Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Colon Cancer Challenge - 15K

I had no intention of running the New York Road Runner's Colon Cancer Challenge this past Sunday - but as turned out, it was a good thing I did.

Just two days before the race I was still hemming and hawing about what to do. It had recently been suggested that I pick a race of a shorter distance and go all out - 115% effort. If I have the race of my life... Excellent. If I red line and blow up... Excellent. Either way I learn a good lesson about my ability.

I eventually decided to follow this suggestion and drop the hammer on this 4-miler. Given the fair weather it seemed reasonable that I would best my recent PR for this distance.

At the very last minute I changed my mind and decided to run the 15K instead. However, I did not change my race strategy. This 15k was to be a knock down, drag out, bare-knuckled slugfest.

I queued up right at the front of the starting chute with a couple of the fastest of my teammates. Speaches were made and the starting horn sounded.

I ran my best time for the 15k last year. I finished in 1:06:35 which is a pace of 7:09 per mile. On Sunday my first mile clocked in at 6:15... Mile 2 came and went in 6:02. Clearly I was on a mission!

As I past the 3 mile marker it dawned on me that I had just run my fastest 5k ever. I also realized that my heart was about to explode. As much as I'd like it to be true, I am not yet capable of running this pace for 9.3 miles.

Somewhere between mile 4 and 5 I realized that keeping a positive mental outlook was going to be key to getting myself across the finish line. As thoughts of slowing down or giving up crossed my mind I actually spoke these words allowed:

"no. No. NO!"

Those running near me must have thought me crazy... but that was just the begining! An old Johnny Mercer song then popped into my head and I had a new mantra!

You've got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between

With my new found positive outlook came a little boost in energy and I muscled up Cat Hill for the second time and pushed as hard as I could along the reletively flat East Drive.

The race then cut across Central Park and doubled-back down the rolling hills of West Drive. At the top of one of these hills I bonked...

I ran out of gas...

I walked...

I was messing with Mister In-Between.

With a few choice words I got myself running again by accentuating the positive fact that the finish line was only two miles away.

This 15-kilometer rumble was giving me a whoopin' but like Rocky Balboa I still had a little fight left in me for the last round.

With about a half mile to go I heard someone call my name... And then again... And then a few hundred meters from the finish line my teammate Eddie passed me.

Oh no you don't!

I kicked like I've never kicked before and I got him by 2 seconds.

Photo by Jared Mestre

My finish time was 1:02:30 a pace of 6:43 per mile and a personal record by over four minutes. Needless to say, I am very pleased.

Of course there are the inevitable "what if's" and the "could have," "should have" and "would have's" but I ran a great race and can honestly say I gave it my best.

"You're gonna eat lightnin' and you're gonna crap thunder!"
-Mickey Goldmill in Rocky (1976)


Sempre Libera said...

WOW, what a stellar performance! I'm really impressed that you were able to stick it out for so long at that speed, and especially after having decided to do the longer distance on such short notice. Great job!

Chelly said...

What a great story! You'll be my inspiration when I do the MORE half marathon in a week and a half. It's going to be all about the attitude. I will finish and I'll do the best I possibly can!

Deene said...

Excellent race report! you ran a fine race.

JustRun said...

First, congratulations! Quite the pace! That's pretty impressive.

Second, is it bad that I couldn't figure out (at first) if that was a picture of boxing gloves, a heart or some weirdly tangled colon? Hee. :)

Third, what is that tattoo?

stephruns said...

glad to hear i'm not the only one talking to myself when I run!!!!!!

Yes, what is that tattoo????????

the_ubster said...

Yeah Josh, does Momknow about that tattoo yet? You have been hiding it for over 10 years now...

Uptown Girl said...

Wow! You must have been flying!

Talking to yourself is totally normal and OK. I've been known to that on occasion.

Yvonne said...

fabulous work josh!

and you can only get even better!

Skylight said...

Awesome. Just awesome.

nyflygirl said...

nice job-and i guess those are your "naked shorts" that i remember you mentioning once ;-)

Just12Finish said...

That was a great race report and great finish! I have to try that 3 no's and see if it works ...

Phil said...

As fast as you ran the first 5K, you could have stopped for a beer and still had a PR. Great mental effort getting yourself moving again. Simply inspirational

Morrissey said...

that's an awesome PR Josh! congrats man!

Ginger Breadman said...

a very inspiring race report - right down to the nitty-gritty. As far as all of those 'what-if's' - you take what you're given on a given day and make the most of it. The 'what-if's' will change every single time - life is ever-changing, never constant.

Chelle said...

Highly motivating post! Do you even feel like the same runner as a year ago? You've come so far!

Josh said...

Hello friends - Thanks for your kind words! I genuinely appreciate it. For those who posed questions:

Chelly - I hope the More was a great race for you. Certainly had great weather!

JustRun and Steph - yes that is a tattoo. I'll blog that story some other time.

Ubster - Yes, Mom has known for years.

NYFlyGirl - if you can believe it, my naked shorts are WAY shorter!

Chelle - You raise an interesting question and have given me an idea for post...