February 9, 2008

Race Report: Gridiron Classic (4 Miler)

This report is so long in coming; my apologies. I seem to work best under a deadline though, and what better deadline than knowing I have another race tomorrow? 🙂

I woke up at 7:29 AM, just before my alarm went off, and realized I was still a bit drunk from the wine I had the night before. That didn’t really faze me though; one of my best races was the 36th Distinguished Service Race 8 Mile, which I ran after attending Albany’s Lobster Festival (which, though the page doesn’t say it, is done in conjunction with a few dozen microbreweries each of whom offers three 6 oz “tastes.” I sampled more than 20 beers, and did not eat any lobster to temper that).

After lounging around for a while because I thought I had so much time, I then looked at the clock again and realized it was 8:25 – yikes! I threw on my running clothes, decided I might not have time to walk to the start (and I didn’t feel like running – I figured I’d do that on my way home and that would be enough), so I grabbed a cab. Unfortunately, what I failed to take into account is that a cab would have me there in about 5 minutes, so I ended up standing around for 20 minutes trying to stay warm, and just watching the other runners’ warm up routines. I prefer not to warm up, for a few reasons. One is that I have read lots of places that stretching while cold is bad for you, so I tend to stretch after a race (usually in the shower, which feels incredible). As for going for a pre-race jog to “get into the swing of things,” my opinion is that doing so will just tire me out and take away energy from the actual race. Besides, at a NYRR race, the start is bound to be crowded enough that I wouldn’t be able to go full-out anyway, so the beginning is kind of a forced warm-up. Finally, I am by no means a pro, so if I lose a few seconds by not warming up, it’s okay.

My friend Kelly called and said she’d drop off her stuff and then come find me, who had picked up her bib/shirt the day before. However, we then realized that she needed the number on her bib in order to check her bag, so I headed over to the baggage check in and we arrived at the start just in time for the gun. Forcing ourselves in somewhere around the 9 min/mile mark, we headed out. The crowds were especially bad for this race, probably because it was just 4 miles so lots of casual runners came out (I say that as if I’m elite… ha). I lost Kelly pretty quickly as I bobbed and weaved my way through. The crowds didn’t really thin out so I could hit a good stride until right about when I hit the second mile (and even then it wasn’t really an open field – it was more that I could just stop weaving), where I saw an incredible surprise: I had run a 7:46 pace for that leg!!! I was thrilled and confused, but just kept going, trying to match that for mile 3. The adrenaline and excitement of having my fastest mile ever definitely helped me to keep it up, though I was getting kind of tired. One thing that was really cool though was that until about midway through the third mile, I was passing everybody… and almost nobody was passing me! I’ve never been in that position before and it was really cool. I think I need to line up with slower runners more often 🙂

My splits:
Mile 1: 8:31
Mile 2: 7:46
Mile 3: 7:14
Mile 4: 7:30
I was absolutely floored and confused when I was running and calculating those. I have never run faster than an 8 minute mile in my LIFE, even when just running around a track for one mile trying to see how fast I can go. I thought maybe the clocks were wrong, but my time on the results confirmed it. Suddenly I’m a speed demon! I felt a bit more tired than usual in mile three, but that was an uphill portion, and once I saw how ridiculously fast my time was, I understood why I was so tired. One weird thing: my final mile is slower than my third mile. Usually my final mile is one of my fastest, because I’m always trying to pick it up, and I always sprint to the finish. I was really booking it in the third mile!

My music:
Instead of using a race playlist, I opted for Taylor Swift’s self-titled album. Starting with “Tim McGraw,” which is really melodic and soothing, I felt calm as I pushed through the hordes in the first mile. Most of the other songs have a pretty good beat, and in the last stretch I skipped through some others to end with “Our Song,” which turned out to have the perfect beat for me to run to. It’s at exactly the right pace for me to take a step on each beat, while being just a hair faster than I would normally go. So, “Our Song” became my official finishing soundtrack of the Gridiron Classic (thanks for the idea, Andy!).

Next race:
With my first half-marathon under my belt two weeks ago, I’m now gearing up for my second one tomorrow. After all, everyone should run a half-marathon (or two or three or ten). I’ll be running in the second race in the NYRR Half-Marathon Grand Prix, which is in the Bronx.

My back is still really sore today from an intense workout I did on Thursday night. When I told that to my mom, she said, “Well, listen to your body… there’s no glory in running through pain.” Clearly she is not a crazy running blogger.

Other Gridiron Classic race reports:

Chris at The Budden’s Multisport Blog


2 thoughts on “Race Report: Gridiron Classic (4 Miler)”

  1. hey laura – congrats on the great race! looking forward to your recap of yesterday’s half! i was out of town, but i heard that is snowed a bit in ny yesterday. did you have to deal with that while racing?

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