In running and in charity, the challenge starts long before you toe the start,
and the work doesn't end when you cross the finish.

14 December 2009

Welcome to PR-ville, Population: Me

This post is brought to you by one of my favorite Once a Runner quotes:
He was not a health nut... He did not live on nuts and berries; If the furnace was hot enough, anything would burn.

As mentioned in my previous post, last Sunday was the Joe Kleinerman 10k, my last race of the year and only my second shot ever at that distance. At the time of writing, I wanted to break the 7-minute barrier and increase my standing within NYRR, but wasn't too confident in my ability to do so right off the back of the marathon.

Then to officially crush my expectations, Saturday's social obligations turned into a full day of debauchery, starting with a 3-hour liquid lunch, followed by a few hours at a pub, and finally a 2- or maybe it was 3-hour dinner (time was a bit fluid by that point). I went to bed after midnight with a dozen beers, a cheeseburger, and some veal meatballs floating around my stomach. Not exactly what most coaches recommend pre-race.

When the alarm went off at 6 Sunday morning, I was not feeling race sharp.  I was dehydrated, exhausted, and my stomach was still full of animal fat. Plus it was about 70 degrees colder outside than in my bed. I've never skipped a race before, but I was seriously contemplating it then. I probably stared out the window for a good ten minutes before my wife/cheerleader/manager convinced me with, "You'll feel better once you get out on the course." And of course she was right.

I don't know if it was the invigorating effects of the cold weather or just the race day excitement of Central Park, but I stepped into the corral ready to execute on my plan.  And once the race started, no amount of nausea or pain was going to hold me back.  I just ran like my life depended on it, and when miles four and five started to catch up on me, I fought the urge to slow down and decided to steal every second possible from the clock.  

Apparently running a marathon is a good way to get in race shape, because my strategy paid off.  I crossed the finish line with an official time of 42:24, a full minute faster than my goal, and nearly three and a half minutes faster than my last 10k. That works out to a mile split of 6:50, putting me squarely in sub-7:00 territory and giving me the confidence to start training for a spring half marathon with 1:30 in my sights...

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- Jake


  1. Maybe that should be your standard pre-race ritual from now on? I think the secret was the veal meatballs.

  2. i'm thinking your right. i'll definitely give the cheeseburger another go before my next race. and we might have to set up some experiments to see if beer is as good as pasta for glycogen production...

  3. Ha! I'd love to see the results of those experiments. You can plot them with numbers of beer on the Y axis and 5k times on the X axis and people can bet on the type of curve!


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