Name of the race: Brooklyn Mile
Where: Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
Date: August 21, 2017
Time: 10:10 am for the Open Women’s Heat
Distance: 1 mile
Entry fee: $40 + fee
Post-race Food: Apples, bananas, donuts, hot coffee, iced coffee, Birch water, and free beer
Swag: Tech t shirt, beer glass, and free photos
Performance: Overall: N/A; Gender: 92/282; Age (30-39): N/A
Weather: 79 degrees, 67% humidity
If I have a love/hate relationship with 5Ks, then I really have a love/hate relationship with one-milers. Nothing gets my stomach all tied up in knots like a one-miler. The distance is short enough that if I mess up the pacing, I don’t have much room to correct for it, but it’s also too long to go balls outs from the start. Nothing, I mean nothing, gets me as anxious as a one-miler. Drinking a ton of caffeine probably didn’t help my anxiety either, but I just wanted as much caffeine and sugar in me as possible to pump me up.
My Garmin decided to misbehave and fail to find any satellites. After spending 45 minutes in vain trying to coax it to work (yes, even turning it off and on, and resetting it to the factory settings), I gave up decided to rely on pacers. I wasn’t expecting to have pacers for such a short race, but the organizers kindly arranged to have pacers (20 secs apart). My goal was to come as close to 6:30 as possible, so I decided to start off with the 6:40 pacer and then speed up after a quarter mile or half mile depending upon how I felt.
Before the race, I ran into a bunch of my teammates and we discussed our various time goals. I found that Berry had a similar goal as me. Since she’s a stronger and faster runner than me, I decided to use her as my pace bunny as well. “I guess we can die together at the finish line,” she laughed.
I lined myself up with the 6:40 pacer and had Berry in my line of sight in front of me. My Garmin-less plan was simple – start with the 6:40 pacer, do NOT get ahead of her before the quarter mile mark and then depending upon how I feel leave the pacer and try to catch up with Berry.
In a mile race, I divide the race into quarters. The first two quarters, I concentrate on breathing deeply and running relaxed. The race needs to feel easy at this point. The third quarter is the hardest quarter for me. I’m tired and my lungs are burning. I desperately want to slow down, but I can’t. The last quarter, I just try to hang on til the finish line.
I ran with the 6:40 pacer for the first quarter. I was quite relieved to see her constantly checking her Garmin and adjusting her pace. She took a lot of mental energy off of me because I could just relax and run without worrying whether I was going out too fast or too slow. The hardest part was trusting the pacer and staying with her instead of hightailing to chase Berry down. I kept whispering to myself, “Relax, relax, relax. It’s supposed to be easy right now. Relax, relax, relax.”
After the first quarter mile, I slowly sped up and make up a bit of distance on Berry. By the time I got to the halfway mark, I was running along side Berry. Brief visions of finishing with her danced in my head until Berry dashed them by pulling ahead of me in the third quarter. I was really tired and it was getting hard to breathe. I didn’t want to lose sight of my goal, so I focused on chasing Berry and staying as close to her as I could. In the final quarter, I redoubled my efforts to minimize the distance between us.
I am quite satisfied with my effort – 6:31. It’s not a PR because I got a lovely huge PR earlier this year at the Nautical Mile thanks to the generous downhill. The Brooklyn Mile being that it’s flat and straight, it’s a great course for doing a time trial and I feel the time is a good reflection of my current level of fitness.
After the race, I chowed down on a donut (and had more coffee) and watched the men’s heat. I ran into the 6:40 pacer and thanked her for helping me have a good race. I had way too much coffee (three total cups) and arrived home totally buzzed and unfocused because of all the caffeine. I hopped on our treadmill to run a couple more miles to burn off the excess energy.
I need to announce the winner of the Newport Liberty Half Marathon on my blog. I already let her know that she won – congratulations to Aditi! Thanks to everyone who entered. If you’re interested in running the Newport Liberty Half, you can use the code JCMC2017 for $5 off the race fee. Good luck to all the runners. I will be thinking of you as I cheer for Ben at his Ironman 70.3.