Race 11 was the Scotland 10k. The course was once around the big loop clockwise and then some to finish at Tavern on the Green.
Goals: As you know, my knees are in bad shape. In addition to the bursitis, I have patellar tendonitis in both knees after last week’s half marathon. In addition to running between water stations, I was hoping to run each mile at sub-10 pace. I had a distance PR goal of 58:06 to beat, but would have to run really smart, if I wanted to make that happen. I’d already decided not to go out strong and just run comfortably, with no finishing sprint. I spent most of the weekend calculating where I’d have to be at certain points to make this happen.
I got to the Park early and lined up to get the Scottish flag painted on my face. There was only one face painter, so it was slow going. There was a serious set-back when a photographer for the Daily News saw a little boy in line and decided to take him to the front of the line to take the pictures. I objected to the wrangler, but she didn’t care. None of the racers were very impressed. His face painting took 3 times as long as anyone else’s, too, because the photographer kept taking pictures. Finally someone at the front of the line said something strong (I didn’t hear it) and the photographer stepped back and apologized. I waited an extra 5 minutes (which was less than it otherwise might have been because several people stepped out of line when the photographer started screwing everything up) and was finally successful. I ran into Paul, who cautioned me about the bursitis (thank you, Paul), and I promised I was going to take it easy. I dropped my bag and headed to the start with less than 5 minutes to spare. I wasn’t planning to do a warm-up, to save my knees, just in case, but I realized that I’d forgotten my inhaler and had to run back to get it out of my bag. Then, I had to run to the start, which was good, because it let me get a feel for how my knee was doing. I lined up on the side behind the 9-minute marker (ever optimistic) and took off at a nice easy pace. I allowed myself to get boxed in and generally did what I could to keep my pace back. I decided to try to run evenly. I’d calculated that 9:20 pace would get me through to a PR, but wouldn’t leave me any room for error. I skipped the first water station. I knew that I wouldn’t have many extra seconds to spare and also, for some reason, I tend to run faster coming out of the water stations, so I hoped this would keep my pace more even and protect my knee. I didn’t feel any pain in the first few miles. It wasn’t until I was coming up to the 3rd mile marker in the Harlem Hills that my knee started to bother me. The uphills were a little wearing, but nothing I couldn’t handle. The flats and downhills were great – no pain at all. I skipped the next water station, too. As we came around the top of the Park, two girls were talking about the lack of spectators cheering us and exclaiming about the hill coming up. I told them it wasn’t as difficult as it appeared and one of them said that the last hill had nearly killed her. I told her this one wasn’t as bad and to keep her arms low to save energy. As I ran off ahead, I heard her saying that I was their cheerleader. That made me smile, but did not hold me back. I left them to find other cheerleaders and made my way up the curve to finish off the top of the Park. At the 102nd Street Transverse, the New York Flyer bagpiper was there, playing us along. I kept moving easily along, no effort at all, and was soon passing Fred. Coming down the East Side was wonderful! The dogwoods and/or cherry trees were in bud and some were even in bloom. The trees were white and pink and red. No matter how nice the weeks have been, the weekends have been so cold. It even rained a bit today. So, the promise of Spring really made me happy! As with the last race, I spent a lot of time doing math in my head. I had calculated that if I hit the 4-mile marker with 22 minutes to spare, I could slow to a 10-minute mile pace and still set a PR. That didn’t happen. I passed the next water station and pushed it a little coming down Cat Hill. On the way to the 5-miler marker, I calculated that if I hit it with 12 minutes to spare, I’d be able to slow at that point to a 10-minute mile pace and still set a PR. I made it with half a minute to spare, so I felt like I could relax and pay more attention to my knee, which, while not painful, was feeling a bit of pressure. As we passed the carousel, there was a whole group of men shouting and cheering and high-fiving runners, which really helped me along. I moved easily around the bottom of the Park and saved some energy for the slight uphill before the finish. I tried not to sprint, but couldn’t help putting on a little push, hoping to finish in under 56 minutes. Didn’t happen. After I finished, I got my picture taken by Brightroom and, as I was heading over to get my bag, I heard someone call out, “La Lynx!” I turned around and there was Fabian. We chatted for a bit and went over to meet his brother Roberto. They had finished faster than I had, but had run 12 miles before the race and were running another 2 after! I went over to the stage and watched the winners get their prizes. Then the raffle happened. I have yet to win anything at a raffle, but I keep trying! I didn’t win this time, either, but Mark did and he gave me his prize! It was so nice of him!! He headed off – it was quite cold and he didn’t have a coat – but I stuck around to watch the crowd “strip the willow.”
Official stats: I finished in 56:14 for a 9:03 pace over the 6.2 miles, setting a distance PR by over almost 2 minutes! I was 3075 out of 5717 runners, putting me in the 46th percentile. It was 45°F (7°C) with 60% humidity and 5 mph winds. My mile splits from my watch were: 9:59, 9:04, 8:57, 9:03, 8:36, 8:51 and 1:47 for the final two-tenths of a mile (8:55 pace).
Celebratory treats: I had already set aside my non-chocolate treats: TastyKake Butterscotch Krimpets, which I’d saved for this occasion, some Churro-flavored Bugles (mmm . . . Churros), and, in case I did manage a distance PR, two dark-chocolate Magnum candies, which my cousin sent me from Italy. Those Magnum are unbelievably good – I wish I could find them here. Anyway, yesterday, I realized that if I did manage to set a distance PR today, that I’d have set distance PRs in every race I ran during Lent and that would need something special. Whole Foods let me down again, but I did find chocolate walnut cookies, so I’m having one of those. The clerk at Whole Foods commented that they looked really good, so I offered one to her, but she wouldn’t take one until I explained that I’d given chocolate up for Lent and would only be eating one of the cookies, anyway. She snuck it into her apron and I hope she’s enjoying it!
Next up: The Brooklyn Half Marathon on April 14th.
Thank you for all your support!
Here is a link to some random pictures, including pictures from the race, and some food shots: http://new.photos.yahoo.com/album?c=mytripsandraces&aid=576460762396026889&pid=&wtok=OwJbH6Adsfe3pYFtrFvlVw--&ts=1175469491&.src=ph (as always, there’s commentary in the slideshow). Here’s a video I took of the Strip of the Willow dance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrV6VeowSr0.