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January 10, 2010

The word Classic means something that is a perfect example of a particular style, something of lasting worth or with a timeless quality. Classic is used to describe many major, long-standing sporting events.

Well, it is officially on.  The first race of the NYRR Club’s season began today.  The Fred Lebow Classic 5 Miler.  If you are a runner, you should be familiar with this man and all he has done for running in NYC.  If not, well he was the founder of the NYRR Club and has single handedly brought the NYC Marathon from Central Park into the 5 boroughs.  Yeah, not much right?  I had the pleasure of seeing him run his last marathon with Grete Waitz and the moment he crossed that finish line, he knelt down and kissed the ground he just ran over.  Sadly, he died a year later of cancer but his legacy lives on.

So, today dawned dark and cold.  Bitter actually.  The sort of day that most folks would roll over in their beds and stay put.  Not me.  I woke up all happy with what was to come, and started the layering process.  It takes a while to get dressed for a run in the winter time.  Layer by layer like a 7 layer cake until the very last layer or whipped cream is added.  To balaclava or not?  2 pairs of gloves?  Hat and hood?  Lots to think about.  So, I tried to get an early start.

I love it when your on the subway and you start seeing the other runners.  It’s some sight.  There are the night shift workers coming home and then there are the runners.  Alert, coffee in hand, and excited for what’s to come.  I’m not making this up.  At 7.15 am the runners, including myself were a very happy bunch.

Somehow, I timed it perfectly.  Got to the race start, ran into the porta potty, did my thing, heard the Star Spangled Banner being sung, ran over to the corral, made sure my tights were tied at the waist, tugged on my gloves and the horn was sounded.   To some, that horn noise would just be an annoyance, but to me, it was music to my ears.

I really had only one goal for this first race of many.  To run a sub 50 minute 5 miles.  Now, this is a hilly course.   This is Central Park, for goodness sakes.

Armed with an amazing race strategy formulated by my good running buddy Scott, I felt rather confident I could meet my goal.  I am not the type to write a mile by mile race report, but I will say that mile 1 was rather slow due to many folks jetting for position.  I found it hard to pass people because every time I tried, they either sped up or ran right in front of me.  Then I ended up with such a big bottle neck that I got slightly frustrated.  It’s ok, it happens.  There were 3370 racers.  I just kept in the back of my mind, my strategy, which went something like this:

Easy to start.  West side hills, push a little on the up while you are fresh and recover on the down.  After hills, you can push the long downhill if you feel good.  At bottom of park, after water stop at halfway point, take it easy to save for cat hill.  Take it easy on cat hill.  Once you pass 90th St, push progressively harder to finish, esp on the downhills.

So, I did it.  5 miles in 49.30.  And the best part is I felt like I still had gas in the tank.  I felt as if I could have run more if I had to.


5.00 miles 49.24 9.51 min/mile
Mile 1 10.26
Mile 2 9.23
Mile 3 9.43
Mile 4 10.05
Mile 5 9.45

A friendly face at the end and a good breakfast at home with yummy coffee plus a hot shower made my day.  I’ve said it before and I will say it again, runners are the best.

The folks I have met both virtually and in person have showed me superb support and motivation and are always willing to go the extra mile.  Always and without hesitation.  This humbles me.  This makes me want to be a better person.  I’ve already become a better runner.

This is one classic I want to be a part of every single year.

We are what we repeatedly do, excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. January 10, 2010 1:48 am

    Nice race report. YOU are classic!!!

  2. January 10, 2010 2:22 am

    You’re the classic NYC runner girl. That’s a nice 5 miler, rock on Michelle.

  3. January 10, 2010 2:52 am

    Nice Race, Michelle! Fred Lebow would have been proud of your time and effort today!

  4. January 10, 2010 2:54 am

    Good race.

  5. January 10, 2010 4:55 am

    Fantastic race. This is just a start. Each one will get faster and faster and eventually you’ll feel like you are putting it all on the line. One step at a time…

  6. January 10, 2010 5:45 am

    Nicely done sister!

  7. January 10, 2010 11:54 am

    Congrats on a great race. 2010 is going to be a great year for. Those running classes are going to make you a stronger, faster and smarter runner.

  8. Ted permalink
    January 10, 2010 1:02 pm

    It was, indeed, a classic post race report and you are truly classic runner! Awesome and Congrats for getting in under 50 minutes. Truly classical performance!

  9. January 10, 2010 1:28 pm

    very well done!!

  10. January 10, 2010 3:53 pm

    I think if you feel like you could have run more, maybe you’re ready to push the gas pedal a little harder in your races and jack up those times! I know you can do it! Congrats on this race. I’m jealous you have races so close to at this time of the year.

  11. January 10, 2010 7:04 pm

    Great race report. I have run through part of Central Park, and I will agree that it’s hilly! Congrats on a great race and making your goal!

    Runner’s are awesome, aren’t they!?

  12. January 11, 2010 12:40 am

    Nicely done! I’m not very good at the mile by mile blows either… but if we feel the experience, that’s all that matters!

  13. January 11, 2010 2:51 am

    way to go girl! love that ‘beat my goals’ feeling 🙂 you rock!

  14. January 12, 2010 5:52 am

    You ARE getting your speed back!!!!!! This is so awesome. I’m proud of you.

    BTW, heard a shout out from Brandon @ Brandon’s Marathon. You’re famous!

  15. January 14, 2010 9:12 am

    Way to go! Especially the speed increase @ your last mile!

  16. January 15, 2010 9:58 pm

    Loved this post. It’s obvious you enjoy the process of running and you’re getting faster and stronger with every race.

    Well done!


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