After a bit of a tussle with NYRR in recent days, it decided to make it up to me by putting my name on the front of the shirt everyone got for the Kleinerman 10K. A nice gesture indeed.

Pre-Race

Today was that race. Sandra wanted a race to get a baseline of my condition. This was a club race too. So into the City I drove for the 8am start. Mike G had gotten my number — no authorization required — and after parking by Marcus Garvey Park I jogged down to his place on Madison between 95th and 96th. I saw lots of runners heading to the Park, and I was a tad concerned about being late, so I picked up my warm-up pace. Got the number pinned on and headed into the Park.

As with most wintery NYRR races, this one finished at the 102nd Street Transverse and thus started at about 100th Street on the East Park Drive. This is a counter-clockwise lap, so you crest the one Harlem Hill you climb just at the one-mile mark.

I chatted with fellow WSSACer Jim Stemm and the Urban Athletics Rich Temerian as we got into the corral. This too was a bit touch and go since the baggage check was on the Transverse, and so a goodly ways from the start. But everything worked out and I made it in plenty of time.

Last year Warren Street’s Men’s Masters team was tied with Urban Athletics going into this race and won the title by winning the race. Today Warren Street had a bit of a lead going in and with Paul and Jorge, our top two masters, present, we were pretty confident. It was cool, though, to have the announcer noting beforehand how the big club battle would be in that division with those teams, the others presumably having been decided already. (There is a discussion on the club-competition structure on the recent New York Running Show.)

My left knee’s been bothering me again recently, but chiefly when I’m not running. It aches off-and-on during runs. It’s not debilitating though. I had some concern about it — and it would indeed ache during the race — but figured it’d be OK, and it was.

The Race

Races have lives of their own. There are good stretches and there are bad ones. For this race there were plenty of both. Fortunately, though, the latter were towards the start and the former closer to the finish. In the end, this race felt so very long for the first 3+ miles. I hit 3 at about 18:51 (the mile split had been 6:15). That got me to Tavern on the Green (or whatever it is now called). As we turned east, briefly into the sun, I turned from Hyde to Jekyll. A bit more relaxed, a bit more smooth. The bleeding of runner after runner passing me ended and I became a passer. Sure, my steps did not seem to take me closer to the finish but I knew they were.

Up Cat Hill — with a wave — and to 5 and I knew I was going to finish strong. And then wondering when the damn 6-mile mark would come. A bit of calculation assured me that it would be almost exactly where the start was, and there it was. And I held it through the finish. 38:36.

A respectable 82.1 on the age-graded scale. I was our number 2 50+ and with Jim Stemm and John Nelson we came up with third in the age group. At Healthy-Kidney we were second (with Jonathan S), but otherwise this was easily our best performance of the year. (Jim Stemm turned 50 in June.) Although CPTC’s 50+ men ran the table (winning every race), we may be able to give it a run next year, although we lack its numbers.

And the Men’s Masters won the race and the title.

The Recap

In the race’s early stages I was a tad despondent. I realized, though, that apart from some fast repeats, I’ve not done anything fast in a long while. You can’t race fast if you haven’t trained fast, and (depending on what Sandra has in mind) some tempos will likely be hugely important. I never felt Horrible even if the miles seemed to pass sooooo sloooooowly. Head down, though, the end-game turned from a schlog to a solid effort., one not much slower than my 10Ks earlier in the year. So I’m pleased.

Aftermath

I mentioned on the New York Running Show that clubs are a solid way to meet with people, and after the race we headed to a diner at 96th and Madison for breakfast. A number of other runners were there, including a large Front Runners contingent. We had a solid turn-out and an enjoyable post-race meal. (I also saw my SSRMC-mate Mark Thompson after the finish, who was justifiably pleased with the solid effort he put in, and we did a bit of a warm-down with some WSSACers.)

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