On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

NYPD Memorial Run 5k

Sunday's race report.  A few days late.

Basically, I wanted to see if my Lincoln Tunnel sub-30 for the 5k was a fluke or if it was a harbinger of things to come (please, please the latter).  So I signed up on a lark.

While I was quesadilla-loading the night before - it's sort of like carb-loading, but with more cheese and fewer carbs - I looked up the results from a 10k in Central Park Saturday morning.  The winner finished in 27:42.  The first place woman came in at 33:09.  My 5k PR, set many, many years ago, is 25:40.  Meaning that even were I to knock this one out of the park, I would be twice as slow as these speed demons.  That's... demoralizing.  Luckily I'm used to the feeling.

Cut to the chase:  my time in the Lincoln Tunnel was not a fluke.  I finished this race in 28:33, a new (post-sickness) PR.  The race was a keeper, despite some chaos at the start over how to pick up one's race packet and where the start actually was.  They ran out of safety pins, but not t-shirts.  There were a lot of cops around - a lot.  A lot of "in memory of..." signs.  In fact, they were happy to print a personalized bib for you with your hero's name on it.  I saw a lot of "in memory of my partner/friend/husband" bibs, which made me sad.  Very sad.  There were also quite a few Daniel Faulkner t-shirts, and the race started at 10:13 (the radio code for "officer in distress").

Although there was d-tag timing, there was no mat at the start.  The race wasn't corralled/seeded, and I inadvertently lined up right at the start - I swear I didn't actually mean to, but there was some chaos about where the start exactly was, and by the time I figured out what was going on I was at the orange tape with 2000 runners/walkers behind me.  Being passed, consistently, for the first mile was kind of lame, but I stayed off to the side and chugged that one off in 9:20. 9:27 saw me hit mile 2, and I still had some (barely any) left to push through the last .1 after a sub 9-minute mile 3.  The race was an out-and-back on the miserable, miserable West Side Highway, which somehow manages to make it seem like the road is made of solid stone - it's so hard - and that it's 95 degrees out whenever you're in the sun no matter what the actual temp is.  I collected my memorial towel at the finish (a nice touch) and went to Barnes & Noble to buy "Circle of Six," which came highly recommended by one of the cops I met at the start.

All in all a successful race, and I can honestly say that I felt like I tried, hard, and ran well for it.  Of course, now it raises all sorts of questions for me...  Dare I try to improve even more?  It's so tempting to want to run short and fast, even though I know that my longterm goals fall into the long and slow category, and I can't do both at once.  But...  but...  but?  NO, Tracy, increasing my mileage is more important now.


  1. Quesadillas!!!

    Seriously - last mile sub 9:00? After quesadilla loading? Well played, woman, well played!

  2. I should probably clarify that (I'll have to check my Garmin, but...) I believe it was 8:59.9.

  3. Good job. Who says you can't train to run faster while you are running long???

  4. Congrats on great race! I agree with Sarah. You cans still work on speedwork and train for distance at the same time.