Race 2 was the Fred Lebow Classic 5-Miler. The course was altered a bit, because of construction, so we started on the East Drive at about 99th Street, crossed on the 102nd Street Transverse, and looped around the bottom of the Park, finishing at about 97th Street (or thereabouts).
Goals: to keep running between water stations; to run a more even pace throughout the race; and to set a new PR (under 47:26).
Well, the day didn’t start off well. I had trouble sleeping – I think I woke up at least once every hour! But, I drank my tea and ate my Snickers Marathon bar and set off. I was supposed to meet Lana at the Road Runners office at 8:45, but the trains were running local and very infrequently so I was a bit late. I picked up my number, but when I tried to get my t-shirt, they’d run out of the event t-shirts and were giving out shirts that read “I Ran a New York Road Runners Race.” You can imagine my displeasure! I found Lana outside (I’d walked right past her on my way in) and we walked over to the race. On our way to drop off our bags, we ran into Lou, who recognized me by my braids. After struggling through the crowds, we waited out the usual announcements and then had to wait for the celebrity starter (a local weather person named Heidi something – I didn’t recognize the name or the person when I ran past the start) and the live telecast of the start, we were able to make our way onto the course and get started. I’m convinced that NYRR has been getting into trouble because of the competitors’ tendency to spread out over the road, inhibiting others (mostly cyclists) from using the roads. For the second race in a row, the beginning of the course, including a good deal of the 102nd Street Transverse, was roped off. We could barely move forward until we made it off the Transverse. Lana and I first got separated by other runners and then Lana just took off! I had told her that I was hoping to run between 45 and 47 (45 has been my 5-mile goal for quite some time now). She said she’d probably be running between 10- and 11-minute miles, because she’d run a 7-mile training run the day before. But she was really moving!! I stopped at the first water station, but she didn’t and, after a brief glimpse at the 2nd mile marker, I didn’t see her again until I finished the race. I really made an effort to run a little faster in the beginning miles, but I didn’t really push myself. I like to save a little for the finish, as you know. I came down the rolling hills on the West Drive, then rounded the bottom of the Park. Coming up onto the East Drive, we were cheered by kids in a horse-drawn carriage. Very cute! As I head up past the 72nd Street Transverse, I kept looking for Lana, but she was well and truly past me. I hit Cat Hill and would have powered up it, but I lost focus a few feet from the top of the hill and dropped my inhaler, so I had to go back and pick it up. It came apart and took a couple of seconds to pick up the two pieces, not to mention the person who must have been running with her eyes closed, because she ran right into me and seemed really startled. My legs screamed when I turned around to start running again, which startled me – I always walk through water stations, so they shouldn’t have been struggling after such a brief stop, but maybe it was the kneeling down that did it. Anyway, I made it up the rest of Cat Hill and, after a brief slowdown to get my legs back under me, took off. At the 4-mile marker, I knew I was going to be able to finish with a PR, even if I slowed to a 10-minute-mile pace. Woo Hoo!! I passed Fred Lebow’s statue at the Engineer’s Gate and started to move faster and faster. The finish caught me by surprise – I knew it was going to be ahead of 99th Street (the complete loop is just a little longer than 5 miles), but it came up really fast after the top of the reservoir. I poured on my sprint and beat my improvised goal of beating my PR on the official clock! :D I didn’t see Lana waiting for me, so I walked back a bit to see if I’d passed her without knowing it, but didn’t see her in the finisher’s chute, either. I headed over to the baggage area, where we’d agreed to meet, and found her there. She’d finished in 46:03!! Way to go, Lana!! We took some pictures, then headed over for hot chocolate and bagels (I looked for Lou again, but didn’t see him).
Official stats: my net time was 45:06 for a 9:01 pace – I set a new PR by 2:20! I was 2215 out of 4174 total runners, putting me in the 47th percentile. It was 44° with 55% humidity and 17 mph winds. My mile splits from my watch were: 10:14, 8:56, 8:55, 8:44, and 8:18.
Celebratory treats: After the race, I met my friends in Chinatown for dim sum, stopping on my way to the restaurant (Grand Harmony) for a taro bubble tea. For dessert, we headed up to Divalicious, where I had 3 vanilla-gelato filled cream puffs dunked in a fountain of “French Vanilla” chocolate. MMM On my way back to the subway, I stopped at Kee’s Chocolates (my favorite NYC chocolatier) and tried her new Thai Chili bon bon. It’s amazing! And, then, when I got home, I had a York Vanilla Mint Pattie – yummy!
Next up: The Manhattan Half Marathon on January 21st and the Gridiron Classic 4-Miler on February 4th.
Thank you for all your support!