Welcome to Ed’s Calm Corner! Kevin, team captain, has given me the “Ed the Calm” nickname a while back, due to my same “calm demeanor” when running easy or intensely. What started as giving a few quick tips before a race has turned into a series of advice and general knowledge sharing in Queens Distance Facebook group. I am not the fastest or the most knowledgeable runner, but the hope is to pass along course knowledge, general advice, and anything in between, to help one be more confident before a race.
We’re all familiar with the mile. We have all run plenty of miles before and we will run plenty more. For those well into their marathon training, hitting mile after mile in our long runs and workouts is commonplace. But, have you ever just ran one mile as fast as you possibly can? It’s one of the biggest physical and mental challenges you can set out to accomplish, because once you’re hurting, finding the motivation to keep going can be hard. Luckily, you can find comfort knowing that Queens Distance will be there to push you along. And, if you’re running the NYRR 5th Avenue Mile this weekend, you already know we’ll be out there cheering at the ¾ of a mile mark!
Hoka One One Long Island Mile
Photographed by Jose Donado
I had the pleasure of attending the Hoka One One Long Island Mile at Bay Shore High School Wednesday night along with Jose Donado, Michael Remache, Daniel Rivera, and Bryan Guzman. We arrived to find a calm setting as more and more runners began to settle in. It was a beautiful evening with a slight breeze, if you were just spectating; those running had to deal with the humidity and the nerves that come with racing on a track. We progressed into the night and first up was Michael who ran a 5:59 mile! Another heat went off and Danny and Bryan were getting ready. Unlike the 5th Avenue Mile, the Hoka One One Long Island Mile was broken up into pace heats; the first heat was a 8-to-10 minute pace goal group and the last heat was a sub 4:30 minute pace group. The gun went off and they broke off again, Danny finishing in 4:58 and Bryan in 5:06 (a new personal best)!
Photographed by Jose Donado
It was a tough night with the humidity affecting the runners, but at the end of it all, we had a lot fun running, watching the elite runners race, and talking about the next big goal: the 5th Avenue Mile. What to expect on race day? A downhill for the first 400 meters, an uphill for the second 400 meters, another downhill for the third 400 meters, and then Queens Distance cheering as you begin the last 400 meters until the finish!
The QDR Scream Station at the 3/4 mile mark!
Just like in the previous years, Queens Distance will set up on 5th Avenue and 65th Street, right by the ¾ mile mark. We chose this spot because, as you can see the finish line on the horizon and as you probably think you’re fading, the scream station will help you find an extra gear to finish the last 400 meters as strong as possible. Make sure to stay on the right side of the street!
Claudia Rivero, Jose Donado, Kevin Montalvo, & Nicole Freeman at the NYRR 5Th Avenue Mile 2017
To go back to a previous point, why would you think you’re fading after the halfway point? Because it certainly feels that way and, as I’ve talked to others about, the third 400 meters into the mile can make you or break you. One just has to hold on to dear life as the pain starts to kick in and the rate perceived effect rises. As I’ve told my younger brother plenty of times, “One moment of pain is worth a lifetime of glory.” That quote is attributed to Louis Zamperini, a World War II veteran who ran the 5000m distance in the 1936 Berlin Olympics and also known for being a Japanese prisoner of war survivor. Coincidentally, it was Zamperini’s brother who told him that right before Zamperini left for the 1936 Olympics. It was something that resonated with me while reading his story in Unbroken.
So, as you head towards the final part of any mile race, remember that the pain will be over soon, not to give up, and keep pushing. Embrace the pain. Sure, maybe you won’t be competing at the Olympics (for now) but a mile is a mile; a 5-minute mile is the same distance as a 9-minute mile. We all have different goals but the struggle to reach that goal is the same.
Take it from the first two runners who broke the 4 minute barrier in 1954. John Landy, the second person to break 4 minutes in the mile, attempted and failed numerous times to break that barrier. After a few attempts he even thought it was be impossible. It wasn’t until Roger Bannister broke the 4 minute barrier in 3:59.4 that Landy was later (in about 6 weeks) able to break the 4 minute barrier.
Come race day, don’t set any limits, just run your best. One of my favorite memories from the 2017 5th Avenue Mile was seeing my mom run her first mile race. She was hoping to break 11 minutes and when she finished she was so surprised that she finished in 9:45! The Mile is not just for the fastest but also for those courageous enough to challenge themselves.
If you have time after your race on Sunday, stay to watch the Elite Men and Women races and take a picture with them after the race!
Ginia Guzman’s signed QDR hat by Jenny Simpson!
Best of luck!