Monday, September 12, 2011

Never Forget

I will never forget where I was two years ago. 

Fresh off my ACL surgery following getting mauled by a Ford Taurus over the summer, I had my dad drive me from our home in NJ back down to Baltimore in order to put on the RM Memorial 5k.  We had assembled a very competitive field, with a couple of guys coming up from DC, and pound for pound it became the fastest 5k in the area.  It was a Saturday morning, September 12th, 2009.  We held the race at Goucher College amidst cool but overcast conditions.  I marshaled the race from my crutches, and as soon as the race was done I had no energy left and had to head back up to NJ to continue my recovery.

A year later there didn't seem to be a convenient time to host this race, so on an whim we held it on a Tuesday in mid November.  The conditions were quite good for a nighttime track 5000m, and again the results were pretty good for being essentially a time trial on the track.  We held this version at Gilman, the site of our normal Tuesday Night Track Workouts, and we changed the name from RM Memorial to RM Classic.

The 2011 version worked out in a way that enabled us to host the race on 9/11, our own version of a Remembrance Run.  The gun went off at 7pm, so it was a true twilight race.  The air was rife with moisture, and it had just rained so the track was quite slippery.  This year I was finally able to compete in my own race, so after we sang the National Anthem, 12 of us hit the track for what turned out to be an extremely competitive race.  At least 5 track 5k PRs, and one all-time 5k personal best, were recorded.  The average time for our 11 men was 16:58, and we had everyone (including female winner Meg McNew) under 19:30.  Meg had run a 1:27 half marathon that morning, so the 5k time was even more impressive.

For me, I had originally hoped that today's post would have been a glorious celebration of my great triathlon result from Saturday, but alas, the weather had other plans.  The days of hard rain and flooding caused the cancellation of the Lancaster Family YMCA Triathlon, and I was pretty pissed.  Obviously there's not much they can do about the conditions, and safety first, but I'm allowed to be bummed.  It's a race I love to compete at on a course I love to do.  The bike course is hard, the run course is hard.  It's a nice place to race and has always been one of my favorites, but unfortunately, I think I'm probably done with it.  Next year I have alternative fall plans that will not include it, and I have been let down by this race now two straight years. 

But, all wasn't lost, as I had a pretty good week last week nevertheless.  My feeling good finally ran out, about mid-week, so I returned to the reality that was soreness and tiredness.  Could be that I don't really sleep well anymore, or could have been that I ran 45 miles - one of the higher weeks I've had this year, and just a week after ironman.  I probably overextended myself a bit by doing the Tuesday workout, which I did 4x1600 with just over a minute rest.  I started off conservative, hitting 5:56 on my first and second, and then picked it up to 5:51, and then a 5:35.  That made me a little tired, but some of the girls were still running (doing 5, 6 or 7 repeats) so I jumped in the second 800 of each, running about 2:50-2:53 and getting about 4 minutes rest.  I was tired by the end, but 5.5 miles of intervals was more than I was originally looking to do, and I was pleased I could do it at all.

With the comical amount of rain we were having, that prevented me from getting outside on the bike, and I refuse to hit the trainer just yet (plus it is still living at Pat's house from last winter) so I didn't get outside until Thursday, when I managed a mere 21 miles after the roads dried up a little.  I made it into the pool 3 times for 7k, and felt decent, but also got kicked out one day after 200m due to thunder and another day just didn't bother going because it was thundering all day. 

When I found out the race was canceled on Friday (courtesy of Ed), I decided to change around my weekend plans a little.  I ran up to the running store on Friday afternoon, which took a surprising 85 minutes (I think it's at least 11 miles).  The humidity really shut my body down, and I was not psyched running uphill for that long.  I got to the store, pretty depleted, and hung out there while the Brooks Cavalcade was doing their thing.  It ended up being a later night than I've had in a while, so I was not up tremendously early on Saturday.  Then, I wasn't real motivated to do much on Saturday, so I finally got into the pool in the afternoon and then ran with Ben for 35 minutes when he got to town.

Sunday, following the actual Run to Remember 5k (where Ben finished 2nd and Carly won!), I rode just under 60 miles with Ben on my sunflower loop - only there were no sunflowers.  Just dead, brown sticks.  It was just my third or fourth ride I guess since the race, and the others were just short rides, so I was actually a little tired by the end, and still had to race that night. 

We headed up to the track and were immediately greeted by a level of humidity not often seen.  It was misting like we were in the jungle or something, the air was thick and after warming up, I was already dripping.  The track was pretty wet, too, from the rain.  We lined up and got going, and immediately I found myself in 9th place.  Dustin, Tristram, Conrad and Ed were out quick, all gunning for sub 16 minute efforts, and Arjun and Seth were looking to be under 16:40.  Caught in between were Berardi and then Zero, and then myself.  My first 1600 splits were 84, 84, 82, 84 for a 5:35.  I had bridged up to Z and we ran together for the 2nd mile.  On lap 5 I was just a little slow (86) so I decided to back off (visions of BRRC meet flashed through my head) and regrouped.  The 3200 was split in 11:23 so a 5:48 1600, and then I felt a little better and was able to pick it back up slightly to a 5:46 last 1600, and then brought it home with a 37 second last 200 to finish in - 17:47.0.  Mike and I literally tied, totally not on purpose. 

The takeaway is that, two weeks after the ironman, I was able to run the same time for a 5k as I was just 10 days prior to it.  So over the course of less than a month, I managed two 17:46/7 5k's and an ironman - not too bad. 

The disappointing realization is that, in 2008, before I got hurt, I split 17:50 for the first 5k at PDR, and came through 10k in 36:05 and it was very easy.  I don't expect to run that fast this weekend, but if I can keep it to low 6's, and ultimately run a little faster than I did at Miami, I'll be pleased.  In my favor is that the weather should be pretty good, and I generally run pretty well at Philly, so I'd like to be under 1:20 (1:21:49 at Miami).  I wasn't going to do it, I figured I didn't need to do it just to do it, but then I sadly realized it will be my last race as a 29 year old and I haven't missed it since I started going in 2006, so I'd like to keep that going for now. 

The cancellation of Lancaster knocks me down a little bit from my attempt at 11 tri's for 2011.  With it, I was only going to be at 10 anyway, so I was going to have to look for another one to do in the next few weeks.  Now without it, I'm at 9, so I have to decide if I can feasibly do it or not.  I just saw that there is a small race in NJ the first weekend of October, when I was planning on going home, so I may jump into that.  With the next two weekends out of commission, and October 8th already going to be a race, it doesn't leave me with many options - so I may crap out just one short.  Oh well.  I've raced a lot anyway, and if I can get to 10, that's pretty sweet too.  Maybe I'll actually be able to do good in one of them...

In other news, I am having a chuckle at some of the Google search words that have landed people at my blog this week:

dave chappelle jesus juice
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The internet is funny.

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