In an old race report, I related that my pre-race music included "Yellow Ledbetter", a Pearl Jam song. About the only discernible lyrics in that song are "I don't know if I am the boxer or the bag." After that race, I felt great and felt like the boxer. I will end the suspense now: I was the bag on Saturday; it was a disappointing race.
First the good things: it was a good workout. I got a free technical Tshirt. It counted as one of the 9 races I need for 2011 NY Marathon entry. My pseudo-stress fracture did not make a guest appearance. And that is about it.
Now, the bad. My time was 51:08, for average pace of 8:02, finish 2500 out of 7800. Very disappointing. But, even putting the numbers aside, I felt terrible. When I picked up my number, NYRR had me in the second corral, with a number in the 1200's. That is somewhat of a demotion, but this was a big race, so I am not insulted. And I would have started back there anyway. I then strapped my HR monitor on, and it showed my resting HR at about 100. Hmmm. That is weird. In waiting in the corral for the NY marathon to start I had my resting HR below 60. And then the gun went off, and just like that bang -- we are off. And my HR flew to about 97% of max. And I couldn't get it down. I slowed down, with only a modest decrease. And I felt like I was running in quicksand. First two miles were 7:06 and 7:20. By the middle of mile 3, I knew I was not going to be able to run up the Harlem Hill. And jeez, I just felt bad. So, deciding to just throw in the towel and finish the race without a concern for time, I had no shame in taking a walk break here and there. I ended up finishing right at 8 minute miles, which was OK, I guess, given how hard the last four miles felt. It was the hardest race I have run in years, and the last couple miles were the worst I have felt in a race in the park since I can remember.
Lessons learned? Well, my month or so of no running and gorging myself took more out of me than I thought. And the high resting heart rate should have been a clue I overtrained too much during the week. In fact Friday night, (the night before the race), I went to the gym and rowed on the rowing machine for 45 minutes. That is a really tough workout, but easy on the knees and feet. But killer on the legs, upper body and still has cardio in it. Maybe that wasn't a good idea.
And the new shoes were a disaster. Post race, I have 4 new blisters: one under the ball of each foot; one on the left little toe that has puffed up and doubled the size of that little piggie; and a nice heel blister on my right foot. And my feet felt all beat up after the race. Puffy almost, and just bad. So the shoes made for the "whippet like runners" turned out not to be a match for me. At least not my current incarnation -- maybe this fall. Back to the padded shoes.
So, I guess I am going to have to modify my goals and count on a slower path back. I am in no real hurry other than a self imposed deadline of July 4 to take stock of myself (and that is when marathon training starts more or less).
Other than that, a gorgeous NY weekend -- sun, mild weather and just really great to be alive. Hope yours was as nice.