EASTER SHINE BRIGHT – LI HALF MARATHON

So the two weeks between returning from Charlotte and the Long Island half marathons posed some interesting schedule tests for me. We both were actually more tired when we got back from Charlotte since we had been up early each day and all about till night. We slept good for a few days and shook off any travel fatigue – happier thoughy to have a shorter work week for Easter. I got a chance to train long on Good Friday and then take the train into the city to meet Gina for some coffee while trying to get her out of work early. I still hate commuting on the bus/train and give her loads of credit for doing it each day. It’s an interesting way to observe and just say “what the….” or “really?” to the things people do and to people themselves. We took the time to just get some extra walking in, people watching like we like to do in the city, and enjoy a java and snack. She did get out early which helped give us a jump start to the weekend.  

 We had plans to visit her sister for Easter and we finally got a taste as to what a summer day would feel like. I got up early and enjoyed a warm, humid run – in the mid 60′s and it was only 6am!! The streets were holiday quiet and awesome to just feel within and go deep into reflection. I heard each breath, heard each bird singing, and the occasional hum of a car go by. Priceless. From here, we walked over to church and then enjoyed a leisure breakfast together. We had a chance to talk about things while the door remained wide open, letting the sun and warm breeze into the house. Once we got to her sister’s, it was all r&r. Oh, and the delicious meal and desserts prepared by some of LI’s best home chef’s! Unfortunately, by the time we left, we drove home in some traffic and rain, almost reminding us that it was time to wash things anew and be ready for another normal weekday.

I continued to train at normal levels, a few intense sessions, but was running with co-worker Matt Rivas each lunch break to get in an easy run and also get him some extra running in as he prepares for his first 5K. He has made great strides in the past 4 months and at 51, thinks he can break 30 minutes in his first attempt. I think so too. My plan for the LI half race was to really run hard, but on the premise that I have maintained in each running event this season –  race hard on “tired” legs brought on by the tri training I have been doing in order to best simulate running off the bike. I have begun adding these bricks to my training, but each road race worked off that idea and I have tried to run faster paces as each month of base progressed. This was all showing in my results, and LI was to be the final test.

So Thursday in the wee night hours I go for a drink of Nuun and returning to bed I jam my pinkie toe on the weight bench. Holy $%#@ that hurt bad and I was down in some pain. It was residual, but enough of a moan to wake Gina up and warrant some serious icing and BioFreeze. That morning I get up and sure enough a nice solid black and blue. Nothing major, I’ve stubbed my middle toes like this back at Hood to Coast, but enough to know to just bike train and go easy on the walking while icing it every few hours. Gina got up early to see the Royal Wedding and I just didn’t get it. These people have no real power, but they are robbing the poor English people blind. They’re celebrities really. I’m happy for them, don’t get me wrong, but more pomp than anything ( her sister Pippa looked better).  After a work week completed, Gina and I took out for some Thai food washing it down with some sangria preparing for the weekend while I soaked my feet in an ice basin. I got up Saturday morning and gave it a nice 45 minute run test and the foot passed. All good, but still some lovely colors. No pain though. We took our time for breakfast and did some errands including heading to the expo for check-in. We talked with a few regulars and the organizers have really set this event up for a fun, family weekend on Long Island. I remember back in high school doing this event with FPC and his crew, and I recommend this event to anyone which now includes a 5K, 10K, Half, and Full marathon. The weather was overcast and we hoped for a better race day. Eimear had sent us some Dippin’Sauce and we laced it over our chicken/pasta dinner. See last journal regarding the sauce, but it’s now magic in the pre-race meal plan. Yo!

Being only 20 minutes away, we get to awake with sun up and now it’s awesome! Easter brings early AND later light the way I like it! Today, blue skies, no wind and already in the 50′s. Perfect! Easy there, easy park, good warm up walk to the start. Fun to check out other runners, their kicks, gear choices, etc. I felt fine and was ready to rip – especially after ripping into another ClifShot turbo. A final test and we can then progress into triathlons! Make it count. Geared in Polar and layered in Aquaphor, I attached my RS800 and get locked in. I gve a kiss and hug to G and line it up. I’m ready. Three deep breaths. Time to shine.

Off we go and immediately by the first mile there are two packs. The first one with a bunch was out so wasn’t even worth looking at that. Then I got into one of 6 guys that seemed good, until we go through the first mile in 5:50. I see a few guys looking around and wondering if they want to keep this pace. I don’t bother, I’m going faster and slowly separate, now focusing on keeping someone in front of me to peel off. I pass mile 2 and get a glimpse of Gina as we pass the start line again on the course. All good. I am zoned in and now work each mile to clip the few in front. The gaps were big, but manageable. My pace was on and with the 10K runners overlapping, the crowds were around until the splt at mile 4 (just like Racefest). But the weather was soooo comfortable, I pushed on straights and caught 2 guys. I take my only hydration at a watr stop and then I hear a runner behind me. He was from the first pack and now he passes me. That’s fine, but I hung onto his back. We had a head wind, he was taller than me, so what the heck? He kept giving looks over his shoulder and I just gave him room. We start going through miles close to and under 5;40. Hell yeah!!! We start passing some other guys. I finally give him pause as after another 5:30 mile at 8, I figure let him go a bit. I kept him in sight within 100 yards since he caught 2 more guys – and so did I. A true train ride!!! Once at the final long stretch during mile 10, we again begin to overlap the back of the 10K walkers. I snuck up on him by dropping the hammer and closing the gap. Now I am 50 yards away. Mile 12. He keeps giving shoulder looks. Hell, I just might have him!! Entering the park, I’m starting to jack. A 5:21. We can do this – 25 yards. I’m bobbing and weaving all these walkers now and he can’t see me. People yell -”You got him!!” I crank.

As I get within 15 yards of him I see he still has a kick and he hits it. I see I am going to break 1:15, and my legs now start to feel it. I adjust not to injure and knew I was out of real estate. The last mile goes 5:17 and I finish 10 seconds behind him in 1:14:35!!!!!!!!!! And I finish in the top10!!!! A 2 minute inprovement in 2 weeks, with bigger training week and I feel great!!! I learn I finish 3rd in my age group as well!! I quickly make my way to Gina – made easier by the great organization of the finish line area – and the usual hug and kisses! Awesome!!! The sun was beating down nicely and I quickly went for a 10 minute jog to cool down and do a body check. By now, all the 10K people are finished and people start finishing by the dozen. Gina and I walked around, cheered, met and greeted some runners we knew, and celebrated. Frank from Sunrise Tri had his usual team tent setup and there we talked a bit with him and some fellow Sunrise Tri members. Good times and we thanked him for the hospitality. A quick drink and a nibble on an Odwall bar and we took the long walk back to the X. It wasn’t even 11am and it felt like mid afternoon! We loved every minute of it. The usual stretching, wipe down, and cleaning up before heading to the diner where I treated her for breakfast, just rehashing the race over pancakes. By the time we got home, we cleaned the patio a bit and sat in the sun while taking turns soaking our feet in the ice bath basin. A cool breeze inside made for a great nap on the couch and Gina took advantage of it. Good for her as she used the rest of the day to catch up on some sleep. And of course ending it with some sangria over dinner!

Overall, I am very pleased with my base and run tests. All 5 events went well and I placed in top 10 for each. Now I have the month of May to transition and mix the bag up. My next main event will be traveling to the Wilson’s for the Buffalo Springs 70.3 half-ironman in Lubbock. We will do the Montauk bike ride in a few weeks, along with the LI MacArthur Airport 5k on June 5th with her sisters and nephews (and Rivas!).  I am going to like this month, but there is plenty we have to go through not only training wise, but in our preparation for the rest of the year. It is hectic on paper, so stay tuned as we have some interesting events that have developed and are in serious talks as to how to proceed from here. I will compose another journal closer to Memorial Day (and G’s birthday!!!) which will detail what’s on tap.  So enjoy this Easter season and start shining bright!

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