This post is brought to you by Team Viscardi's Ride to Montauk! We are TWO days away from GAME DAY. You can still support the team. To learn more, click here. I'm going 100 (actually, its 108 now) miles.
So last night was the annual (36th apparently) JP Morgan Corporate Challenge. It was my 4th year doing it, and it seems there are improvements every year. I must say, they finally got it right this year. Not only was it corralled (which they started last year, I believe), but they ENFORCED it. I mean, really enforced it. On top of that, they wave started, so that there was about a minute between corrals being released. This resulted in a well spaced out, not very crowded race. Never did I really feel impeded by runners ahead of me. Dont get me wrong, there was still a little elbowing in the beginning (normal for all races), but the one thing missing this year? WALKERS. Every year, without fail, there would be walkers in front of the runners, no matter how much they tell the walkers to start in the back. Kudos to the organizers this year. And to top it all off- Tech shirts!
So, it was a 7pm start, and we get to the park around 6:20pm. Drop our stuff off, get a quick drink and off to the start corrals. After a very lively 20 minute wait, which included a cheery warm up routine led by some instructors from Equinox, the starting horn went off for the Red and Green corrals (1st and 2nd). I was in the yellow corral, which was next (now, I will shamefully admit I "fibbed" my estimated finish time as to start in a better corral). My pace as of late has been in the mid-9min/mi, so my best guess is that I was mixed in with -8-ish min/mi people, maybe even slightly faster. The horn goes off for my corral and off we go. Immediately I see that this group is pacing faster, obviously. And I said, what the heck, let me pace with them. I'm actually doing pretty well through the first mile, which included the 2 biggest hills (though not big in general) of the course. It was a humid night, so within the first mile, sweat was already starting to pour off of me. Lovely, right? Half way through is where the faster start affected me. There was a water station, so I wisely took some. I back off for about the next mile. I was glad to see that I wasnt the only one who "fibbed"! Others had already started walking. So I'm just pushing myself to just get to Cat Hill (going down!), to regain some energy before the final kick. I've never been so happy to get to the top of Cat hill. Finally go down, allowing gravity to do its thing and reach the boathouse, then the turn back onto the 72nd transverse. I see the finish line, and then a fellow teammate about to pass me. I go into a full out sprint (as does he) and we both dash through the finish line. My final time was 32:56, for a 9:25 pace, improving from my 34:12 (9:46) last year.
Overall, good race, good company, and most of all- well organized. Never thought I'd say that about this race!
Pre-race photo (don't ask me why Matthieu is "hiding" behind the pole)