Let me note from the outset that I’ve had a problem with women-only races up to this point. I signed up for this one because it’s historic. I’ll sign up for it again because it’s a heck f a lot of fun and while I’m not totally on the women-only race bandwagon, I can definitely see the appeal.
This was going to be a special race for NYRR anyway as it was the 40th running of it. It was made even more special when it was dedicated to the memory of Grete Waitz. NYRR had worked with various clubs to be cheering stations at the mile markers, and I knew my club, Front Runners New York was going to be at Mile 3, which was majorly important for me (more on that in a sec).
It was my 4th 10K since I started running July 1, 2010. After the Scotland Run, I wanted to make sure I didn’t go out too fast at the start. My C goal for this one was to finish. I’m still acclimating to the humidity (luckily we didn’t really have the heat – race start was 69 degrees…but the humidity was 96%) and didn’t know how it would affect me in a race situation. My B goal was to do all my run intervals on the Harlem Hills, particularly the second one. I’ve gotten into a bad habit of just increasing my walk pace out of a rest interval on them, and I know I need to break it. My A goal was to complete my B goal AND to PR.
Because I do a run/walk system, I don’t have a mile by mile breakdown in terms of pace. But I’ll break it down as much as I can.
Mile 1 ~ For the first time EVER in a corralled NYRR race (I’m not counting the Wall Street Run as it’s not corralled) I can see the starting line AT the start! Woo! We start up Central Park West, and I’m feeling good. I’m going fast (for me), but it doesn’t feel too fast. I miss the first water table because I was on the other side of the road and missed the usual “toilets and fluid station ahead” signs we get in NYRR races, but I have a handheld with me (I carry my inhaleer in the pouch), so I’m ok. When I see the mile marker, it’s just over 12 minutes, so I’m pretty much on par with where I need to be.
Mile 2 ~ We’re in the park now. We’re starting up the
first of the Harlem Hills. I’m still running in my run segments – trying to keep the effort if not the speed the same as it was on flatter terrain. When you’re going this way in the park, this is the easier of the two. I hear a roar of noise from the other side and cheer my FRNY boys (and a few girls who were closed out of this race) giving it their all cheering for everyone. I want to get there and be STRONG! I am over on the correct side when we pass the water table at around 2.5. I was feeling like I was possibly on the verge of overheating at this point, so I grabbed a cup and after making sure no one was behind me, poured it over my head and arms. What do you know? That actualy DOES work to cool you off! I round the curve and see my team up ahead on the side of the road.
Mile 3 ~ My next run segment started jst before I hit my team and their cheering. High fives and yells of encouragement gave me just the burst I needed. And knowing they were down the hill kept my pride from letting me drop to a walk until it was time – which happened to coincide with the top of the hill!! B goal has been met!! I didn’t even pay attention to the clock as I crossed the 5K mat. At this point I’m really not worrying about time. Doing that entire run segment on that hill really to me meant the race would be a success. I knew I could walk to the end if I had to. Another water station around 3.5, another dousing with water – again, it wasn’t terribly hot, it was just humid.
Mile 4 ~ We’re in the flat-to-downhill part of the course now. I did walk a little during a couple of run segments just to not totally come undone after the hill, but never for the entire run segment. Once we hit the downhill just after passing the Met, I let my feet go to try and pick up a little pace I lost dropping to a walk.
Mile 5 ~ Started with my last water dousing, then I told myself “You have this. Let’s go!” And I pushed as much as I could during my run segments. I was getting tired, but I was determined. I’m still figuring out how to really pace myself over a 10K. I did better than at the Scotland Run in April, but I still have a lot to learn about it and how it will work for me. As I rounded the last curve, I could see the start of the finish chute.
Last 800m (I don’t recall seeing a 6 mile marker…just 800, 400, 200) ~ I’m really starting to feel the effort put forth on the Harlem Hills now. But I want to finish strong. I’m trying to stay with my run/walk thing, and I’ve got about 20 seconds left of walking when I hit the 200m marker. Some of my running club teammates (women this time) are there, and they kick my butt into starting to run. I pass another couple at about the 100m area (no sign), and then a bigger group about 50m away from the finish. They’re screaming like crazy, telling me I look strong and urging me in (later the couple at about 100m said that they looked at each other and were like “Was that Beth??” because I looked so strong. So I guess I usually look like I’m dying? LOL.). I crossed the finish feeling really good ~ exhausted but good ~ and managed to raise my hands and smile for the cameras. We’ll see what it looks like later.
I stopped the Garmin and that time was 1:15:09, so I knew if it wasn’t a PR (I start it when I cross the start line) officially it was going to be close. Still, I felt I’d accomplished enough I wasn’t going to be disappointed either way. I got a cup of Gatorade and downed it, (I didn’t feel like having a bagel at the moment…for some reason they always taste funny to me after NYRR races…maybe from the cardboard boxes they’re in? idk) then continued down the finish chute where I was given a carnation and a medal. I grabbed my bag and changed out of my soaked FRNY singlet into the race shirt and went to join my teammates to cheer in our remaining people on the course. We were getting a group pic made when one of the NYRR videographers came running over and had us yell first “Women rock!” and then “This one’s for Grete!” Good times!!! Then I headed over to meet up with some of the women from the NYC Marathon board on Runners World Online and we chatted while waiting for the raffle drawing. They were posting results, so I wandered over to see what my official time was. Finally they got to the numbers where I knew I’d be…
1:14:57!! 12-second PR!!! Average pace of 12:04, whic I know is snail-like to many of you, but it’s good for me, especially considering the humidity! So A goal was met! Hooray!!
Overall I had a blast, and I already can’t wait until next year!!
Oh yes ~ the added bonus of today’s race? I completed my 9+1 so I now have guaranteed entry into the 2012 NYC Marathon! Woo!