Two weeks, two completely different types of races and NO race report!Â I am just the worst kind of blogger!Â Regardless of my ineptitude at getting things posted Operation PFR12 is in full swing!!Â Over the last several months Iâ€™ve been fighting to regain my mojo for running and racing, which, for whatever reason, I lost all excitement and taste for.Â It was really disconcerting.Â Then somewhere over these last couple of weeks it has come back with a vengeance and manifest itself in my brain as OpPFR12, the ultimate goal of which is to shatter every single PR I have on record no matter the distance.Â Iâ€™m sure that when I hit that last one it will kick-start the apocalypse and I will just fall to the ground in a heap of Brooks Running gear and fur, like the cat from â€œChristmas Vacationâ€.Â So, with this new focus locked and loaded the game was afoot and the NYC Half and Red Hook Crit 5k were in my sites.
The NYC Half was first up on my list, that lovely novelty race where you get to run through Time Square for about 3-minutes and then onto the dreaded West Side Highway (WSH) where more than a fair share of runner-bike collisions have occurred.Â After falling short of my sub-1:20 goal at the RAK Half earlier this year, it was time to put my foot on the throat of this one and squeeze the life out of it.Â In a bizarre twist of fate it was that squeezing feeling that nearly made the day a complete disaster!! Donâ€™t worry Iâ€™ll get to that in a minute.
Race day morning went off without a hitch, all systems were nominal, or so I thought.Â I met up with the Team JDRF crew as well as Team Sasquatch members Eissa and Robin, and the svelt looking Joe â€œCardiac Crusherâ€ Herman to loosen up and get ready to rumble.Â Everyone was excited and with the conditions as prime as they were â€“ overcast with a very comfortable cool temperature â€“ why wouldnâ€™t they be!Â It was only moments after we all headed to our corrals that things started getting iffy.
Just as I headed to the Blue corral I started to feel like I was going to have to pee, which 99 out of 100 times is no big deal â€¦ Iâ€™m a guy and external plumbing has its advantages, especially in such situations, â€¦ but on this occasion no such luck.Â When I got to my corral there were only four Porta-Johns, maybe five, but the lines were so thick and long that there was no way that I would ever get in one before the gun went off.Â This situation got even worse because NYRR was extremely strict about their corral policy this go around and if you stepped out after the 30-min-before-the-start deadline you were sent to the open corral all the way at the back of the pack, which was not going to be optimal for hitting my goal time.Â I looked for a bottle â€¦ no dice.Â I thought about taking a knee and using the old on-the-pitch soccer trick, but there was absolutely no space to move around and I would have felt supremely guilty if I splashed on anyone.Â Hahahahahaa â€¦ sorry, itâ€™s funny to 1) think it, and 2) write it.Â Can you imagine being the person that got splashed on?Â What do you do?Â What do you say?Â Hahaha â€¦ not to mention, gross!Â OK, enough of this tangent!
The gun fires, the race is on and a game time decision has to be made!Â The plan is: if I see a Porta-John within the first mile or so, that lovely impossible, trafficky first mile, then I will hit the head and look to make up the time on the WSH.Â So yah, that didnâ€™t happen.Â I started out solid on pace and was cranking by mile 3 and the knot was being tied as effectively as humanly possible.Â Seriously, this was like running with an overfilled water balloon and someone is slowly sitting down on it just to see at what moment the walls give and I become 2 years old again and need some Huggies pull ups!Â Mental note: test-drive a pair of Depends, ya know, for science.Â Anyway, at mile 5 all fluids, besides sweat and spit, were being kept internally.Â As we left Central Park I was feeling good about my prospects, but once we made the right hand turn on 42ndÂ Street I started feeling my hips burning out from keeping my enemy at bay.Â My options came down to two choices: 1) Suck it up and just keep going like this, clenching for dear life and running my butt off, or 2) Open the flood gates, hope it isnâ€™t captured on camera and that it doesnâ€™t soak my shoes or anyone within the splatter zone.
I chose option one and just fought it off for as long as I possibly could, all the while my hips fried and getting my legs and feet to behave was becoming more and more of an issue.Â To complicate things a little further I hadnâ€™t nor would I take any water or nutrition on the course out of fear that anything else added to tank would be the tipping point and force my hand to stop or just simply explode.Â I passed Team Sasquatch teammates Matt and Steph at Chelsea Piers, complained about the situation, cause that is all I wanted to do at all, and just kept trucking. By the time I reached the last mile, which included going through a tunnel and an unwanted climb back up to street level, I had just enough left to try and kick it up and not get passed by the footfalls that I had been listening come up on me.Â I pushed through the finish line PISSED, literally, at the fact that I didnâ€™t deal with this stupid issue better, but that hostility didnâ€™t last too long as I caught my time on my watch and the sub-1:20 PFR time was secured â€¦ 1:19:33 (6:04/mile).Â Completely happy with the success of the moment, I went and found the nearest bathroom and competed for the Jimmy Dugan award for bathroom excellence!!
Fast forward a week and it was time to race again, this time a distance that I havenâ€™t run in almost four years, a 5K.Â Now, Iâ€™ve run the distance before, done tempo and threshold work for that distance, but a race?Â Not so much.Â Heading into the Red Hook Crit I was just having issues comprehending running basically balls to the wall for the full distance.Â I just couldnâ€™t wrap my head around it.Â Iâ€™ve been running longer distances for so long that the idea of red lining for three miles was just beyond me and by the time I was a mile into the race it showed.
I have to admit, I loved this race.Â It was well organized, fun, well supported, had a decent course (4 x .77-mile loop), a small field (170 runners) and it was at 8:00 pm.Â Oh yah, there was also prizes for the fastest lap (also the worst part as that was unisex and not one for each gender), the top three teams and the top three finishers (male and female).Â Even cooler, the first place prize money was given to the winner in a messenger bag full of $1 bills â€¦ MAKE IT RAIN!!!! Sadly, the winner, who I believe was Moroccan, had no idea what we were talking about and the awesomeness waned into the wailings of a sad trombone.
Getting back to the race, before the gun fired I took my place about two-thirds of the way back in the pack, something that I probably should not have.Â The course was snug, I wanted to get out fast and there was no way the dudes in front of me were going to open it up at the gun.Â Oh well.Â The gun fired and I struggled to open things up with the wall of guys that just went about the course shoulder to shoulder.Â About half way through the first lap the head wind slapped us a bit, but wasnâ€™t enough to really slow anyone down.Â The crowd along the course was fantastic, cheering for the duration of the race, which was awesome.
As I turned for the last quarter of the course I already saw the runners that went for the first lap award walking it off as they were totally gassed, a feeling that I was kind of starting to feel already, because how the hell do you pace this thing off?!Â For the second lap I toned things down a little bit, cause I had to survive three more laps and I wasnâ€™t sure if I could hold the pace.Â When I hit the third lap I was finally in a good rhythm and picking off a few runners here and there.Â The last lap I picked it up hard at the half way and was passing a few more, one of them I called out just trying to force myself to kick by goading them into a foot race.Â I hit the timing mat and it was over!!!Â My warm-up took longer than the whole race took to run!! That is just nuts and I finished no wiser than I started it.Â Completely befuddled at how to approach that distance of a race, but appreciating that it is over before my brain has a chance to catch up.Â Final time: 17:28 (5:37/mile).Â Hit my PR, but this yet another one where I felt like I could do better on a course with fewer tight turns and a better grasp of my own pacing.Â Oh well, there will be others.
Thus far in 2012 Iâ€™ve knocked off half-marathon and 5K PRs.Â Next up, Cherry Blossom 10-miler in Washington DC.