Last Saturday was NYRR’s New York Mini 10k, my 3rd qualifying race for the 2012 marathon. Although I am a tad bit behind in blogger land (sorry guys!), the race was more than your typical single loop around Central Park. For starters, this race was the first women’s only road race, and this year marked it’s 40th anniversary. It’s hard to believe that only 40 years ago women were not as welcome in the racing world as they are today….craziness. The race was also dedicated to an amazing female runner, Grete Waitz. Not only she win the New York Marahion *nine* times, she also had run this one a stunning five times. She had passed earlier in the year to cancer.
The race had a 8 am start (it being almost summer and all), so I opted to crash at my friend Dahlia’s place the night before…a 5:30 am train didn’t sound like too much fun. We woke up at 6ish so we had time to eat, get dressed, have a hair braiding session (Grete was famous for running in pigtails…so Dahlia wanted to run in pigtail braids, and I was her official hair-braider), and take our time to head to the park. We got there in plenty of time to check our bags, warm up, and head over to the corrals.
|Me and Dahlia pre-race. Love those low bib numbers…thanks boys for staying home!|
Besides all the history behind the race, the other thing neat thing was the first mile and a half or so was run down Central Park West, outside of the park. While I’m sure the residents of the surrounding apartment complexes were less-than-thrilled at the early am festivities, I personally loved taking over the streets.
|Getting settled into the corrals|
Dahlia was in a corral ahead of me, so we had to split up. I was running on tired legs, so I didn’t really have any big plans to PR. Plus it was super humid out, and I never do well in the humidity. But weather.com had called for thunderstorms, so I was just happy we were able to get the race in!
I settled in my corral and found my friend Amy. We chatted a bit, listened to the opening speeches (including talks from Mary Wittenberg, Katherine Switzer and Deena Kastor), and before we knew, it was time to go!
Of course my Garmin decided to NOT work about 2 seconds before I crossed the start (shocking, really), so I decided to say screw it, and run without it. Many friends had warned me about going out too fast on Central Park West, so I tried to take it conservatively. Everyone had said it was flat…but to be honest, I felt a slight uphill incline. But regardless, I tried to not stress about pace and just enjoy running up Central Park West.
|Taking over the streets!|
Before I knew it, we hit 90th street, and it was time to turn into the park. Gee thanks NYRR, I thought, just in time to hit the Harlem Hills. I was warned that miles 2-3 were the hardest miles of the race, so I tried to just keep my pace, and not worry about the hills.
Well I guess all the hill running I do in the burbs of CT has made me stronger than I realize. Sure I felt the hills, but they weren’t nearly as brutal as I remembered from last year. I felt strong tackling both sets, and never once did I think “I can’t do this.” When I passed mile 3 I realized I was definitely under a 10 minute mile – which felt great, because I didn’t feel like I was running much harder than my usual training pace. A bunch of the running clubs had set up cheering zones along the way, and it was a great mental boost to hear the cheers. I felt like I was flying!
Once I got through the infamous hills, I knew it was downhill from there. Sure there were small rolling hills, or “coasters” as I call them, but there was nothing I couldn’t contend with. I started to feel the humidity, so I made sure to grab water at each stop.
Mile 4, and then mile past 5, and before I knew I only had one more mile left. The last time I ran a 10k was the Healthy Kidney 10k last year, and it was right after I took a hiatus from running…so it was not my best race. Even though I’m a much stronger runner now than I was back then (and a marathoner to boot!), it still felt really good to think about how strong I was feeling compared to how I was back then. I spotted the 800, then 200 meters signs…and then I saw the hot pink finish line in the distance, and I knew had it.
I ended up coming in at 57 mins and change, which was a PR by default. My goal was just to break an hour, so I was content But was more important to me was how great I was feeling the entire race – maybe breaking 2 hours in a half marathon (on a flat course in good conditions) isn’t so far out of reach after all.
And the best part? We got medals, yay! Even if it was only a 10k….I do love my medals.
After the race, I met up with Dahlia and a few other friends. We waited for others to come in, hung out, and took our chances on the raffle. Sadly, no one won the $500 Amex gift certificate or weekend trip to Shelter Island. Sigh.
But on the bright side – three races down, six to go!
PS – Have you entered my big giveaway yet? Only a few more days left 🙂