Thursday, July 20, 2017

Racing with Sidney and the Teterboro 5k, Teterboro Airport, NJ. 7/15/17

This Saturday morning I convinced Sidney to race a 5k with me. This wasn't hard to do. Afterall, he completed his training on Wednesday, the same day he started his training, by running a 3.1M run declaring he was ready to go. ;)

I love Sidney.  He keeps my perspective in check.  Sid doesn't "train" for anything. He just runs without any idea of how fast, how far, and even how often he is running. He takes the dogs out for their exercise, comes home runs a few more miles on his own or with me, and that is how he trains. There are no "workouts" on the plan. He doesn't use a log. He just runs.

In my opinion, he generally picks the worst (hottest) time of day, wears dark colors, usually wearing a black cotton T-shirt that makes me crazy. He carries nothing with him, except now he carries his phone if he is on call for work. Often, it seems like he isn't even having a good time. But he still just runs.

When we run together, he is usually about 6 strides in front of me. I just follow him around until we are done. No talking.  Just run. It is a very unique experience. This technique began when we first started dating and he would take me to Allaire to run trails. He knows trails. He is/was a mountain biker.  On single track, we needed to run single file and leave some room, about 6 strides, for me to see the ground between us so I could stay upright.  This just became how we run now.

Even though Sidney doesn't "train" for anything and doesn't often seek out races, he will race anything I ask him to race. Ironically, his favorite races are events like La Luz, the 9M, one-way, uphill the WHOLE way, trail race in New Mexico that starts at 6000 ft and ends at 10600 ft.  He has done this 5 times and once just climbed the trail solo because he could. Yes, he climbed La Luz mid-day, and I am sure he was wearing a black cotton T-shirt. He did carry water. Phew.

On the other end of the spectrum, he loves the Key West Half. We used to do that race every year for a decade. He says he liked that race because it has free beer at the end... but he doesn't drink beer ??? I think he tries to torture me. I also think 6 of his 10 his Key West race photos are of him racing in the sub-tropics in his Dark Forest Green La Luz trail run shirt. At least it was a tech shirt. :)

Once, 3 entire weeks before the LBI 18M run, Sid declared he wanted to run it. No training at all.  So I say "Ok, if you want to run 18M on 0 training, I will pay to see this happen."  I register him when I register myself.  Sid has screws in his knee from a motocross injury (He was very very good at Motocross. He used to race across the US like I do with running. He was sponsored by Fox. I wish I knew him then). He has a replaced Achilles tendon from a cadaver. He has screws in his shoulder from a head on collision with a drunk driver who was driving the wrong way on Rt 9 at night with no lights one night he was driving home from work at the prison. The screws in his knee bother him when he runs too far, but somehow 18M on no training did not send up any red flags. I know the car will be parked at Mile 9 and he will have the keys. If he gets to 9M in pain, he can DNF, get in the car and meet me at the end. I fully expect to see him there when I hit the finish shoot. Screws,  a Borrowed Achilles, 18M, No Training... I am not sure he can finish this without pain. But no.  He runs 18M in 9:22 pace, eating only Candy Corn for fuel (while most likely wearing black cotton T-shirt.) :)  He only had a 4 minute positive fade in a race with a headwind throughout the entire point-to-point course.

Sid will race anything I ask him to race, but I don't abuse the privilege.  

Sid definitely does not over think things. Once we left for a 5k up New Hampshire and halfway to the race he realized he was wearing bedroom slippers and had no sneakers in the car.  We had to stop at Khols on the way,  run in, buy sneakers and then he raced it. Another time he forgot shorts?  I do think he likes to torture me. :)

Once he decided he wanted to run a marathon. He actually had time to prepare. Like weeks of time, maybe like 6 weeks? ;)

I convinced him to run the Beaver Island Marathon in Michigan. He could rent a plane and fly us there. He agreed that would be awesome. He devised his own training plan. He wanted to train for it by mountain biking a lot. (He was a very good mountain biker. Really good and he wanted to protect his knee from the pounding, so this made sense). I convinced him to do a few runs. So he decided to run a 5M, 10M, 15M, and 20M run each week apart, then rest a week before the marathon, and the rest of the time he would mountain bike or maybe run if he felt like it. So he ran a 5, 10, 15, and 20M run, as he said he would. All nonstop, all without fuel, most likely in black cotton t-shirts, at 10:00 pace or better, on trail loops. Even effort. No fade.

On race weekend, the Beaver Island was going to be hit with thunderstorms. He can't fly a Mooney in that so we canceled the trip. Since he was "trained," I signed us up for a 12 Hour race (Labor Pains) and we ran that together.  It was on a 5M loop of rocky trails. The loop required the use of a step ladder to get over a guardrail.  One lady fell on her face on some rocks and broke her nose. I may or may not have broken my toe or at least dislocated it. All I know is it was purple for a week and super painful. We ran 4 laps, stopped to have some burgers and kick our feet up to rest. Then we went out and we ran/walked 11 more miles. Sidney finished a 50k with me.  He has a vest that says "50K Finisher." But ask him today if he ever ran a marathon or ultra and he says "No. That race doesn't count. We had burgers. We took a break. We sat in lawn chairs. We use a step ladder.  What's up with that!? That doesn't count!" Ok, you covered 31.1M on foot and yes it was at a leisurely pace... so ok that doesn't count. Sidney likes to torture me.

Sid doesn't care for road races. So once I found us an adventure race that required us to canoe through a bioluminescent bay (beautiful), mountain bike a few miles, and then run... all while trying to find checkpoints in the middle of the dark night in Florida. The race started at 1:00 am and ended at 5:00 am. We had no time to train for this.  I have no skills with orienteering.  Sid has military training, so I was hoping someone taught him how to use a compass.  I don't even know if we had a compass?  But he thought this sounded awesome and agreed to do it. So we did it.  We actually found a few checkpoints, which was a small miracle.... especially with me in charge of the map and with me not realizing there were actual turn-by-turn directions on the back of the map they gave us 10 minutes before the start when we arrived.  Apparently, the regulars get there an hour or two early to plan their strategy and learn the routes.  Our strategy: Just Don't Die. This was more challenging than it sounds since we had to "jump over" a slow moving train with our mountain bike.  It was very slow moving.  Somehow we managed to not finish last. I suspect the other two teams behind us were blind.

Sidney is my running opposite.

I know every detail about every step I take. I try to race with precision, collecting data along the way, making reasoned decisions. I plan my training, my fueling, my pacing, my gear.  I am my worst critic.  My heart gets too invested. I elevate running to some status it may or may not deserve in reality. But running gives me a tremendous sense of purpose.

And then Sidney leaves for races forgetting to bring running shoes. But he always manages to finish what he starts, no matter what the challenge is. He may not train, but I love his perspective.  

Sidney has a lot of lessons to teach me about running, many of which I am still learning: 
-Don't over think things.
-Believe in yourself.
-Be honest with yourself.
-Know your ability.
-Work within your means.
-Get it done.
-Do the job you set out to do.
-No excuses.
-No quitting.

Sidney is awesome.

*****

Teterboro 5k

Today I convinced Sid to run the 5K at the airport he flies out of for work.  I wanted to race so I could work on my sharpening my pacing. I knew my time would be much slower than last year.  I wanted his company to make the whole experience more fun. After the race, he could show me the jets he flies as a charter pilot (he flies wealthy people around or gets hired to fly surgeons to hospitals in the middle of the night to pick up organs for transplant patients). Even though this was one of the days he did NOT have to go to Teterboro, he was a good sport and went with me anyway.


Sid made an effort to warm up with me. After his .25M warm up, I did another .5M around the area we could use for warm up space. Space was limited because this race is on an airport tarmac and security is tight there.

I decided to line up towards the front, second row.  I ran 7:04 pace at Belmar last weekend and had predicted I should be able to run 6:50 pace or better today.  My goal is to start around 6:50, maybe 7:00 if I felt sluggish, then aim to get slightly faster each mile. Goals: Run by feel, forget the watch, listen to my body, and no fading.

I don't expect anything in terms of placement, but I know I was 2nd last year with 19:43.  6:50 or better is about 21:15... I hope to maybe squeak under 21 if I feel strong.

Sid heads towards the middle of the pack. He decided 9:00 pace would be realistic. Under 9 would be wonderful. Part of finishing what you start is having some sense of self-awareness about your ability. It is a little better to underestimate than over estimate speed and endurance when you haven't raced anything in 9 months.

The gun goes off. I start behind Sergio and next to Ben. The pace is a tad fast off the line. After getting pulled out too fast, I let three ladies go and I settle back a little. I size up my competition as I run My Pace. In the first half mile, I suspect that 2 of the 3 women in front of me are breathing a little too hard too soon and likely not going to be able to hold their pace. The third woman looks strong. I don't even look at my watch. I am trying to run by feel alone.  I plan to check my splits after the race. I want to feel like I am picking up my pace each mile.  M1 6:42.

In the second mile, I shift a gear and get a little faster.  I catch up to Ben and begin to reel in the one woman ahead of me. I ask Ben. "Is she first woman?"  Ben: "I believe she is. But you can take her"  Me: "Not if I blow up in M2... I need to be patient.  If she is still near me in the last mile, I have to go for it.  After all, I have extra motivation today ... Sidney is here!"

I pick up a bit, trying to stick to my plan of gradual negative splits. I reel her in faster than I planned.  I hope to wait until the final mile to pass, but just before M2 I end up right behind her.  M2 6:38

I have no idea where the M2 Marker is and I not looking at my watch often or if I am I am not retaining what I see.  I find myself passing her, a bit earlier than I hoped and I have a choice. I can hold my pace and risk having her go with me or I can pass "with authority", put some distance between us, hope to not blow up before I settle down, wait for a little bit of recovery to set in so I can find my next gear, and then kick at the end to hopefully seal the victory.

I decide to pass with authority and hope to hold it together the rest of the way.  I glance at my pace after the M2 beep and it is 6:18. I know I am not holding that for the full 1.1 to the end.  Once I can't hear her feet hitting the ground I settle down.  I want to look back so badly, but I don't.  I stick to my plan.  I settle down to regroup, ideally cleaning my lactate so I can burst if needed if I hear her approach. I figure if she had to work hard to catch up to me, she won't have another gear once she reaches me and we are starting to run out of road.  M3 6:33

I think about the track workouts Alanna, Kim, and I have been doing. I know my turnover has been low 5:00 pace for 300 meters repeats. My best 300 in training as 59 seconds which is a 5:19 pace at the end of 3.75 miles of 300 meter repeats. I know I have another gear, but I just want to until I know I can hold it before I shift one last time.  We are close to ending this thing, but it is still too soon to be confident. With each step closer to the finish, I take it granted even LESS that I have this wrapped up.  That last thing I need is to be over confident just strides from the shoot and lose the race.  I have no idea where she is.  I don't look back. I won't be confident that I have this race won until I actually do it.

I think about Sidney. I really want to be able to tell him "I won!" He rarely attends races with me and not often when I am peak shape. When I have goal races in mind and when I am well-trained, I prefer to go to races without him so he can stay home with our dogs and I can focus on what I need to do. I do better on my own. But when I do well, I do wish he could see me at my best.  But even at my best, I don't win a lot of races overall so when he does go to a race with me, the chance that I will actually win is quite low. Today I would like for him to see me win something.

I know I have another gear. I did my work and paced this well. When I see the finish line, I dig deep. If I just run as fast as I can, push as hard as I can, then I will have a good chance at winning. And if I get beat, I can't be too upset because I will know I tried my best.

I kick as hard as I can. I imagine I am on the track trying to run my best 300m repeat. I make it to the shoot first, running the last .1 in 5:50 pace. I turn around and see how close this was. I had about a 15 second lead by the finish.

Sidney came in a few minutes later, in 8:08 pace!  <3

Stat:
Time: 20:30 gun (20:27 chip time: 6:36 pace)
Gender Place: 1st OA Female
Overall Place 30

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