Here we go again! Another JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge is in the books! I’ve run this race seven times now. This short, but huge, race is never easy but it is almost always rewarding. This year I was successful but it was not a PR.
Last year was quite the experience. Amber and I took on the entire event for my company, Poseidon Systems. Amber planned and prepared the food. We transported all of the items including a tent, tables, mini grill, and more from our car to the party site. It was exhausting! At the end of the night I spent an incredible amount of time stuck in the parking lot to get the car near the party site. This year we planned differently and enlisted help from my colleagues. It was much better!
My expectations for my performance were very low. For some silly reason I believed that other people had expectations for my performance. That just added to my anxiety and was completely unnecessary. Based on recent running performances I believed that I could run this in the 6:20-6:30 minute/mile range. The only bit of evidence I had to support that I might do better was that my performance at Boston this year was significantly better than my performance for the prior year. Still, I didn’t think I had it in me to turn out a PR or even do as well as I had in 2013.
Amber and I warmed up together but we did so far earlier than was optimal. We had little choice since the race has nearly 11,000 participants and most are novice racers. I didn’t think we’d get into the proper place in corrals if we did a warm-up close to race start. 1.5 miles later we made an unplanned stop at our tent and then made our way into our corrals.
It was amazing to see so many incredibly hard working runners in the start corral. I know so many of their names even if I do not know them personally. I found one that I do know personally and we spoke a lot about the race and pacing. I’ve watched him improve significantly over the years and I expected that he’d have a great performance. His expectations were in line with what I believed he was capable of.
The race started and I settled in semi-comfortably watching my friend. The distance between us remained relatively constant. I hit the first mile in 6:05. I was very pleased with that! The level of effort I was exerting seemed much lower than what I should require for 6:05. My friend remained in front of me for the entire race. The gap closed a little here and there. I pondered using him as a target but I couldn’t do it. I didn’t actually WANT to beat him. I wouldn’t have minded running together but I had no desire to pass him. I didn’t have enough drive to work up my pace to catch up to him. Nearing the third mile I tried to pick up my effort and to hopefully run in with him. Instead of catching him the gap increased as he must have been pushing too! When the finish line came in sight I could still see him. I pushed and a different runner decided I shouldn’t beat him. The two of us ran as fast as we possibly could. I believe that I beat that guy by a step or two. That sprint helped me close the gap on my friend. It was great to have a friendly face to talk about the race with afterwards! He did great. I know there’s more in store for him too.
I immediately left the gate to head to catch Amber in the race. She wasn’t feeling well but I still knew she’d do very well. I was right. She was the 45th female finisher. She did so with a fairly nasty cold that made it hard to breath. In contrast I had a good night and finished 70th! I found her and she seemed to wander all over the place aimlessly. I just wanted to get back to the tent to celebrate and have a beer! She was satisfied with her performance when she took into account her “mild unhealthiness.”
We got to hang out with colleagues, meet new people, and chat with friends. It was a wonderful evening with perfect weather. It’s going to be hard to top this one!