Ever get an email reminding you to pick up a bib for an event you forgot you registered for? Was it for a distance longer than you’ve ran since the beginning of the summer? Because that was my week. But, this is the Staten Island Half and we’d get to finish inside a ballpark.
The Staten Island Half is a popular event and I signed up a long time ago. I forgot to put it on my calendar and had even made other Columbus Day weekend plans. I figured I was out of shape but I wanted to run this one anyway. I’ve never run on Staten Island, and, oh yeah, I have marathons the next three weekends. I should run a little this week.
My plan was simple. I’d run at whatever pace felt comfortable and take frequent walk breaks. I’d call this a training run and not worry about how it would go down. Seems simple enough. I removed all the pressure.
The first two miles I ran much too quickly, but I didn’t feel bad. The start is always fast. My very fast time (for me!) at the 2014 NY Giants Run of Champions set my expected pace for all NYRR events and has put me in the front corrals. I lined up in corral A but stood near the back and even let the horde of corral B people moved forward to the start with us.
For Mile 3 I tried to slow down to a target pace of 9:00 minute miles. I’d be quite pleased with that as an average pace although I didn’t think I could do it. Being an awful pacer I went by feel. I slowed down slightly, but at Mile 4 I sped up again. During all of this I thought I was slowing down like I wanted to do. I tried to slow down for Mile 5 and did a little bit but not as much as I wanted. I’m a horrible pacer. I wasn’t feeling bad though.
Part of my “no pressure” plan was to walk through the aid stations. I didn’t do that either, mostly because I’m stupid and undisciplined. I’m use to that after Mile 18, but I’m still working on Mile 6. Each time I reached the water table I thought I could make it to the next aid station, and since this was a no pressure run I could always walk more later. Stupid and undisciplined.
After Mile 7 I was able to slow down, but only because I didn’t like the boardwalk. The runners pounding on the deck made the ground move around, inducing a bit of vertigo for me. By this point I figured my fast pace was going to do some damage around Mile 11 so I tried even harder to slow down. Mile 8 was almost perfect at 9:06 as I decided to target 9:09 for a two hour pace. With a bunch of time in the bank I could slow down quite a bit and still hit that.
Gosh darnit if I didn’t speed up for Mile 9 again, but that’s four miles left. I promised myself that I’d take it easy on Mile 10, for sure this time. And, I had to slow down because the hill up Fort Wadsworth was a killer hill. If I wasn’t going to slow down on my own, the running gods would force me.
But then I gained most of it back on Mile 11. At that point I figured I could survive two more miles. Just in case, I’d recover during Mile 12 and I was pretty good about that.
Look at those big hills
In the middle of Mile 13 I took advantage of the porta-potties figuring I had plenty of time and the line after the finish corral would be long. No one uses the ones right before the finish so they are usually clean and fully stocked. My stomach had been gurgling since the boardwalk, so, why not?
I got going again after a short walk and ran in strong to finish is just over two hours gun time, and 30 seconds to spare on my watch as I crossed home plate on the field for the Staten Island Yankees.
I wish I had worn a heart rate monitor for this one. Even though I was running faster than I expected (or wanted), I think I kept my heart rate and breathing under control. I was never pushing it. I wonder if that was actually true. I always think I look like I’m running smoothly then I see the pictures.
This is after trying to not try after a lazy summer of very little running. I could try to imagine how much better I would have done with training and preparation but I know how that turns out. It’s always the opposite.