The "Wall" Street Run. I'm emphasizing wall here because, well, I kinda hit one, and hard.
There's more than one type of wall you hit when running - but you know that, right? There's the metaphorical one that many of us, myself included, have hit later on in a marathon. The one where you're exhausted emotionally and physically, you're doubting yourself, and you just need need need to push on. That wall sucks; trust me, I've been there, in tears at mile 18 before the Gu kicks in and I can run again.
But then there's the other wall. The wall that is more physical than metaphorical. The wall that stops you, dead, that you have trouble psyching yourself out of. That's the wall I hit on Thursday night... the one caused by glycogen depletion (in a marathon) or by running anaerobically above your lactate threshold (in a shorter race) - something you can only do for so long until your body is producing more lactate than it can rid itself of and you crash and burn and don't set the PR you so desperately wanted and hate yourself afterwards.
My fastest pace as far as the NYRR is concerned - and this determines corral placement - is 10:12. But my recent 5k PR is 28:33. I really, really wanted to bring my pace into the 9s - should be easy, right? This race was my best shot, since it was a flat 3m course, and most of the NYRR races are 4+ mile, hilly Central Park races.
A few problems conspired against me:
-It was 90 degrees at the start, with humidity quite high.
-I had forgotten to eat lunch (busy day and yes I know how stupid this is).
-This race is crowded. So crowded. So so so crowded. The Wall St. course and the evening start time make it incredibly popular for the after work business crowd.
-My Garmin measured me having run 3.21m. Unbelievable but true: the crowds were so thick that I ran nearly 10% further than I had to.
Let's cut to the chase: my official time? 29:59, or a 10:00 pace. Bastards. My splits? 9:04, 8:51, 10:10 (yep, there's that wall), and 1:54 (9:03 pace for the additional .21).
I'm pleased with my splits and my pace. But at the same time, I was furious with the results. Overall, I should have sat this one out when I realized how toxic the weather plus crowds would be. I didn't need to do this to myself physically. Wasn't worth it. (Although it is a curiosity to be able to hone in close to my lactate threshold - is figuring out my VO2 max next?)
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"