Tuesday, June 17, 2008

President's Cup

The President's Cup Night Race, Monday night, was my first race since November 2007's New York City Marathon. Seven months, during which I have skied and biked a lot, but have not run relatively as much as my usual yearly cycle. With almost all Achilles and heel pain gone, I went into this 5K with no expectations beyond finishing with a time I can work with for planning workout paces around.

The President's Cup is a wonderful experience. It is on one of the longest days of the year every June. It starts at 8 PM and finishes to free Sam Adams, a DJ and a runner party. I know a hundred people at this race; people I have raced and ran with for the past 34 years. This year my "non-racing" fit friends that live in Millburn ran the race. That was great to see, because I felt I exposed them to this race as spectators. In years past, they could not believe that the highly placed socio-economic profile town of Millburn would host such an openly public alcohol-fueled party.

After a brief thunderstorm I ran a 20 minute warm up. I needed a long warm up because all I have in my running bank is distance running. I have done no race-paced running in way over seven months. The race is a two-lap course around the business district of Millburn. I ran the course's lap in the opposite direction that it is raced and proceeded to say hello to about 90 of the 100 runners I personally know and talk to and run against and with that attend this race. It was a mental and spiritual warm-up as well as a physical one because it just felt great to see all these people and be out at a race again.

I started farther back than I usually do to force myself to go out easy. There was a good crowd, so the tactic worked. I still ran my first mile in 6:06 and felt pretty good. This surprised me, because the last time I ran a mile that fast may have been July of 2007! The middle mile felt fine, and the final mile was a bit of work. My finishing chip time was 19:10, which averages to 6:11/mile. Not bad on about 25 miles of running per week.

More to come....

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