IBM Uptown Classic – Sunday

Posted: September 30, 2011 in Pace and Racing
Tags: ,

So here we are.  IBM.  Sunday.

About a year ago I went over to packet pick-up to get bib number 205 for the IBM Uptown Classic 10K.  Last year’s race was held a couple of weeks later in the year on October 17th.  It was a big day for me last October as I was trying for the first time to punch through the 40:00 minute mark for 10 Kilometers.

Reaching that goal would gain me a seeded entry into the Cooper River Bridge Run later that spring in Charleston, SC.  The third largest 10K in the United States behind only the Bolder Boulder in Colorado and the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta.

Last year’s race set-up nicely for me as I was not yet into Austin Marathon Training – in fact, the IBM Uptown Classic was my final workout before Marathon training would begin on October 18th.  I was coming off of a summer of speed work, lots of short racing and was “as fast” as I had ever been.

Still I remember lying awake before the race that morning after a fitful night’s sleep wondering if I had 6.2 miles at 6:26 pace in me.  Could I punch through that 40 minute mark.

Cool weather and no wind greeted me last year on race morning and I ran to this point perhaps my greatest race at any distance.

38:06 – finishing in the top 50 at one of the most competitive local events of the year here in Austin.

The race report from last year’s IBM can be found HERE:

Last Year's PR - 38:06

12 months later and I am in week 14 of Marathon Training for New York and just a week away from our tune-up half-marathon at the Denver Rock N’ Roll Half Marathon.

I’m a little beat up.

I’ve been focusing on strength and endurance rather than speed these last 14 weeks and have slugged it out with the hottest summer on record here in Austin.

I have run 1,980 miles since coming through the chute at last year’s race.  Bib number 205 pinned to my race shorts and a smoking fast time of 38:06 (6:07 pace) was 100% mine.

This year I still have those same butterflies circling around in my stomach and it is only Friday.

I know deep inside that I have little to no chance of matching last year’s performance this Sunday.  In fact, it is foolish of me to even entertain such thoughts.  I’m in shape and I’m healthy, but it is a different kind of “in shape” right now.  Over the past 14 weeks I have been increasing the mileage and intensity of my longer workouts, already with three 20+ mile long runs in the books with two more to go before New York.

I will not have the advantage of a proper taper, and of course I have not constructed my training schedule to peak on October 2nd, but in fact five weeks later on November 6th. 

That said there is still pressure on me to perform on Sunday.

This pressure is 100% internal of course – the kind of pressure that only athletes tend to place on themselves.  I’m fairly certain no matter what the clock says on Sunday morning Dawn and Landry as still going to think that I’m pretty awesome.  As awesome as they do now anyway.

38:40 is the magic number on Sunday.

If I can come through the chute with that time up above I will be on track for a 1:26:02 half marathon and a 3:01:28 Marathon.

Striking Distance.

I know that with a proper taper before New York and a tough half-marathon at elevation, we will be in a position for a legitimate run at 3 hours in New York.

A time of 38:30 would translate to a 1:25:40 half and a marathon of 3:00:41.

So that’s the sweet spot for Sunday 38:30-38:40 and we’re there.

That puts us in position to finish off our training for New York, hope for great race weather and get ready for the toughest, most challenging 26.2 miles we have ever run.

As I look ahead to the course in New York, all I am visualizing right now is crossing over the Madison Avenue Bridge at Mile 21, glancing down at the pace tat on my right arm showing me that my time to this point should be 2:24:09 and my watch on my left wrist showing 2:24:00.

5 miles to go and we still have a chance.

That’s really what Sunday is all about at IBM.

I have absolutely no chance at winning my age group.

I have basically no chance at finishing in the top 3.

I have little to no chance of beating my time from last year.

No chance at a PR.

So what am I racing for?

I’m racing for a chance at New York.

With five miles to go that is all I want.

Just a chance.  If it turns out that way in five weeks, strap yourself in.  I’m sure the spectators along the course in Central Park have seen some inspiring runners on Marathon Sunday.  In fact I’m quite certain of it.  But I have a feeling some of them are going to remember that little 40 something year old in the USA singlet leaving everything he had out on the course on the way to the finish line at Tavern on the Green.

8:00 a.m. Sunday the gun will fire and we’ll be off like a rocket.

By 8:39 we’ll know if we’ve got a chance.

  1. Best of luck my friend. Are you meeting running friends in Denver? I’m not racing, but will likely be out there cheering as it is my home town! Marathon training resumes for me in Dec/Jan after eight month hiatus. Ready to get back out there on the marathon trail.

    • joerunfordom says:

      Hi Ty – I’m actually racing this one kind of solo. My sister-in-law is running her first half – so I’ll be hanging around after I finish with Dawn, Landry and Dawn’s family to see Kim finish. Would be very cool to hook up while I am out there!

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