Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Not Quite Winner Winner Chicken Dinner......But Close Enough!

As has become my won't over the past several seasons,the "Fall Classic" ie 5th Avenue Mile is the curtain call on my season,sure I'll do a few xc races and shock horror maybe a road race between October and December{said road race IS in Central Park afterall!!!} but this was it for my "competitive" season........let's try and go out w/ a bang yeah?!!!

I love 5th Avenue Mile,it's probably my favourite race of the season,having finished runner up behind my good friend Gerry O Hara but ahead of my other good friend Conor O Driscoll last year....{I know the odds of finding three Paddies in New York City are remote.....and even more remote when we're running and not propping up a bar in Manhatten!!!} I was eager to claim "bragging rights" this year.
Even though they've pushed up the date of the race from late Sept to mid Sept and have been known to rotate between Saturdays or Sundays one constant is the weather,always mild mostly sunny great racing weather and good spectating weather,trust me hammering down 5th Avenue w/ a few hundred New Yorkers yelling encouragement is always a boost to your performance,and I should know this was my  8th 5th Avenue Mile in 10 years.

Arriving in Midtown just after 9am I took a slow walk up 5th Avenue from 34th St stopping only for a Venti Earl Grey tea at Starbucks and a quick sign of the cross in front of St Patricks cathederal.....Tea and God two things no self respecting Irishman can function w/out!!!!!
I arrived at the start line w/ enough time to pick up my race number and collect my race tshirt a rather fetching Blue number which will match my eyes......or so I'm told! and drop off my bag at baggage hold,time for a stretch and warm up and then into the cattle pen......!!!!

It fries my arse that each other age group gets to run men and women seperately but for whatever dumb reason 50-59 gets lumped together,a joke in of it's self but coupled w/ the  sheer numbers of partisipants in the 50-59 age group would it not make more sence to run us the same as everyone else? what are  we talking here an extra 10 mins????? I know some women who refuse to run 5th Avenue Mile as they don't care for being "manhandled" at the start,do I think it will ever change? probably not,would I like someone at NYRRC to take heed of not just my concern but the collective concern of the 50-59 age group......Hells Kitchin Yeah!!!

Unable to get closer to the start as I would prefer and have done in the past I settled for where I was maybe 5/6 rows back,w/ hindsight  an error on my part  and clearly something I would kick myself for once the gun went off.
Getting a clear run on the right hand side of 5th Avenue after the initial "fustercluck" of a start I began to make my way down the iconic stretch of road in Upper Manhatten off to my left and some considerable way infront of me the lead pack including Gerry,Connor and Peter Kashulines and Gladstone Jones were well clear of me.....
76 seconds at 400m I was hoping for 70 at least,maybe eyed eyed optimisim on my part but the "herd mentallity" at the starting line hadn't helped any.
Reasonably sure I saw 2.32 at 800m back to back 1.16 splits,if I had any designs on getting upto the leaders I would have to "let the clutch out" on the third quarter/lap to make up ground.

Don't recall my my 1,200m split but I was making ground on the inside, a few runners were beginning to peel off the lead pack as Gerry & Conner continued to hammer away a decent pace w/ Peter trying to stay in touch......
Between friends and team mates yelling encouragement from the sidewalk plus drawing "come on USA" cheers from strangers who appreciated my Stars and Stripes bandanna and Team USA Red and Blue speed suit I began to claw back the real estate I'd lost b4 the gun went off but w/ the finishline looming I was gonna run out of said real estate...........

Gerry pulled out the win in 4.46 followed by Conor in 4.47 and Peter in 4.48,remarkably I clocked a 4.48 but was a few meters behind Peter so clearly they were going by chip time,I could be "cute" and say I tied for 3rd but I crossed the line 4th and that's how I'm writing it up.
Remarkably the same top 4 as last year but in a different order last year: Gerry,Me,Conor,Peter, this year: Gerry,Conor,Peter,Me......next year? well we'll have to wait and see how that pans out won't we.
I could kick myself for not getting a better start and while I'm not happy w/ that long b4 I returned home to Philly I'd made peace w/ it,my post race dinner of Pizza and Ice Cream tasted pretty darn good to me....but that had EVERYTHING to do w/ who I had dinner w/.............

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