I had a little over an hour before I had to leave for the race, I wanted enough time to have some tea, stretch, and take my time getting ready and waking up. The news wasn't even on yet when I turned on the TV so I went to the weather channel. It was gray and gloomy out, the buildings across the way had water puddles on their roofs. It looked like it could rain any second. It was 65' and 100% humidity in Central Park, with rain in the area and a big storm out in Pennsylvania. Not ideal running weather. I checked my twitter feed and lots of people were talking about the weather, wondering if the race would be cancelled. No word from NYRR on twitter or Facebook. I got dressed, had some tea, stretched, stretched and stretched some more. My stomach was uneasy but I know it was due to nerves. My pre-race fueling was not ideal: two medjool dates (natural sugar for energy) and a few gluten-free crackers along with water and tea. With such high humidity, I didn't want too much in my stomach.
I left the apartment just after 6:30am for the subway, thankfully it wasn't running local this weekend and I got uptown in no time. I'd much rather be early and have time to loosen up again and check my bag than have to rush to the corral. I put my bag in a garbage bag (just in case it started to pour) and dropped it at the baggage check. Visited a porta-potty and then headed to Columbus Circle. The corrals weren't open yet so I stretched a bit and took in the atmosphere. Tried to calm my nerves a little, but the efforts were fruitless.
You're assigned to a corral according to your fastest pace. My fastest pace happened a few years ago, so while my bib said red (2nd) corral, I joined the one two places back. I don't want to be the person holding others up because I'm slower! I knew where I belonged. There were a few speeches before the gun including ones by Kathrine Switzer, Grete Waitz's husband, Deena Kastor, Mary Wittenberg and others. It was pretty incredible listening to the bios of the pro-women who would finish around the time I would hit the 5k mark. Then, we were off.
The race heads up Central Park West bypassing several of the infamous Central Park hills. It was a pretty easy start to the race and actually very little jostling around. The runners have the entire four lane road at this point, so even with over 6,000 runners, it wasn't too crowded. But, it was humid. Even though I was drinking water from the time I woke up to minutes before the race started, I was thirsty before we hit the 1 mile mark.
My plan for the race was to finish. In order to do that, I knew I had to maintain an easy pace and not push myself. Believe it or not, there are a lot of hills in Central Park and some are pretty brutal. I kept a pretty good pace on CPW and didn't look at the time when I hit the 1 mile mark. I could have left my watch at home because I didn't look at it once during the race. I knew this would be my slowest race ever, and that was fine with me. I just wanted to run it. I can set time goals on my next race.
We hit the park and the hills hit back. They weren't too bad until we passed the 110th St transverse when we got into the Harlem Hills. I do not like taking hills slowly. I usually pick up my pace when I start an incline, but this time I kept it steady. Women were laboring up the first hill and when we got to the top you could feel the collective sigh of relief! There is a nice downhill after that one before heading up another brutal incline. I need to mention here that the crowd support was pretty awesome. Not only were the course marshall's cheering us on, but a ton of NYRR staff was out along with local teams. Team in Training was out in force, with at least two groups of people each mile. The Harlem Hills aren't a great place to cheer, simply because it's far north in the park, but there was a HUGE group of people near Lasker Pool, just in the right spot to give us a boost up the hill!
Things were going pretty smoothly after that, I took advantage of each water stop for a quick sip but my leg was feeling good and I didn't need to walk or stop. I was paying close attention to how my leg was feeling and would have walked if I needed to. We made our way south along the east side of the park and soon we got to Cat Hill. It's much more manageable going south than north, but on my way down my left knee started to ache. I knew this might happen because it has been hurting a bit since I started picking up my cardio. We were near the 5 mile mark and I knew I could get through it. I started focusing on this ache more than I should have, but I continued to push through. As we got closer I knew I was going to be able to do it. The race finished near Tavern on the Green, and there is one last uphill push to get there. I didn't think I had much left in me, mostly because of my knee, but the last hundred yards I picked up my pace and I crossed the finish line strong. I had done it!!
I walked through the crowded finish chute, found my way to some water and a pear, then was handed a beautiful pink carnation and my medal! I was hot, sweaty and very thirsty. I got myself through the crowd to the baggage claim area and dug out my bag within a bag. It didn't rain, but I almost wish we had a little drizzle to easy the oppression of the humid air. I saw Kathrine Switzer speak about the tradition of the race and then headed out of the park, cheering along the way for the runners coming in to the finish line.
After the race I headed to a nearby restaurant to meet up with a few bloggers for brunch. Thanks Christy for setting it up!! Then I met up with Woody for our weekly trip to Trader Joe's before heading home and taking a much needed shower!
The afternoon included a rainy trip to the Big Apple BBQ. Nothing, and I mean nothing, can keep New Yorkers away from some good barbeque. It was drizzling when we left the apartment and downright pouring when we got out of the subway. Thankfully it stopped a few minutes later. We saw six people sitting at a picnic table with a plastic sheet over all of them making a little tent so they could enjoy their ribs in dryness! We chose pulled pork from Ubon's Barbeque of Yazoo (MS). I had mine without the roll, and ended up getting a lot of meat and coleslaw, half of both I added to Woody's plate.
It was delicious. Woody also tried the smoked sausage from Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q (AL) but decided the pulled pork was the better of the two.
After that, I was downright exhausted. I think that on top of the fact that I haven't run six miles in months, the nerves associated with the race and the insane humidity (the official race stats have the humidity at 96% at the start) just wore me out. I relaxed the rest of the day and enjoyed the fact that I ran and finished the race!
Next on the race schedule is the See Jane Run Seattle 5k in July!
- What was the highlight of your weekend?
- Do you spell BBQ barbeque or barbecue? Seems spell check thinks I'm wrong spelling it with a 'q.'
Saturday's workout -
lots of stretching
Sunday's workout -
2x20 upright row
2x14 leg curl
2x17 leg extension
2x20 bent row
2x20 hammer curl
Today's workout -
2x20 leg press
2x20 cable pushdown
2x16 lateral arm raise
2x20 leg press
2x20 cable pushdown
2x16 lateral arm raise