Finally realizing a long standing 4 mile goal time
Last Sunday I ran the first legitimate 4 mile race in a long time. Two years ago when I started running in 2010, I ran the Japan Day 4M race and during the race I tore 2 of the tendons in my ankle, completing the race in 40:44 (10’11” pace) and following up with a ton of therapy. Then in 2011, I ran it in 35:46 (8’56” pace) and considered it a job well done. Finally, in May of this year, I ran it with a broken spine complete with metal back brace in 47:13 (10’35” pace) and although I was happy to have completed it, it wasn’t exactly a good idea.
A little background on “4 miles” – This was the distance of my average daily run. Back in Brooklyn, my course to the bridge – pier – overpass was exactly 4 miles. This is a distance I had become comfortable with. I had thought to myself on numerous occasions “gee, wouldn’t it be nice to get this 4 miles under 30 minutes?” And I never could. My running Brooklyn running course was flat to boot. It was just a dream…
Now, after a full spine fracture recovery and training almost daily in hilly Central Park, I wanted to snatch this damn dream time out of the clouds and into reality.
After extensive reading on coaching, Fernando said it would be best to implement a proper “warm-up” prior to the race. Usually we have to wake up at some forsaken time in the morning and trek all the way out to somewhere. But this race was about 2 miles from the apartment so it was actually a time saver to do a little jog down to the start line rather than to walk or attempt the weekend subway. We went on our way and….we got tired. Oops! Maybe 2 miles was a bit too much. We were going very slowly (but fast enough to warm my hands so they wouldn’t freeze off) and yet 4 hills later, we still weren’t at the start. Ah well, we made it, I’m being dramatic but unfortunately we didn’t have time for a good stretch when we got there. I had to literally squeeze into the back of the packed corral. Next time, we’ll get it right! One mile warm up and time to stretch!
I’m sorry to say that the singer for the National Anthem was a bit…horrible. But the horn blew before I knew it and off I went to the beat of my own Funk Playlist. I decided to ditch the “fast as you can sustain from the start” method and go back to slow start, negative splits and a fast finish. I forgot to look when I crossed the START line so I wasn’t sure what to calculate as far as the mile markers were displaying, thus I had to rely on my Nike GPS watch. This did me well.
At Mile 1, I checked the “time elapsed” on the watch and it said exactly 7:30. With all the dodging around and getting stuck behind thousands of people, that was a good start, esp. considering that to finish in 30 minutes, I would have to do a 7’30” pace. I felt that I could get faster but was going to wait until the appropriate moment. I was already doing better in Mile 2 since it was up the flat part of the east side.
On a side note, runners, is it necessary to spit and blow snot? I mean, this is a civilized country and we shouldn’t really be doing that in an unsanitary manner. I got snot blown on me (a spray, not a glop, thankfully) by some man who I suppose didn’t see me and as I passed his unsanitary self, I told him “That was DISGUSTING.” I have heard and read that this runner’s habit is simply that…a habit, a BAD one at that. It is not necessary for a good run, and by no means should anyone be doing that on a crowded race course unless they were about to collapse for not being able to breathe. Anyway.
Once I rounded the corner to Mile 3, I was listening to a great song (great as in fun and fast, not like a great classic Bohemian Rhapsody or anything…the lyrics to this one was more like “boom bang bang”) and hauling myself over the three west side hills. I knew Mile 4 was going to be my savior since it was mostly flat and down (having just done part of my warm-up on it). According to my GPS watch, it was! The last mile was my fastest and although I was dying by the last 0.3, I was really trying to haul ass, giving myself pep talks like “Just a little more suffering! You can do it!!” I blasted over the finish line in full sprint and I am very uninterested in the hideous pictures that the photographers probably took of me as I am sure I was grimacing and convulsing with mad scientist hair sticking out of my hat…you get the idea. All I wanted to see was my TIME. I crossed the line under 30 minutes, and could not wait to get the final result to see exactly by how much under 30 I did! (And also I decided I should get a better hat that doesn’t slip over my eyes when I run or make my hair into mad scientist electrocuted style.)
After furiously patting my hair down and finding a very tired Fernando (whom, btw, I told him he’d definitely complete in under 35 and HE DID IT IN LESS THAN 33, making a new PR race pace) we took some post race pics and went home to obsessively check NYRR’s website for the results and enjoy the rest of the weekend.
New PR for 4 Miles and also best recorded NYRR pace: 27:56 (6’59”) Woot!