On New Years Eve, Esther and I made our way to New York City for the Midnight Run. Because Esther lives only an hour train ride from the city we were able to relax throughout the day in Hopewell and then catch the train around 6pm. We got to our hotel in Manhattan just after 8pm and then relaxed with ZAP teammate Andrew Colley in the room until heading to Central Park.
As the three of us sat in the room, we all sipped on coffee and remarked at how tired we all felt! Luckily once we made the short walk to the starting area the energy from the crowds woke us all up. And after a good warm up around the park, the 25 degree temperatures didn’t feel all that cold and we were ready to race.
As Colley and I toed the line waiting for the start we heard fireworks going off in the distance and watched the pace truck’s digital clock start ticking but there was no countdown so all of us stood there waiting to be told to start! After about 5 seconds, I decided it was time to go so I sprinted off and 4,000 of my closest friends followed.
Despite this awkward and slightly unclear beginning, I was out the gates with Colley FAST! At the mile he was 4:32 and I was close behind in 4:35 however I think our first 800 meters was 2:10 or faster. I settled in and got to 2 miles in 9:10 with Colley still only a few seconds ahead.
The third mile is the hardest on the course and I did struggled as Colley pulled well ahead during this section. At 3 miles I was around 14:07 meaning I had run almost a 5 minute mile, significantly slower than my assertive opening miles. I rallied a bit the last mile and crossed the line around 18:48 but the overall hand time had me at 18:51. Regardless of my official time, I ran the race in almost the same time as I did last year when I won. I ran a significant positive split on the 4 mile course but was much more aggressive early on and really went for it. I did this for 2 main reasons: 1) I knew Colley was fit and I would have to run fast to have a chance to beat him (he won in 18:24) and 2) I wanted to see where my fitness was and get in a really hard effort as a building block for Houston in 2 weeks.
Overall, I wish I had closed slightly better but I am content with my race and know that I am getting fitter each week. I believe Houston will fall at exactly the right time for a significant PR.
In non-running news, longtime ESPN anchor Stuart Scott died over the weekend. When I learned of his passing I was floored. I am a big sports fan and he was someone I grew up watching and despite knowing he was battling cancer, his death shook me. I cried as I watched former colleagues Hannah Storm and Rich Eisen tearfully say their goodbyes on air. I was surprised with my strong reaction to his death because I always liked Scott but sometimes found him slightly grating. His catchphrases were simultaneously cool and corny but I always felt that he was being genuine and true to himself; a quality that is hard to dislike.
Being a fellow Southerner I felt some connection to him and after learning about his deep devotion to his two daughters I became even more endeared to him. He was who he was and had fun doing his job while also blazing a path in sports broadcasting that very few black men had up to that point.
I think we can learn a lot from people in how they react to hardship and Scott seemed to become even more positive and loving as he neared death. It is an attitude that all of us should take in times of struggle. Instead of wallowing, pick yourself up, throw a smile on, and keep going! Scott will always be as cool as the other side of the pillow.
Here is my last week of training (12/28-1/3):
Sunday: AM: 14.5 miles PM: 4.5 miles
Monday: AM: 4.5 miles
Tuesday: AM: 9 miles (4×200 post run, 31/31/30/28)
Wednesday: AM: 5 miles PM: 12 miles (Midnight Run+fartlek post race)
Thursday: AM: 12 miles PM: 4 miles
Friday: AM: 10 miles PM: 7 miles
Saturday: AM: 11.5 miles (5×200 post run, 33 down to 29)
Total: 94 miles, 11 runs