Thursday, June 17, 2010

Ran the 2010 JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge tonight - a PR and no knee Pain!!!

Tonight, I ran the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge. Last year, this was the race that got me interested in running and eventually into marathon running, completing 2 marathons over the last year.

This was my first race since the Wisconsin Marathon on May 1st. I've been hurt for 3 months, was lucky to complete the Wisconsin Marathon, and have only run around 8 times since May 1st, as I have been rehabbing my knees via physical therapy, focusing on strengthening my legs. This PT has definitely been working, as my knees and IT bands are much better. Biking has also improved my leg strength, and I definitely feel stronger and more stable in my legs.  While my legs feel stronger, but there is no question that my endurance is far below where it was a few months ago. I haven't done any speed work in months, as I've been focusing on running pain free and easy (around 8:30 per mile). 

Keeping all of this in mind, I went into tonight's race with 2 goals. 1) run pain free and 2) push the pace if no pain. My time goal was to be sub 8:00 per mile (last year, my pace was 8:05 per mile). I wasn't sure that I could hold a sub 8:00 pace today for 3.5 miles in very hilly Central Park.  When I signed up for this race a few months ago, I thought that this might be the race that I could run at sub 7:00 per mile pace (my best pace for a 4 mile race was 7:11 per mile earlier this year). 
Last year, I was very frustrated early during this race, as it was incredibly crowded (over 15,000 runners), so I had a tough time running fast.  It took me over 3 minutes to get off the start line and there was no chip to track my time.  This year, JP Morgan did it right.  They put in place 2 elite corals for fast runners to start in, all the way at the front of the race (a red corral for elite runners and a yellow corral for fast runners).  I got a yellow sticker and started near the front.  This was key for me this year.  It was still crowded at the start, but it opened up quickly and I was able to run at whatever speed I wanted early.   They also but a chip on our bibs to track our time.
I really like this race, despite how crowded it is.  There are so many companies represented, mostly financial companies.  I love that people get out there to run this race. 
So, I was probably 250 people back from the start line at the start.  The horns went off and the race began.  It started a little slow but opened up quickly.  The great thing about starting near the front is that everybody around you is fast and wants to run a good time.  This pushes me to push myself.  Last night I had a gig with our band Come Together, a Beatles and Rolling Stones cover band, so I wasn't home until late and didn't get a lot of sleep.  The gig was at the Essex House on Central Park south for a Mount Sinai OB/GYN resident graduation party (our drummer is a OB/GYN surgeon at Sinai). The gig was awesome.  It was formal, and people were dancing from our first song.  I love when people dance while we play.  Anyway, I digress.  I've been fighting a cold all week and have been very congested.  I took some cold medicine in the morning because I felt crappy.  I knew that this would likely elevate my heart rate during the run, but I felt like I needed it. 

Mile 1
The first mile of the race is uphill, so I decided to take it easy out of the gate.  About 0.25 miles in, I looked down at my watch and it said my pace was 8:07.  A minute later 8:09.  It felt hard and my heart rate was way up.  All of the sudden, I felt some unexpected energy and started to push uphill.  At about 0.90 miles I looked down at my watch again and my pace was about 7:10 per mile.  At the 1 mile split, it read 7:03.  "Sweet", I thought to myself.  I was surprised at how easy I was running and questioned whether my watch was correct, but the mile 1 time clock read the same time, so I knew it was real.

Mile 1 split - 7:03, average heart rate 173

Mile 2
After mile 1, I thought to myself, maybe I have a shot at a sub 7:00 per mile race.  I knew that my endurance wasn't strong right now, but I thought I would go for it.  Mile 2 has rolling hills, so I decided to take advantage of the downhills.  I looked down at my watch at 0.25 miles into the 2nd mile and my pace was in the 6:30s.  I thought to myself "this doesn't feel that hard, let's see if I can maintain this pace for the entire mile".  Sure enough, when I got to the 102nd street transverse, which I knew was uphill, I couldn't hold it, as I was totally exhausted.  My endurance just wasn't what it was a few months ago.  My mile 2 split time started to slip...6:50, 6:55, and finally I ended the split at 7:11.  I didn't know what my heart rate was (I don't check it when I run races), but I knew that it was high, as I was working hard starting at 1.75 miles into the race.

Mile 2 split - 7:11, average heart rate 186

Mile 3
For me, this is the toughest part of the course.  It is net uphill on the east side of the park until 90th street, then it has rolling hills.  I said to myself, "keep pushing", but my endurance just wasn't there.  I thought to myself  "man, I need to do speed work with the 6am New York Flyers group again.  Why are their runners able to hold their pace in the 6:30s?  It is because they train for it.  They work hard.  You need to work harder".  For most of this mile, I was averaging around 7:40 per mile, so I pushed at the end of mile 3 and ended up with a mile 3 split of 7:31, as I worked hard for the last quarter mile of mile 3 (I set my watch to show me my current mile lap only, so that pushes me to maximize my mile splits).  At this point, I was totally exhausted, extremely thirsty (I actually thought about getting water but didn't because I didn't want to slow down).  I felt a little queasy.  My average heart rate of 189 was extremely high - I have never run a race getting it this high before.

Mile 3 split - 7:31, average heart rate 189

Mile 3 to 3.5 miles (0.50 miles)
I knew that I would get the benefit of the large downhill at Cat Hill during the last half mile.  However, when I got to the hill, I just didn't have any gas left.  My pace down the hill was 7:18 or so as I looked at my watch.  I said to myself "that's fine, I really don't feel like running any faster right now".  When I got to the bottom of the hill, I pushed the pace, running hard for the last 0.25 miles (hitting a pace of 4:51 per mile at one point).  I finished with a 6:55 pace for the last 0.50 miles, crossed the finish line, and was exhausted but happy that I had no knee pain at all (not even a tweak) and that I finished with a good time.  The bursitis behind my left knee bothered me a little bit, but not much.

last 0.50 miles  - 6:55, average heart rate 191 (with a peak of 197).

Overall  - 3.5 miles, 7:12 pace (a PR for this distance and 1 second off of my best 4 mile pace of 7:11 per mile), average heart rate 184 for the entire race, total time 25:29.  My time this year was 3 minutes and 18 seconds faster than my time last year (28:47).

Click Here for the Garmin summary from my watch with my splits.  Check out the player tab too.

After the race, I took an ice bath with Epsom salts and felt great.  No pain!

I'm encouraged by this race and am very excited that I am getting healthy.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome race - and congrats on the pain free run!
    May there be many more...