All Things Considered, Not That Bad!

Today I ran the New Balance Fifth Avenue Mile in 6:09. Not great, but not that bad considering this intense summer of work!

Today’s race was my slowest Fifth Avenue Mile ever, but I didn’t legitimately train for it as I had hoped to do. My last time running this race was 5:51 in 2018, so this race was 18 seconds slower. However, I’m not too bummed about that, and I’m actually slightly impressed that I pulled off a 6:09 because I’ve been really pressed to get in runs and workouts amid working nearly seven days a week with early calltimes, while training for a fall marathon.  I don’t have the kind of time some people do to train!

Here are my unofficial results per my Garmin:

Like last time, I jogged from my home area to get to the starting line around E. 80th St.  That was a 1.43-mile run that I lazily did at an 8:29 pace — not too fast, and not super slow. It was cloudy, almost as if it could rain. The humidity was 70%, the dewpoint was 61, and the temperature was around 72. It didn’t feel all that humid, but they were suboptimal conditions, especially considering my lack of training.

I wasn’t sure what would happen in this race. My last run — a 10-miler on Thursday — had me running my last mile at a 2022 “record” (per Garmin) of 7:16. I had some sense that might be my upper border for this race, unless sprinting overcame me. But my training has been mostly longer runs often of 8 miles or longer, and I’ve only sporadically added in hills and sprints, pretty much in ways that unlikely had measurable impact. My calltimes have been such that I would get into Central Park often in the 5am hour, and it was a desperate race to get in my mileage before a 12-hour day on a TV show coupled with voiceover orders after. If I didn’t feel like a long run, instead of opting for a short run, I’d hit the gym, which I generally couldn’t also do on running days. It’s a wonder I didn’t end up injured after all this, because I’ve been getting by with about 4 hours or so of sleep too many nights!

My math was that hitting 71st St. at 3:00 meant I was on pace to possibly run this race in 6:00. Drilling down, my math was that at the 1/4-mile mark, that meant running a 1:30. I thought it unlikely either of these events would happen, so I also figured that a 1/4-mile 1:45 and a 71st St. 3:30 would mean I was on pace for a 7:00 mile.

After the gun went off, it actually took me about 30 seconds to cross the start line. I was surprised by that, but not unnerved — it just meant the clock wasn’t that telling about my actual pace. My watch was a bit hard to read with respect to my current pace, but I figured that somewhere vaguely around the 3/4-mile mark I was at 4:43. This was telling me that I could try to speed things up. I know I’ve powered through fierce sprints at the ends of these races, and I actually enjoy them. I ended up putting on those jets again with one of my classic “super sprints” around the sign for 200 meters to go (perhaps not as impressively as I might have liked), but it had to help. I probably ended this race was some gas still in the tank, but that I didn’t expend it all was because at the beginning, having not trained, it was difficult to mete out my energy, especially considering the first part of the race with exuberant runners is downhill, and I’ve learned not to go too fast at the start of this race.

I’m carrying more muscle than usual (not to say I’m at a fully health weight), weighing for this around 186.8 lbs at the start. (About 8 lbs heavier than last time.) This added weight probably slowed me down a little, but it’s hard to blame my weight for the slower time. Although not having trained is the most important factor, the humidity and warm temperature also played a factor, perhaps the scariest factor in the leadup to this race as I felt it would dictate how good or bad I felt running this.

As I write this recap, I’m wondering if next year I can run this race by focusing solely on it and not on any marathons. We’ll see!

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