Saturday, February 20, 2010

Running for Haiti

This morning I was all excited for the New York Road Runner's Run for Haiti. It was a 4-mile run and I had been planning on just going out and really pushing myself hard and finishing under 40 minutes. The race was scheduled to start at 9:00. I walked to the park and then jogged from the bottom of the park up to the corral for 10-minute milers. I got into the corral at about 8:45, so I thought that was pretty good as I didn't think I'd have long to wait.

Except that there were 10,000 some people in the park who were also going to be Running for Haiti. The good news in that fact is that close to half a million dollars were raised to go towards the relief effort. The very bad news is that this was not a race to be setting any sort of time goals or personal records. Here's a good picture to give you some sort of indication as to how many people were there:

I had a really slow start. I didn't even cross the start line until 9:15, which meant that I was pretty cold by the time I got going. It was about 40 degrees and sunny, which was nice, but still not very warm when you're standing around waiting. I wore tights, shorts, a short-sleeved shirt, long-sleeved shirt, windbreaker, hat and gloves. Once I was actually running, I'm not sure I needed all that and ended up taking my hat and gloves off, but I was glad that I had it for standing around and especially for walking home after the race.

My first mile was over 10 minutes, which was really frustrating to me. I had thought that it might be smart to run on the inside of the road, but there were a lot of walkers and puddles of melting snow to dodge there. My second mile ended up being just about 10 minutes, slightly faster than the first. Somewhere after mile 2, I realized that no matter what, the race just wasn't going to thin out and open up for better running conditions. This was also about the time that I got pushed in the back while running. Granted, I understand that because it was so crowded that there was going to be a lot of knocking of shoulders and elbows, but this was different and was a literal push from behind, which I didn't think was so cool.

By the time I got to mile 3, I was just over the whole thing. There was a fluid station, so I got a cup of water and walked while I drank it. I knew that there was no way that I would be setting a PR, so I might as well just accept this race for what it was. I thought a lot about my half-marathon next month and how I have some time goals in mind for that race as well. I wonder if I should just throw those out the window so that I don't become as frustrated as I did today. I think it might be in my best interest to just tell myself that I'm going to do my best under the conditions of the race, whatever those may be. At least, that's my plan right now.

Once the race was over and I was walking home, I heard a lot of people complaining about the same thing that I had been frustrated with. A couple of guys who were aiming for 6-minute miles said that they had trouble with 6:45-minute miles. So, I guess I should be happy that I wasn't that much slower than my ideal time.

I will say that while this wasn't the race I was planning on having this morning, it was a good learning experience for me. I think that's probably a good thing overall. Even though I'm disappointed in myself and my times, I know that I can't really blame myself and I did the best I could under the conditions of the race. If I had pushed people out of my way, perhaps I could have done it under 40 minutes, but that extra 1:07 isn't the end of the world.

Time: 41:07
Distance: 4.00 miles
Pace: 10:16/mile
Calories: 532
Maximum HR: 191
Average HR: 172

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