A one mile sprint and 2 marathons

So, the question I wanted to answer was: Did the Mt. Rainier training and the actual experience make me a better runner? One month later, my conclusion is – not really. Nevertheless, it didn’t make me any worse. The path to the marathon continues with a double whammy this year: the Chicago marathon and NYC marathon just 3 weeks apart. But there is strategy to this madness, one marathon serves as my final long run practice session for the other. Well, I think it’s a clever plan.

For the past 6 weeks, the marathon training went on as usual: the 5 bridge 18 mile route with friends, the lonely 16 mile long run in the neighborhood, the awful 20 mile long run in 85 degrees, the merciful 13 mile long run, and of course all of the 10k speed and hill sessions after work. Is it just me or does this whole running thing not excite me as it used to? Did the routine kill the thrill? Is it time for a new hobby? Hopefully this is just a phase and that the marathons will renew my motivation to be the best runner that I can be. To be honest, the one race that I was eager to run for the past few weeks was the 5th Avenue mile, a one mile race! Yep, just 20 city blocks or so.

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OFF TO THE RACES:
Fifth Avenue Mile @ Fifth Avenue – Central Park, NYC
September13th, 2014. 9:30AM and 68 degrees. 5,610 finishers.
Results: 6:09 pace, 1580th place, ~72% percentile, (C-)

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Have you ever wondered, what is your fastest mile? This race is the answer. My current PR for a 5k is 7:35 pace, so I figured that a good goal would be slightly under 7 minutes. 6:30 would be some sort of miracle.

Let’s fast forward to the part where I’m in the front lines in the male 30-34 group. “On your mark”, Boom! Oh man, we’re all running for our lives, like being chased by zombies or a T-rex, or just an old-fashioned outrunning explosions. The whole front line left me in the dust. Runners that were head to head with me are breathing so hard even with my iPod blasting, but so was I. Only 5 blocks in and I’m huffing and puffing while starting to slow down already, nooo. But wait, the large digital timer at the 1/4 mile mark says 1:30. According to my calculations… NO slowing down Jon, we can get 6:30 for sure!

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The second quarter-mile was uphill, God why? But who cares, we must fight! Damn, I missed the second clock and I can’t recalculate, and runners are passing me like crazy, ugh, so frustrating. I can’t slow down now, cmon!

The crowds became louder by the third quarter-mile. My mind has only 3 thoughts:
1. This is my only shot at this
2. It’s all over in a few minutes
3. As bad as it feels, do not slow down
As hard as I push, runners continue to zoom by, making me feel like I’m slowing down. Ugh, it’s so hard to breathe. Doesn’t matter, must give it my all. This is not a fun race. It’s a battle, and we all want to be victorious.

And the fourth quarter-mile, time to run for my life. We all know this is where you sprint to the death. If $100 bills were all over the street, we would all run past it. Everyone has their ugliest faces at this point. Grunting, squinting eyes, and teeth. Oh man, I feel like throwing up, but wait, I can see the finish line 3 blocks away, and the digital clock says… under 6:00! What!? I lost it and blacked out into rage mode. Finish! Final time, 6:09, a miracle for me. Whoa, I feel dizzy now and also a bit wheezy, but it was worth it.

Random Thoughts

The Chicago marathon is on October 12 and the NYC marathon is on November 2; there’s no turning back now.