I got up about 7:30, took a shower (why did I do that before going for a run??), and headed out the door. The subway is blessedly uncrowded on a Saturday morning. Once in Central Park, I scoped out a place to lock my bag to and hit the road. I had almost an hour and a half before my heat in the race (35-39 year olds, male), so I opted to put in two lower loops, a run of at least 3.4 miles. This would be a good - and necessary - warmup, I figured. Indeed, I spent a great part of that walking. I just couldn't seem to loosen up and I was worried about the pains I was already feeling. But true to form, I began to loosen up and run a lot better at 2.75 miles. I ran a smidgen of the loop a third time before veering off for 81st street, where the registration tent was set up.
So that was my run. I don't think it was actually 4.29 miles; more like 4 miles flat, but considering how accurate the ipod was in measuring the Mile...maybe that distance is right?
I had no illusions about my probable performance in the Fifth Avenue Mile today. I figured I'd be slower than two years ago and I was, frankly, just hoping not to have to walk part of it.
The warmup paid off. I was able to run the entire mile steady, strong, smooth. The very rough cough I've been having for a week only cropped up once and I slowed my pace for only a few seconds for it. Fifth Ave itself is freshly paved and the weather was perfect, so this whole run was truly a pleasurable experience.
I didn't go for a kick at the end. I was badly out of energy at this point and was just hanging on to my pace. According to my iPod, I ran the mile in 8:31.
By the way, I want to say thank you to the people who were hanging out watching the heats and who cheered even for me in the second half of the mile. By the time the bulk of the pack has gone by, it's easy to turn your attention back to your cell phone, iPod, kid, or significant other - so to have your attention and encouragement, even from strangers, really meant a lot to me and helped me keep my pace to the end.
I wasn't ready to try the mile, I know. I did no prep work for this at all. It was a good run, nevertheless, and my body is responding to today's combined workout as if I'd done a long run - exhaustion, aches, etc. Lance Armstrong, via a recorded announcement on my iPod, even congratulated me for setting a new mile PR, or as much of a PR as this iPod has kept track of.
My reward for today is me attemting to cook an old favorite. I don't have the right crockery, but I'm doing a chicken-livers appetizer I used to do a lot. This is an experiment as I didn't remember the recipe exactly, nor the amount of heat or time.