I had a hard time on Sunday.
I knew it was going to be a bad race. I'm at the end of the highest mileage two weeks in my marathon training plan. I still have my longest run ahead of me, but the overall weekly mileage starts to go down as of today.
The 18 miles I did two weeks ago was shockingly easy (NYRR's 18 Mile Tune-Up run in Central Park). I ran the entire time other than the stops to get fluids (and one stop to leave some behind at the portajohn). Some day I'll figure out how to drink and run but for now I've decided that walking while drinking is better than nearly drowning in gatorade (I just can not drink and run).
Two days before the Bronx 10 mile, I had another 18 scheduled. That one did not go so well. Had to walk for a half mile in the middle and I started to feel pain in parts that have not complained before. Part of that I attribute to the difference between running on my own and in a large crowd with fluid stations and people cheering. Still, it was a bit discouraging.
I was pretty surprised I was in any condition to run at all on Sunday. I might have just slept through the race, but it was the 4th of the 5 boro series races and finishing would leave me the option of a guaranteed entry to next year's NYC Half Marathon -- and compared to this full marathon training, I find training for halfs to be fun and without the dread that has accompanied my marathon training.
Anyway, back to the race day report.
Unfortunately, I did not realize that my friend Todd was running the race. I was expecting another friend to race but she did not show (I think because she's busy and recently married and had not trained enough). Turned out that Todd and I were in the same starting corral, probably about 5 or so feet from each other and never noticed. He started a bit ahead of me and finished many minutes ahead so we never had a chance to see each other on the course.
The first 3 miles were great and I was on target for a PR. I felt good, even as if I was holding back a bit -- then my knee started to hurt and I had to slow down until after the one serious hill at mile 6-7. After that my knee started to feel a bit better so I was able to pick up my pace a bit.
I finished in 1:31:47 according to my watch (about 7 or 8 minutes slower than last year's Bronx 10 mile).
I love that course, it passes close to the apartment my mom grew up in and a block or two away from the store my grandfather had. Totally felt like I was running with friendly ghosts at my side. Looking at the data from my watch, my best moments in the race were both proximate to the location of my grandfather's store, so maybe that was the case.