This race, The Portugal Day 5 Miler, would mark my return to running. My knee has been doing great but this would be a test to see if it was ready to take on speed again.
So how does one train for the Portugal Day 5 Miler?
For Susan’s birthday we headed out to Citifield to watch the Mets take on the Cubs. Susan (and Bojana) are from Chicago and both have birthdays within a day of each other so the timing was perfect. Upon arrival all of us stormed the hotdog vendors as we were famished. Others in attendance from the infamous Runner Army squadron were Abbe, Bojana, Meghan, Erica, Kelly, and Neal. It turns out my friend Ahern happened to be at the game too so he came up to the nosebleeds and sat with us!
It was a really fun time even though the Mets got clobbered. Susan and Bojo were happy.
Back in the city we decided to ht up Pony Bar to keep the festivities rolling. I had a plate of fried pickles. So far my nutritional choices for the day were sub par.
Next, a group of us went to grab sushi for dinner. Even though I love me some sushi, it is not on my pre race meal plan, but I ate it anyway.
It was a really long day. I was in bed by 11PM and slept hard.
When I woke up I felt like I had been hit by a bag-o-bricks. The good thing was, I had no appetite or urge to eat since I had gorged on crap the previous day. I was fueled up and ready to go!
On my easy run through the Park to the start I ran (ha) into Elizabeth and Juan! They guided me to my destination.
My start corral was a mob scene! It was a Male Team points race so all the speedsters were out in force. The girl who sang Portugal’s national anthem and ours had such a beautiful voice. As she sang in a foreign language my mind totally drifted out of thought and I had this weird nirvana kind of moment. Space Case!
Every time Peter Ciaccia is giving final instructions I laugh out loud imagining Matt6 impersonating him to a tee.
The gun went off and we blasted through the start like a stampede of cattle. Running a 6 minute pace as a packed group of runners is tedious business. One wrong step and we go down like dominoes. I also try and watch guys up ahead in case they go down.
I saw Josh cheering to my left immediately. (Thanks for the awesome pictures!)
The first mile clicked off really fast thanks to it being so crowded. We were pushing 6-6:05 pace which thrilled me because my knee was fine! For the first time in 4-5 months I was running fast. I had a huge grin. Even though this run was going to kick my ass (because I haven’t done any speedwork) I was going to enjoy the moment.
That first water station couldn’t have come sooner. I was so thirsty.
As we hit the north part of the Park it started to thin out. Miles 2 and 3 came by and I could see my speed slowing. Hold it together for 2 more, that’s all its going to take.
Abbe was at Engineer’s Gate giving some cheers. I also saw Elizabeth and Juan again as they were in the cheer squad for the Whippets. Then, I saw Lora cheering, as well as Josh again. SO great seeing a barrage of friends out there helping you!
I cruised through the finish with a 31:20. I was so damn psyched to be racing again. I felt amazing.