One Race Down, Eight to Go!

Woohoo – I’m officially 1/9 of my way towards the 2012 New York Marathon! Saturday morning was the NYRR 4 Miler in Central Park. I choose this one because it had a later start (9 am) which made the train situation a bit easier, and I figured this would be a low key weekend for me and the boy anyways,  since Sunday was Easter. What I did not account for were the infamous “April showers” that tend to pop up at this time of year.

Well sure enough, I woke up to rainy weather. I groggily grabbed my phone to check, but the rain was predicted to continue until at least 10 am. Fabulous, since the race started at 9 am and would take me a few minutes under 40 to finish.  I didn’t really consider bailing – I had a NYRR buddy waiting for me with my race number, and besides, what happens if it rains on marathon day? Do you give up 6 months of training for a bit of water? NO! I got dressed, toasted a bagel to-go, and headed out to catch the 6:30 am train out of Westport into Grand Central.  The train ride was uneventful – I ate my bagel and basically slept for another hour, and prayed to the pagan weather gods of above to make the rain stop. Apparently that was a bad idea, because as the train pulled into the city, the rain was even worse than it was back in CT.

I hung out in Grand Central for as long as I could, and headed over to the park. As soon as I got to the race site, I got an immediate rush of giddiness despite the bad weather. There is just nothing like a NYRR race – even the small races just have the happy runner buzz that some of the bigger half marathons have.  I staked out a spot by baggage claim, and found my friend Abbey who had picked up my race number earlier (I was afraid they would run out of small shirts on race day!)

Here’s normally where I would insert some pre-race photos…but at this point, the weather was so bad, I was too afraid to pull out my iPhone to take photos, in fear of breaking the phone! We met up Abbey’s friends Nicole and Dahlia – it was so nice to have some company pre-race, especially in the rain.  Abbey and Dahlia were shooting for 8:30 minute/miles – which I would have liked to try for, but I had to be honest.  That would of been a stretch for me on rested legs, and my legs were already tired from running 12 miles the day before. Nicole was shooting for 9:30 miles. I was tempted to pace with her so I could run comfortably, but I was kind of in the mood to see what I could do.  So the gun went off, and off we went our separate ways.

We started on east 68th street, so right in the first mile I hit my least favorite hill in the park – Cat Hill. For some reason it bothers me more than Harlem Hill – I think because mentally I expect the hills at the top of the park, but Cat Hill just seems to come up too soon! Between the congested (but expected) start and the uphill effort, I had a solid mile 1 of 8:58.

Mile 2 was a bit downhill, and I was totally warmed up from running – I didn’t feel cold at all, and the rain actually felt kinda good.  Along the way, a not-so-nice runner in a Red Sox hat cut me and another runner off. The other runner shouted something along the lines of “Of course the Red Sox fan is the rude one!” and I had to give him props for that, as a Yankee fan myself. The mile marker came quicker than I thought, and I looked down at my Garmin to see a 8:30 pop up. Nice!

Mile 3 – didn’t feel quite so nice. There were some smaller hills – up and downs – and the initial rush I felt from running in the rain had worn out. My “water resistant” jacket wasn’t doing too much for me, and I was tired. I started to doubt myself. I saw the lap pace start to grow slower and slower, and I didn’t too much to pysch myself to push through it.  Lap pace – 8:57.

Well after I passed the third mile marker, I felt a bit better – only one more mile to go, I can do this thing! I ignored the pain in my feel from a newly-formed blister and told myself to just GO.  The pouring rain, the cold, none of it mattered anymore. If I could just hang on for another mile, I was going to run 4 sub-9 miles all on my own. Battling hills. And pouring rain.  I dug deep, let it go – and hey, the downhill finish didn’t hurt either. Lap pace – 8:32.

My final time was 35:16 – for a total pace of 8:49.  I did a bit of weaving, and I’m really not the best at running the tangents, so I’m sure that’s where any discrepancies came from my Garmin’s info and the official race results. But I came in at 54.4% for my age-grade – which means I’m officially an above average runner!

My official results!

As I exited the finsher chute, I found Abbey and Dahlia. They had come in only a few minutes before at 33 and change, and they broke an 8:30/mile pace! I was very excited for them.  We found Nicole right after, and she came in a few minutes behind me with a 9:30 pace, right on her goal! We made our way over to grab our bags – and at this point I was pretty cold, wet, and miserable.  Abbey and Nicole were headed to the west side, while Dahlia was heading east, like me. But as we made our way out – we came by the finish area. Dahlia had a friend who was pacing one of her friends on his very first NYRR race, at a 15 minute/mile. She realized they should be coming across any minute – so she wanted to try and catch them and spread good cheer. I’m always up for being a good sport and cheering on fellow runners, so I tried to hang around…but after a few minutes, I was getting the chills really fast, and I knew I had to get out of the rain before I got really sick. So I said a hasty goodbye, and grabbed a cab as fast as I could so I could start pulling off my soaking wet layers.

Normally this would be the point in the race recap where I would say I was off to eat good food – but I had plans to meet my sister for brunch, and I couldn’t go to her place until 12ish (she’s a pastry chef extraordinaire at ABC Kitchen, so she works long night hours, and sleeps in to make up for it) and it was only 10:15. So I headed to Flywheel’s upper east side location.  That way I could get out of my wet clothes, have a snack, and take an 11:30 class to flush out my legs. Thank goodness I got out of the rain when I did – I could not stop shivering while I waited for my class, even as I was in dry clothes and a coat! So not only did the spin class flush out my legs, I think it helped bring my body temperature to normal.

And now, this is the point in the story where I went off to eat good food at brunch. And, there was a large champagne glass filled with a champagne, elderflower liquor, and peach vodka concoction with my name on it!

Stay tuned for part two – my trip to the New York Running Show!

My poor shoes drying out!

One thought on “One Race Down, Eight to Go!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s