When you've been slow your whole life there's nowhere to go other than up. I was a 10:30/mile runner not too long ago and still remember the exhileration of dipping below 10. Before I knew it I was down to 9:30, then 9 and finally sub-9. My first sub-9 race pace was in the 2006 Wall Street Run, a race run entirely on the streets of NYC's financial district. I wasn't necessarily trying, but I pulled off an 8:26 pace and I still can't believe I didn't throw up at the end.
After a disappointing run in the 2007 Chicago Marathon I decided I was going to be faster. I cut almost a minute off my mile that winter.
I've had a year of personal records as a result. I set my 5K PR at my first-ever triathlon, my 10K PR at the NYC Tri and my sub-4 marathon PR at the NYC Marathon. I set a stand-alone 10K PR at the Marine Corps Marathon 10K as well, but finally beat both 10K records today with my 49:49 finish in the Kleinerman 10K. This wasn't an important race. I had to do it to get my final qualifiers in for the 2009 NYC Marathon. But for whatever reason it just seemed to be my day.
I barely slept last night, I'm guessing 4.5 hours in total. I had a busy Saturday that culminated with a few (too many) beers with my friends. I was meeting my friend Jonah an hour before the race so it was too early to really eat. So I had coffee and more coffee before starting this race in the freezing cold. I wasn't expecting much, but hit 8 minutes on the first mile, which included the hideous Harlem Hill. Suddenly I was motivated. But then I dipped to 8:14. I was able to get back to 8 or below for the remainder and in the last 2 miles I realized I could break 50 minutes if I really pushed. I gave it everything I had, running a 7:38 pace from miles 5-6, then a 7:07 for the final .2. I was thrilled. It was another unexpectedly good day in a season full of bad days. Days like today give me confidence and hope that I have a very exciting year ahead.
Distance - 6.2 Miles (Kleinerman 10K)
Time - 49:49