Race 15 was the Healthy Kidney 10k. We ran the 10k loop in Central Park, going clockwise (aka the hard way), finishing at Tavern on the Green.
Goals: My knees are still cranky and the bruise and lump from the cortisone shot are still there, though the lump is smaller and the bruise is mostly green now. I can't wait until I can delete that sentence! I had my usual goals of running between the water stations, beating a 10-minute mile pace, and setting a PR (56:14).
After a bad night's sleep (I must have been overhydrated!), I got up early and headed down to the subway. Unfortunately, the subway wasn't running from my neighborhood. I could either wait for a bus to take down to 168th Street and transfer there for the train or walk across the island to the 1-train. There weren't any buses in sight, so I jogged over to the 1. I still managed to get to the Park by 8:30 and I wasn't planning to warm up, so I wasn't overly stressed. As I was walking up to the registration area, I saw someone wearing a really nice tech shirt from what I thought was a previous Healthy Kidney 10k. Then I saw someone else wearing the same shirt and saw that the date was for today's race! Woo Hoo!! I was already feeling a little warm in the shirt I was wearing, so I was really glad to change into the new tech shirt before the race. I lined up at the 9 marker, looking for Fabian, Lana and Mark along the way. Just before we started, I saw Lana. We went through the start together (it took about 5 minutes to get to the start!!) and then I headed off.
Random conversation: Me, as I dodged the group of walkers (walking abreast, rather than single file) in the first quarter mile: "Walkers start at the back." The leader of the group of walkers: "Oh, shut up!" Nice.
I kept going up the West Drive, wanting to hold back a bit and keep my knee safe. I stopped at the first water station and did knee swings while I drank. I knew this would slow me down (I usually walk all the way through the water stations, so that I keep moving forward, but had to stop to do the knee swings), but I wanted to keep the damage to a minimum. As I came back onto the course, I saw someone in a David Wright Mets shirt and used him for my rabbit. I kept working my way up the hills (rolling hills up and then a steep hill at the north end of the Park) and tried to keep it pretty easy so my knee didn't blow up. When I came around the top of the park, I tore down the long downhill. I tried to find my rabbit, but either I passed him without noticing or he smoked me. I hit the second water station and stopped for knee swings. Someone called my name and it was Mark*, who turned out to be my Wright rabbit (who I'd obviously passed without noticing)! We ran together a little while, then I moved off to get up the final hill before the East Drive. My plan was to run easy up the hills, then make up the time on the easier downhill and flats towards the uphill finish. I passed the 3-mile marker and noticed that each of my first 3 miles was faster than the previous, so I set a new goal of running successively faster miles. There was a 5k chip mat, which I made sure to stomp on (at 28:18), assuming that they were using the mat as a means of disqualifying people who ran outside of the rec. lane. I'd been struggling with my breathing for about a mile and tried to keep going without using my inhaler, but gave up as I approached the 5-mile marker. Unfortunately, I waited too long and struggled a bit through the end of the race. The problem with asthma is that not being able to breathe also means that your muscles aren't getting enough oxygen. But, I'm planning to run 18 miles tomorrow, so saving a bit for tomorrow was part of my plan, anyway. Long story short, I was able to meet all of my goals, including the new one! Dathan Ritzenhein not only stopped Craig Mottram's streak, but he also broke the 10-year-old course record with a 28:08 and donated his prize money (not sure if it was just the first-place award or also the $20,000 course-record award) to the National Kidney Foundation!! The UAE, represented by their sergeant-at-arms, surprised everyone (including Mary Wittenberg, who didn't look especially thrilled) by awarding the top 3 female finishers and the top 7 male finishers (!) with trips to the UAE for a race in December. I ran into Lou after the race, but didn't see Fabian.
Official stats: I finished in 54:49 for an 8:50 pace over the 6.2 miles – a PR by 1 1/2 minutes! I was 3034 out of 5413 finishers, putting me in the 44th percentile. It was 54°F (12°C) with 66% humidity. My splits from my watch were: 9:32, 9:01, 8:49, 8:46, 8:44, 8:16, and 1:45 for the final 2 tenths (8:45 pace).
Celebration treats: I went on a behind-the-scenes tour of Jacques Torres' Chocolate Haven, led by Jacques himself. Of the many treats I came home with, my special treat for the race was a chocolate banana dacquoise. I also had a slushy Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper – I'm so glad they're available again!!
Next up: AHA Wall Street Run 5k on May 22nd and the first media challenge (3.5) on May 23rd
Thank you for all your support!
Here are the pictures: http://new.photos.yahoo.com/album?c=mytripsandraces&aid=576460762402098178&pid=&wtok=dxFthXXNMPeAH5Pdu0ahyg--&ts=1179699845&.src=ph (there's commentary in the slideshow, as usual). Enjoy!
*Mark is such a nice guy. I saw him in the crowd waiting for the awards ceremony, so I sidled up to him, brushing against him. He politely stepped aside. I brushed against him again, and, again, he side-stepped. I increased the pressure until I was leaning on him (I was wearing a jacket, so I wasn't sweating on him) and that was the moment that he finally turned and realized it was me.
**The 18-mile training run went well - I ran 17.99 miles in 3 hours (I slighly miscalculated the number of seconds it takes to get the machine up-to-speed). In the first two hours, I paused the machine at 30 minutes to do knee swings and refuel (1st hour - lemon-lime Jelly Belly Sport Beans; 2nd hour - fruit punch Jelly Belly Sport Beans; 3rd hour - Black Cherry Clif Shot Blox (these weren't bad - the texture has been improved, so they're firmer and don't melt as easily), with a swig of lemon-lime Gatorade Endurance every 5 minutes during the run). In the last hour, I paused at 20 and 40 minutes. I ran 55 minutes at 6 with a 5-minute cool-down, 55 minutes at 6.2 with a 5-minute cool-down, and 55 minutes at 6.4 with a 5-minute cool-down.