Yesterday was the Memorial Day run in Ridgewood, New Jersey. I have been talking about it for months. I had set an original goal back in the fall of going sub 18:00. However, between the horrible winter, a broken treadmill, and a race being added to the schedule, I simply wanted to run this race as well as possible.
I came off of a 2 day soccer tournament beforehand and was not prepared nutritionally, hydration wise, or rested at all. When I got to the line I did feel ready to go. After having done this race for a few years now, I know that it's important to get right to the front if you hope to time well. It is a zoo and roughly 1500-1700 runners are trying to start on a two lane road at the beginning. I did my strong warm up that I started a couple races back thanks to Scott Jones at AthleteonFire. Then I put myself right in front, behind only one person.
We waited in the sun for about 5 minutes and I chatted with a couple high school runners hoping to break 16 minutes (I told them I was hoping to break 19 minutes and I'm old). When the gun went off, I felt smooth, fluid, and surprisingly safe because of how far forward I started. I know the course perfectly, so I knew where to position myself on the road.
When I could see the first mile marker, I knew I was in a bit of trouble for the latter part of the race. I crossed one mile in exactly 5:50. If I could have picked my perfect split, I would have wanted to go about 6:05, but what can you do. I need to smooth out my pacing. Mile 2 I hit the split at 12:00 exactly. That means my second mile was about 6:10. During mile three, I was met with the consequences of mile one. I would say that about 2.25 miles into the race, I developed my first cramp in a race ever. I never cramp, no matter the length, speed, intensity, etc.
I think I cramped for 2 main reasons. First, I did not eat or drink well for the 2-3 days prior to the race. I just didn't have the time or schedule to do so. Secondly, combined with the dehydration I entered with and lack of nutrition, the speed of mile one destroyed me long term.
I ended up the race in 19:11 over the race course. The race results are still unofficial because of some glitches in the system apparently. To the best of my knowledge however, I finished 44th overall, out of around 1500ish people. I am also lucky enough to say that I seem to have won my age group as well. First place in the Male 40-44 age category is a great feeling at a race this size.
Overall, it was a great day as always. The race is well run. There is a great race community feel there. The volunteers are awesome, everything. Kudos to the NJ Masters as always.