Sam Elpern Memorial Half – ING NYC Tune Up 18 Mile

As part of the UROC preparation as well as the NYCM, I signed up for a double race back to back on September 14 and 15.
The week was not great in terms of training and motivations. I was coming from a very good race the weekend before and I felt pretty pumped up until Sunday the 8th.
Mentally I was a wreck and I only cleared my mind on Friday evening when I had dinner with Michelle and her family. Despite a great desire to stay in Yonkers with her overnight, I opted to move back to Norwalk late that night.
The only other positive note of the week is that I found out my pre-race charm: the Lemon Tart from WF, and it was ready in my refrigerator for next morning.
Coffee and Nocciolata, Quinoa bread and Almond milk were ready to go, and Friday’s short run around the course made aware that the profile was going to be a bit challenging.
Not knowing the competition, not knowing the depth of the field, and not really knowing too much about the Lightfoot Running Series, I showed up early in the parking lot and picked up my bib.
After enjoying a few more moments of warm temperature inside the car I visited the school restroom and started warming up.
I met teammate Larry Ikard just before the start and we talked for a few minutes. I explained that I had no interest in pushing the pace early, and I would go out conservative and relaxed for a few miles, and then try to go for whatever would come.
The first 4 miles were enjoyable and easy, between 6:20 and 6:35; around mile 3 Larry and I found ourselves already alone, with just one guy behind approx 20 seconds or so. We pushed for a mile just to make sure there was a small gap with the rest of the group, and then we settle into a comfortable pace. We went by La Dolce, where Fabio was spending his first month of work life, and then we did some small talk about running in NYC na dConnecticut and the differences between the two.
Once we hit the big climb of the course at mile 5 (approx 300ft of elevation gain in just shy of 1/2 mile) I decided to test the system and kept the pace regular; jumped from 6:20ish to 6:00ish quickly and felt pretty good. After the climb I kept running downhill solo, since Larry did not push on the uphill, but I had no interested in staying alone, so I slowed down after half a mile and waited for Larry.
We ran together for another 3-4 miles completing the first loop and jumping into the second one.
Knowing what to expect from the second loop, we stayed togehter for a little more, enjoying the sunny and not so warm day in Norwalk, repaired by the leaves of the trees that were surrounding the roads of this portion of town.
At one point I thought it was time to push more and understand what it feels to run around or under 6min/mile in race conditions after 8-9 miles in this time of the year. Also I thought it was a good idea to get the legs a bit tired prior to next day race in Central Park, and see how I could hold onto a good pace the very next day.
I did a pretty good effort pushing the overall pace that was just under 6:30 to an overall 6:10, and finished first overall.
It was my first win on a road race, and a really special moment, because I felt that regardless of the difficulties I was going throgh in life, I could have worked hard and fixed the problems.
I also got my first interviews post race, and had no clue what to say to the press.
Everything ended up in the local newspaper, with pictures and the whole nine yards.
A bit embarassing, since the final time was nothing special, 1:22 to close the day and go for some rest before tomorrow’s 18.

The main internal thought at this point was that VICTORY IS BITTERSWEET, for many reasons


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