Race 25 was the fifth and final Media Challenge of the year. We run 3.5 miles – twice counter-clockwise around the lower loop in Central Park and then some.
Goals: There’s only one water station on this course and it’s at the finish, so I was going to have to run over 1.7 miles at a shot to keep from walking between rest stations. I was heading towards 35 miles in 3 days (including my elliptical machine work-out on Sunday and my 1-hour ladder in the morning), so I told Sue that I thought I would finish in 34, but I was really hoping for a 32.
No warm-up today. This was the last race of the season, so we had to make a strong showing to gain the 40 points we were behind. I started out at a comfortable pace and started passing people right away. I thought I might be going too fast, but was able to maintain, so I just held on and gave my legs their way. I had a little trouble with the humidity. I kept passing rabbits, so I decided to give it a real go. I knew my PR for the course was 30, but thought it might be too much, though I really felt like I was moving fast. I passed several more News Corp runners (they were in first place, so I needed to concentrate on passing them) runners and runners from other teams as well. By the first time around the 72nd Street Transverse, I was desperate for water and needed to use my inhaler. I carry it with me always, but wanted to see if I could wait until my water break. I came up around the last uphill off of the transverse and headed into the little rolling hills to finish the first loop. I just couldn’t stop myself from passing more people, even though I knew they’d all pass me when I stopped for water. The water was just before the finish line and I walked past the timer (Sue’s boyfriend, Armando, kindly agreed to stand in at the last minute) and then, just before I started running again on the downhill, I used my inhaler. I caught up with and passed every female who had passed me when I stopped for water, though it took me over half the loop to manage it. I even passed one of my own team-members (luckily). As I came around to the 72nd Transverse, I picked another rabbit and was able to pass her and another News Corp female as we came off the transverse. As I passed the start, a woman came up and passed me and I wasn’t able to catch her again. No finishing kick for me, but I still managed to finish with a 46-second PR.
I don’t usually go to the post-race dinner, but it wasn’t pizza this time and I’d already decided that I was going to rest the following morning. Oh, am I glad I went!! After dinner and before dessert, they passed out the awards. There were no grand masters, so they started with the female masters, warning us first that the company had given them four Male Masters trophies, but that two of them had female figures, so those were going to the female winners. The second place female master had finished in 29:40. I knew I had, but didn’t think anything other than to recognize that was my finishing time. When they called my name, I just sat there. Then I realized that that was my name that had just been called. I was numb and still just sat there. It finally all clicked together and stood up and happily accepted my trophy. While I sat there holding my trophy and grinning like a fool, one of my teammates, leaned back and told me that he hadn’t realized I was a master – he thought I was his age – 25!! Woo Hoo!! That’s almost better than getting the trophy (except that memory fades, but this trophy is going nowhere, even though it’s slightly flawed!!).
Official stats: I finished in 29:40 for an average pace of 8:29 over the 3.5 miles – a PR by 46 seconds. I was the 16th female finisher (!!) and won a trophy for being the second fastest female master!!* My official split from my watch were: 15:05 (8:23 pace for the 1.8 miles) and 14:35 (8:35 pace for the 1.7 miles). It was 73° with 68% humidity.
Celebration treat: I know, I know – the dinner, trophy and compliment would be treats enough for most, but I’m a greedy cow, so I also had Mo’s Bacon Bar from Vosges (to celebrate the PR) and a Crème Brulee from Kee’s Chocolates (to celebrate the trophy) and a gingerbread caramel from (thank you, Lisa!).
Next up: The Disneyland Half Marathon (9/3), the Queens Half Marathon (9/23), the Fifth Avenue Mile (9/29) and the 18-mile Tune-up (9/30).
Thank you for all your support!
*Sue was second female overall or I would have been edged out – only the top two for each category win. The categories include open field, masters (40+) and grand masters (50+, I think). We were unable to make up the 40-point deficit and finished the season in second place.
Random pictures from the past two weeks (race pictures are at the end) are here: http://new.photos.yahoo.com/album?c=mytripsandraces&aid=576460762405174840&pid=&wtok=z5eu94DP5DdHyYDb.IgfOA--&ts=1188436341&.src=ph (with commentary in the slideshow, of course).