Last weekend, I did something I have never done...three races in two days. A series of events led me to that sequence, and it was all good. First, the NYRR 18mile training run was on Sunday. I did that race last year, and it was really helpful in terms of confidence, training, etc. 3 loops around Central Park, with water, gels, timers, etc., is just a really great way to do a long run. And, if you can do it well, a great boost of confidence. The hills...just get you. So, I was signed up for that one long time ago, and was sort of a "target race."
Second, I learned that on Saturday our little home town was hosting an inaugural 5 mile race. I had to do that one also. But the plan was to just run it, not race it, and save the energy for the Sunday 18 miler.
Third, on Saturday was the Fifth Avenue mile. The timing worked out just right...after the 5 mile race, the mile race was about an hour later, so get in the car, go, run a mile. Truthfully, I am no fan of a one mile race. It is a usually pretty big hassle to get out of the house, into the city, park the car and go run. So, to do all of that for just one mile really is anticlimactic. But, I needed the race for my 9+1 marathon entry next year, and I am beginning to run out of qualifying races. So, I more or less had to do this race.
The first race on the weekend schedule was the Saturday morning local five miler. The plan was to take it slow, have a good run and then go to the one mile race about an hour later. But, of course) the competitive juices started flowing when I saw the other local runners there, and I wanted to win. I didn't win. I finish overall in mid twenties, and just outside top three in my age group, losing to at least two people I know. That bummed me out, but I rationalized it because I was saving myself for my long run on Sunday. I actually ended up with around 7:20 pace...much faster than I intended.
Second race that day was the Fifth Avenue Mile. I had zero adrenaline for this run. I showed up, got my number, and was in the corral. Bang! The horn started and we were off. I went... slooooowwww... and finished in the back of the pack. Surprisingly, as we were getting to the end, I saw I had a chance to run a sub 7:00 mile, so I kicked. Ended up at 6:53 -- not so bad! (I ran 6:09 nearly 6 years ago when I was really trying in this race.) Total elapsed time was 45 minutes. Amazing. I did get a ticket though...
I assumed I would pay for that the next morning on the 18 miler.
Sunday morning came early (5:15 a.m.), and I went into the city for the 18 miler. A gorgeous morning to run...sunny, mid 50s, perfect. Except, as I was driving in, the garage I usually park at in Harlem was...closed! Oh no, I had nowhere to park. I drove around looking and after about 15 minutes ended up in another garage, and had to hustle to the start line. I made it by about 5 minutes. I had zero adrenaline going, and was still pretty freaked out about parking, and being late to the race. I was tying my shoes as the gun went off. It was weird to have so little "psyche" at the beginning of a long run. Anyway, the plan was for 9:00 miles (PMP+30). (And NYRR, why no love to me? I am now in the third corral (2000's)?).
The first couple miles went 8:45 or so, and then I ended up settling in around 8:30. The last six mile loop I kicked it in and ran 8:10 or so, and then the last couple miles were sub 8:00. Very strong. Very pleased, particularly given the previous day's effort. And honestly, I felt like I could have made another loop if I had to. I was tired, but not crushed; (I did have chafe though. And a GI issue at mile 7, a result of being late to the race. ). And then, home by 10:30 a.m. Very strange to have so much under my belt by 10:30 on a Sunday morning, come home and cook pancakes for the little ones.
All in all, a great running weekend. And I took Monday off to rest. I was sore, but not super sore. Today is a running day, and I plan an easy run.