This is not something I ever thought, during the past 4 years of running in Central Park, I thought I would ever say. But, it's true. And yesterday proved it.
Yesterday was my first race since I've been plagued by a variety of foot injuries since the marathon last fall. I was incredibly excited to get back into the corral and was at Central Park really early yesterday morning. The race had a late start time: 10am. Something else (I'm guessing a bike race) happened earlier in the morning and the Fitness Mind, Body, and Spirit Games has separate start times for men and women. While it's great to pass men out on the course, I enjoy women only races.
The first mile was tough; I was hit right away with Cat Hill. Once I was at the crest of the hill though, I felt a twinge of accomplishment and even though my legs were a bit heavy, I knew I would be okay. While a lot of people passed me during the first mile it was somewhat okay with me because I wanted to keep a steady pace throughout the 4 miles. Plus, I wasn't out there to set a PR, I was out there to get back into the game and push myself harder than I had so far during my recovery. For people who train solo, there's nothing better to help push your limits than racing 3,000 other people!
Mile two and my legs started to loosen up a bit. I paid more attention to the people around me, my arm swings and my core so I didn't pay much attention to whether or not my foot was hurting. Although, I was conscious of my foot strike and landing mid-foot. The hills throughout the race tested my quads and my lungs, but I got up each one.
As I turned off the 102nd transverse I heard a crash further up West Drive. The course marshalls told people to keep going and not to worry, it sounded like a skateboard, but I can't be certain. I heard some yelling as I continued running and hoped no one was hurt. The hills on West Drive were defeating a few who had to slow to a walk, but I pushed through. It felt good to pass some of those who had blazed by me during mile one. A little girl, probably about 11 years old came up from behind me and we were pacing pretty even for about a mile. I don't know who she was, but she's gonna be a star one day!
Mile 4 just brought more hills. One woman in particular would leave me in the dust on the downhills but struggle up the inclines. I just don't get that method, personally. I rather push hard up the hill and be conservative on the other side to keep a pretty even pace. It seems to give me more power to push through the inclines. As I came up on the Lake I knew I was getting close to the finish line at 69th street so I pushed my pace a little. I definitely had some left in me and I didn't want to leave it on the course. Then I heard the cheers of the crowd that started around 73rd. I knew Woody would be near the finish line and even though it was all uphill to the finish line I pushed it even harder. I saw Woody in the crowd and gave a wave as I sprinted to the finish line.
The finish line was actually a bit deceiving because there were three mats. One woman thought the first was the end but the announcer had to tell her to keep going. I set my sights on the finish posts and went for it! I wasn't fast, but I finished with a better time than I thought I would (37:36) and with negative splits!
It was a good first race back and I'm glad to be back in the game! It wasn't my best but it was just the first step! The atmosphere was great and the weather was amazing! Afterwards, I met up with Woody as I got my pretzels, apple and water and then we found Grace at baggage.
She joined us for a great brunch at the Boathouse Cafe (we just made it before they switched to lunch service, they should definitely serve breakfast later than 11am on the weekends!) I enjoyed an egg white omelet with spinach and tomato, they all come with a little side of delicious potatoes! A quick tip for anyone visiting NYC: the Boathouse Cafe (the part with counter service) has one of the best cheap breakfasts in the city! Not a big menu, but it's really cheap and good!
yes, I like ketchup!
It was a great morning and I can't wait until my next race on October 6th!
On a side note, I bought new running shoes Friday night! I tried them on the treadmill for a few miles today and I they're keepers! After years of Asics, I've gone with Brooks Revenna this time.
Do you pick up race packets before the day of the race or right before?
workout stats -
4 mile race + warm-ups
3 mile jog