Sunday, March 25, 2018

The Road To Redemption{ And San Francisco} Starts Here......

There's an old adage in running that you are only as good as your last last race was the Nov 19th Philadelphia Shit Show......sorry I meant Philadelphia Marathon and while not wishing to continue that diatribe let it be stated" for the record" that the  bitter disappointment of that race has "fueled a fire" inside me for the last few months, as John Lydon once sang "anger is an energy" and often in running I feel I run best when I either  have a chip on my shoulder.....or a point to prove......sometimes both......

January was a bitch to train in given I lost the opening two weeks to a two week long sub zero arctic blast but slowly but surely I got back out there to log semi reasonable miles
Febuary was much better in terms of conditions and miles logged,mid week runs became 12 milers I was no stranger to longer runs over 13 and 16 miles on the weekends and when March arrived I went w/ one 17 miler and one 8 mile tempo run.
Come March 25th and race day at the Philly Love Run 1/2 marathon I was confident of a 1.30 finish,7 min miles would get home in 1.31 so I "hedged my bets slightly" that I could better Septembers Rock & Roll 1/2 marathon of 1.30.16.
In the realm of the "once bitten,twice shy" saying I made sure the "cock up of biblical proportions"  that screwed me in the Marathon  wasn't  repeated,I arrived on the Ben Franklin Parkway at 6.30am an hour b4 gun time and even though it was "a bit taters" out there at that time {32 degrees} I made sure I was  stripped down to race gear by 6.55am and my gear bag safely on the UPS Gear Bag truck and in my corral a full half hour b4 the start.
Was it cold?.....fuck yeah it was cold but I thought "warm thoughts" and relied on the fact I'd gone w/ the correct running attire for a 7.30am start at the end of March,Thermal hat, Thermal gloves,long sleeved running shirt under my Kenya running vest,three quarter length compression tights under my shorts,only my calves were exposed to the "elements" and even thought my first few steps at the horn felt like my feet were two ice blocks and opening few miles even w/ thermal gloves my fingers felt numb I was "good to go"

Given the Blue corral behind the elites and fastest runners I couldn't have asked for a clearer start down the Parkway and as I made my way up the JFK Parkway I logged a 5.58 opening mile.....
According to "my detractors" last time out I should've known my pace was too brisk,unlike last time out "shock horror probe" mile markers  in  clear view, a sub 6 felt comfortable so I saw no reason to back off
6.01 for mile two,two miles in a 2 mins ahead of the scheduled pace I'd set myself,granted 11 more miles to go but  this was something along the lines of my 30th half marathon since Leicester way back in 1985......#notmyfirstrodeo
Around City Hall,down Market St to 5th and back up Arch St I now clocked a 6.32 mile 18.31, still "playing w/ house money", I missed the 4 mile marker{probably going back up the Parkway} but thanks to Garmin I can confirm it was a 6.43 mile for 25.14

Out along West River Drive I passed the 5 mile marker in 6.44 for  31.58 at 7 min mile pace I'd have been looking at 35 mins so providing it didn't go "tits up /pear shaped" over the last 8 miles I was on for a "banner day"
At this stage I began to focus on the runners ahead of me using the old "reel one in each mile" ploy, sure I was getting passed by other runners at this stage but at least I wasn't in "no mans land"
BOO!!!! 7.01 for mile 6 and 38.59 still 3  mins ahead of schedule,back down to sub 7s at mile 7 w/ a 6.58 for 45.17
Heading towards Strawberry Mansion bridge there was a pack of us so I drafted off the back of them,as the "proverbial Boy Scout" I had done my homework/research on the course and knew we were going over Strawberry Mansion bridge.....which meant a sharp incline, I guess  a runner behind me wasn't aware of this "wrinkle" in the race and exclaimed a loud audible "fuck!!!" when  he saw the field heading up the incline
Said incline probably resulted in my slowest mile split of the day a still respectable 7.12 for 52.29 at mile 8 as we looped around the  Robin Hood Dell East venue and back across Strawberry Mansion bridge..... not  because I work at Einstein I know that "what goes up,must come down" and sure enough a down ramp off of Strawberry Mansion bridge back to West River Dr
6.43 split 59.12 for mile 9 still over three mins in hand but also w/ my next race a 15k{9.3 miles} an endorsement that going sub 60 is not a pipe dream.

Making the turnaround and now heading back towards the finish at the foot of the Art Museum steps along W.River Dr I symbolically rolled my sleeves up b4 we hit mile 10,one I was finally warm enough to do so,two we were now getting to the business end of things....and I meant business!
6.52 split 66.04 having passed the 11 and 12 mile markers on the way out to the turnaround I had a visual of were they'd be on the inbound section and continued to drive myself towards a possible sub 1.30
 I was a little in "no mans land" to be fair but also very much "in the zone" all I had to do was keep doing what I'd been doing thus far
6.57 for mile 11  1.13.01 little by little a couple of runners ahead of began to go backwards,I knew how they felt in September at the Rock & Roll 1/2 I was going "gangbusters" until Falls bridge and then the final 4 miles began to take a toll on me,interestingly in this campaign I had  a 17 miler under my belt prior to the 1/2,in September my first 17 miler was post race,perhaps why I felt strong and based on mile splits consistent as fuck

6.48 at mile 12, 1.19.49....or thereabouts as I realize that the 100ths of seconds probably make my actual time closer to 1.22,infact I recall seeing 1.21.47 on my Garmin but still inside the 1.24 7 min mile pace would've had me.....and only a mile to go,my feet weren't failing me now as I recalled hearing Jen Rhines once at a PDR Expo say inside the final 2 miles you have to give it everything you've got......cos it's only 2 miles
I saw one more runner coming back to me and  under the Spring Garden St bridge I went by him,I was going to be close to 1.30 so "pedal to the metal"....
A 6.40 mile and 1.28.03 on my Garmin......200m to go this is well and truly "Pale Kenyan Time"  and while I joke about being 'Eeyore" at work cos I "do all the Donkey work" in my running w/ 200m to go be it track,road or cross country I'm kickin' like a mother fuckin' Donkey.....
Clipped one last runner b4 the finish line to cross the line in 1.29.03 off of 6.42 mile pace....
132nd overall,110th in the men's field      HOWEVER third in the 50-54 age group which means more race swag for the Pale Kenyan......not bad for a runner who "can't judge pace??" eh

The medal I won today is #175 in my career,I need 25 more to get to 200 and hopefully as long as my body holds up I'm "all in" to make that happen
Does today make up for Nov 19th?,nothing will make up for that,however b4 I consign  today to" I'm only as good as my last race" I am going to savour the performance and bask in it's afterglow....till Tuesday when I begin to re set my sights on the next race a 15k,I said going into today 7 min mile pace was the target w/ the hopes that come the 15k and then the next two subsequent 1/2 marathons in May and June I was down to 6.30 pace,7.00 to 6.30 is a huge drop....but off of 6.42 pace today not unrealistic and that's the motivation when the next phase of "Road To Redemption" kicks off Tuesday afternoon

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