left to ponder how I have about 18-20 more minutes of this to go. I couldn't figure out if I thought that was good or bad.  I tried to ignore my watch until I hit Mile 1.  M1 6:22. (not bad, still a shot at sub-20)

I felt challenged but not as if I was digging for anything too hard at this time. I also felt that in another race, where my heart was ready to PR, I had some wiggle room here to work with.  But for today, I just wanted to be able to have a decent final mile.  Again I did not look at my watch. Rather, I watched the runners around me and paid attention to how fast I was moving in comparison to those nearby.  If I was gradually passing people I was doing ok.  I was passing some, but a few were passing me, including the guy who was making dry heaving noises and I was almost 100% certain he was going to vomit all over me if I did not give him room.  If there was ever a reason to NOT run the tangent, boy was this it.  M2 6:39 (I knew sub-20 would be unlikely)

I felt good, like I could hold this pace and be low 20's.  I hoped to be able to find a kick somewhere.  I could no longer plan to steal Karl's since he was probably done by now.  Unless I felt a waive of adrenaline I knew breaking 20 was unlikely to happen so now I just wanted to sit and wait to feel inspired to shift gears.  And then we hit a little uphill.  Bummer.  It made me tired, but I knew it was setting us up for a fast finish. What I lost being a wimp on the incline I regained on the decline.  But there were 2 ladies just in front of me which meant I had some decisions to make.  I started a discussion with myself on whether it was possible to pass them before the end. M3 6:37

With a tenth left to go, and my mind still observing the passionate debate between my heart and my legs, I noticed that the finish line was getting close and I had to make a decision before time did that for me. "Can I kick? Do I even have anything left? Is there even enough time to pass them if I try?  Does it matter if I pass them or not?  How much is this going to hurt?…. Oh screw it… Just shut up and Kick!"   So in the last 20 seconds or less, I ran as fast as I possibly could.  Spectators yelled to the women ahead "Run! Don't let her catch you!" (Hey what happened to cheering for the underdog! Whose side are you on? ;) )  This, honestly, just made me HAVE to catch them.  I had just enough time for one more gear, and I passed the 2 ahead of me just before we entered the shoot.  Had I hesitated more, I would have run out of road.  Had I gone sooner, they may have had time to respond… so it was the best timing of a kick I could muster despite my delay.  Last .1 0:45

With this being a fast course filled with fast ladies, I was not surprised to be 20th place and 4th in my age group.  I would have left earlier by Martin won an award and I always like to stay to cheer for him when he wins. 

Time: 20:20 (6:33)
OA place: 76/1200+
Gender: 20/855
AG: 4th