April 7, 2012

One Finisher (Scotland Run 2012)

It was a beautiful morning for a run.  Though I had lingering doubts about the wisdom of going out for a 10K after months of running no more than 2.5 miles, and zero runs under my belt since early February, I forced myself to go.  My trepidations also stemmed in part from knowing the last time I'd run in Central Park at all was Boomer's Run to Breathe last July 9!  How can so much time pass so fast?  Well, I'm glad I did today's race - as one popular internet meme goes:

I ran this race because I had good impressions from the last time I ran it, which turns out to be 2007!  I ran a 1:12 in that race, which I knew to be better than I could do today, being a little more lung-damaged and a whole lot more untrained.  The race is fun because people really get into the spirit of celebrating Scotland.  They were kilts, tartan sashes, hats, shorts - anything really - and there's the Scottish flag splashed everywhere, especially in face painting.  The Scottish sponsors provided really nice swag this time, including a muslin shopping bag and a stocking cap that'll be perfect for next winter.

I didn't warm up other than some brief calisthenics - I needed to save my energy for the race.  I hung out beside the pink corral and slipped into the stream of runners when the brown bibs started outnumbering other colors.  Why walk a half mile back when I can save the effort and my legs?  I'd fueled poorly the night before ( --- and a big FUCK YOU to National Grid, btw, for turning my gas off unannounced over an ID issue --- ) and didn't fuel great in the morning.  I did remember to bring powersnot and Endurolytes; both of which I feel definitely helped me get through this race sans cramps.

The race started right on time and I crossed the start line 7 and a half minutes into the race.  I kept mental track of my splits as I went and pumped out the first three miles in roughly 12:30s - and that included the worst hills.  I was ok with that.  But lack of training became clear in mile four, where my time went over 13 minutes and then especially in five and six, which had to have been approaching 14 minutes per mile.  As in other races, I was not thrilled with the marathon-identical uphill finish. But whatever.

One thing occupied my thoughts much of the run: the announcer at the start had mentioned there were 15000 entrants and "how many finishers will there be??"  One, I thought.  For each person out there, the run itself is an individual effort.  Each of them will say "I finished".  Probably not "we finished" (OK, maybe a few couples and teams).  But with every non-relay race and every runner at every level, there is only one finisher:  I.

And yes, I finished.  I did so in reasonably good shape in 1:19:55, managing a per-mile average of 12:52.  Very slightly better than my last two NYRR races and certainly better than some of the miserable death marches of the past.  It gives me hope that with some actual training, I might get down to a 12 minute mile for the next Boomer run. And perhaps then I won't suffer the pain of today for having gone too far on too little training.  Though, to be honest, I've finished in worse physical shape even when better trained.

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