How do you prepare for a 15K? Do you ever have those races where you know your plans the night before will be consequential to your performance? Me too. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow.
Friday night before the Ted Corbitt 15K was a blast. I left work to meet up with Abbe and her best friends Drew and Danielle at Tortilla Flats down in the West Village. SIDENOTE: Danielle and Drew were visiting from out of town, so racing took a back seat while eating and drinking the front.
Arriving at Tortilla Flats for guactails I was presented a celebratory shot of tequila. I had just heard about the Kompetitive Edge sponsorship and was beyond excited. From there (after a handful of margaritas) we went to Empillon, a fantastic new mexican restaurant. I proceeded to drink margaritas, but this time washed them down with spicy fish tacos. Very logical before a 15K, I know but… celebrate we must!
I was up at 6:30AM (start was at 8AM) and fueling up with some Cafe Bustelo. My stomach was totally wonky and I had no desire to eat breakfast, other than being a bit ‘cloudy’ I felt okay to race.
On the way to Central Park I thought it wise to stop and grab a banana from a bodega even if I didn’t feel hungry. Looking back, I’m very glad I opted to eat something.
Up in my corral I quietly waited for the gun. Somehow I was toeing the start mat, which I didn’t plan on as there are loads of faster guys that will be passing me by. It was brisk out, maybe 35 degrees and sunny.
As the gun went off we all set off at a pretty manageable pace, a 15K pace I suppose you might say. I was not wearing a watch. My legs felt good, but not as good as when I did my speed workout 2 days earlier. Smooth move Baker.
The course was 2 loops of the Park, the 4 Mile followed by the 5 Mile extension. I hit Miles 1 and 2 at a 6:10 pace and knew I couldn’t hold it. This was my last race in the 9+1 series so I really just had to get it done so my stress levels were low. Coming up the East Side of the course at Mile 3 I saw my friend Alex (who was volunteering as Course Marshall). Other than Alex, I saw no other Runner Army personal which I found strange. The Park seemed lonely for the first time in a long while.
The second loop was less than stellar because I started burping up acid from the spicy food and margaritas. My chest was burning something fierce and I thought about quitting. Actually, I’m pretty sure I think about quitting during every race. I have never quit a race, and I wasn’t about to start. I thought about all the races I have completed where conditions were much worse or simply a greater challenge like a marathon and tried to dumb down this race mentally. Then, I started up with one of my mantras, ‘There is no pain, only glory’ which is kinda funny in a Braveheart meets 300 kinda way but it works.
I was pushing 6:30s the last few miles and fading pretty fast. My 15K PR was 59:23, but really I would be happy to finish under an hour. Making some calculations off the course clocks things looked good. As I was coming up to the finish (a straightaway followed by a left turn and another 20 meters) I saw the clock hit 59:00. I had 23 seconds to PR!
Moments like these are wild, because time actually seems to slow down, yet that clock keeps on ticking away.
I missed the PR by 3 seconds, but had finished under an hour. I was happy.