This weekend was to mark another double-header. Saturday was the 5th Avenue Mile followed by Sunday’s 18 Mile Marathon Tune-up.
Friday after work I met Robin, Benny, Tess and some of Tess’s German friends who were visiting at Bravest Bar for happy hour. We had a great time catching up and throwing back some beers… I decided to take off around 8 to have dinner at home. I have been on a vegetarian diet now for 4 days (based on the diet of one of my hero’s, Scott Jurek, 7-time winner of the Western States 100 Ultra-marathon) and had made an amazing 3 bean salad I was looking forward to eating. In bed by 11:30, up at 7.
The 5th Avenue Mile is a legendary race that starts on 5th and 80th and goes south to finish at 60th. I wanted to finish in under 6 minutes. That would make me happy I told myself. They were to set off heats based on age groups, mine being at 10:15. I had plenty of time to spare and had some Bustelo and Irish Oatmeal to fuel up. Seeing an opportunity to bike ride before the race (as it was a beautiful day) I packed my race gear and headed out, planning to end my bike ride at the start of the race.
It all started so perfectly…
Then, at 6th Avenue and Spring Street (following one of my normal street routes) the chain on my track bike popped off. Those of you who understand the logistics behind track bikes know this is a rare occurrence as there are no gears and the chain is tightly secured around only one sprocket. The other issue when dealing with this is that, now, I have zero control over the bike aside from steering. The drive train is inoperable and there are no brakes. What to do? In an instant I am reminded of Fred Flintstone – I lean over and slam my left sneaker down on the pavement, eventually screeching to a stop. This drew the attention of a few early morning dog walkers, one of whom attempted to help me. As I popped the chain back on I missed the back cog and now the chain was jammed, making it so the tire wont turn. Great. It’s 9:35, I have 40 minutes to gun time. I remembered that Bicycle Habitat was around the corner so I picked up my bike and started running. Luckily, they were open and I immediately expressed my need to fix the chain. The owner handed my a wrench and I went at it BUT the bolts were too tight. As I asked for more assistance the owner said that maybe I should leave it for service instead, implying I pay for their services. I told everyone I had a race to get to and then things changed. A real cool tech helped me out and in 5 I was on my way, everyone in the store wishing me luck in the race!
I was definitely riding too fast up to Central Park, but I was in a tight spot. I made it from soHo to 80th Street and 5th Ave in 10 minutes and had 15 to spare! I geared up and jumped into the crowd. I caught a glimpse of my pals Robert and Sarah who had just ran in their heat.
The gun fired and we were off.
I happened to be way back in my heat so I started picking off people and blazing down the right side of 5th. What was remarkable about this race was how quickly it was over. Next thing I know Im crossing the half way mark and Im really getting into the groove. Soon after, myself and a few others were pacing each other and really cooking down 5th. I had a lot of steam in me but wasn’t sure if I was going to run short at the end.
200 Yards to go mark, still flying. Then I see it- the finish clock… it says 4:45! What!? Was I really going that fast? Something must be wrong ith the clock? All of a sudden I was in the position to finish in a sub-5 category which is unreal! I fired up the legs and really pushed hard those last few hundred yards. I think I crossed at 5:04 with a huge SEG on my face! (Shit-Eating-Grin) My actual time was 5:01 and next year Im going sub-5!
I grabbed some water, my ‘commemorative metal water bottle’ that I will never use and headed up toward my bike maybe hoping to run into Sarah and Robert. Once I was home I grabbed some food and thought ‘Wow, tomorrow I have to run 18 miles. yikes.’