Friday, December 7, 2012

Racing Trump Style

The last race of the year is fast approaching. I will once again tackle the Trump Parc in Stamford, CT on December 8th. It was originally scheduled for November 3rd (the same weekend as Willis) but because of Hurricane Sandy, it was postponed.*
*I’m probably the only person in New York grateful for Hurricane Sandy!

This race really should be classified as just a “fun run” since it doesn't offer any additional tower running ranking points. However, it gives me a chance to compare myself to where I was a year ago* as well as test myself against some serious competition; I expect Sproule Love, Tim Donahue, Steve Marsalese, and hopefully Michael Karlin to be at the race. The timing couldn't be more perfect. I’m still at a very high fitness level thanks to all the preparation I did for Willis** and I still have a couple months to train for the heart of racing season in February & March.
*to read about how I did at the Parc Trump last year, click here.
** (albeit a couple pounds heavier)

Although I’m very excited for this race, there is also a hint of urgency and frustration. Here is why: The Empire State Building Run-up (ESBRU) registration is now open and only 10 or 20  athletes will be allowed to participate in the elite start. Last year’s race wasn't a very good experience for me (see my thoughts from last year here) and with potentially fewer racers in the elite start, it makes my chances of getting into it even smaller. I trained diligently over the past year to put myself in contention for an elite spot and I've done well enough over the course of the season to warrant consideration. Stamford is my last chance to  show that I deserve to be on the ESBRU start line.

The truth is, even if I somehow manage to win in Stamford, I still doubt the ESBRU organizers (the NYRR) will select me. My time from last year was simply too slow for them to take notice (13:56*) and I doubt they’ll consider my other more recent tower racing results. To be fair, however, I think I’m only capable of a 12:30 time at ESBRU which should put me in the top 20… but just barely. As such, my current game plan will be to:
1) Cross my fingers & get in through the lottery in 2013
2) Go around 150 or so other climbers in the time trial and somehow still break the 13 minute mark
3) Cross my fingers and hope that I’ll be let into the elite race in 2014
*To find out why I’m not happy with last year’s results and why the NYRR is partly to blame, click here.

Although I don’t have control over who gets into the ESBRU, I do have control over my own performance. I’m going to give Stamford my best shot and see if I can match pace with Sproule and company. I don’t really expect to win, but it won’t stop me from trying my best.

Just for fun, I spent some time predicting how well I’d do in the race relative to Sproule. On paper, I actually have an outside shot of retaining my title. My reasoning is as follows:
1) Sproule kicked my but at Hartford last March by a whopping 13 seconds. However, Stamford is a little bit shorter, so the gap at Stamford should be more like 11 seconds.
2) I’m in much better shape today than I was in March. My practice climbs are 2 seconds faster now than they were back in March, and Stamford is about 3 times the height of my practice climb. As such, I should be able to shave off at least another 6 seconds. This puts Sproule ahead by only 5 seconds.
2) Looking at the “Power vs. Time” chart for races a 2 second difference in a 45 second race translates to more like a 7.5 second difference in a 2:30 minute race. Taking this into consideration, this puts Sproule only 3.5 seconds ahead of me!

Although the numbers are heartening, I’m still putting my money on Sproule to win this race. I hope I can make it somewhat competitive, but I don’t have illusions of grandeur. My main goal will be to simply beat my time from last year. Based on my training results, I should be able to beat my previous record by a solid 15 seconds, so going sub 2:30 is a distinct possibility. If I come close, I know I’m where I need to be for the 2013 racing season. 

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