Race number 10 (8th 2009 marathon-qualifying race) was the adidas Run for the Parks 4-miler. We started just south of the 72nd Street Transverse and ran the middle loop, finishing on the Transverse itself. This race started the new corral system, for which all runners are seeded based on previous races. I’m in the 4th corral with an 8:20 pace on my bib. I’m going to have to pick that up this year, because my bibs are orange and we all know how I feel about that! I’ll be going for the green this year!!
Goals: to run between water stations and to average between 9 and 9:30 miles. This may seem like a soft goal, but, having just spent 18 hours traveling back to New York, I was extremely jet-lagged and didn’t want to push myself. My “A” race is the Brooklyn Half.
Despite the fact that the construction was supposed to have been completed while I was away, we had yet another weekend of subway changes, so I had to take a bus to get to my subway. There was a little expo/fair at the race and I wandered around a bit. I wasn’t early enough to get a massage (there was a long line) and I have a superstition about eating dairy before a race, so I skipped the Cabot Cheese booth. I stopped at the Port-a-Potty on my way to the start and the guy in front of me in line asked why I wasn’t on my treadmill at Bally’s. Yes, I have a favorite treadmill and, yes, I am irritated if someone else is on it before I get there. I don’t remember seeing him there before, so he must come in after I do and leave before (I’m there for about 2 hours every morning). Anyway, I headed off to my corral and checked out the bibs to see if everyone was obeying the new rules. At the official corral entrances, volunteers were making sure the bibs matched, but, at the last minute, a number of people jumped into the corral who should have been farther back, but no-one stopped them. I heard afterwards that runners in other corrals had pushed people out of the corrals or blocked them from coming in. At the beginning of the race, it seemed as if the seeded corrals were actually minimizing congestion, but then I noticed that we had also been given an additional traffic lane, so there’s no way of telling whether it was the corrals or the additional room or both that made the difference.
Anyway, I kept it loose and easy all the way around. I made myself stop at each water station, even though I didn’t really feel like I needed to. The only real difficulty I had was breathing. It was extremely humid, which is always a problem for me. I tried to just relax and take in the new flowers blooming like crazy all over the Park. When I got to the third mile marker, I realized that I was running much faster than I’d expected, so I decided to push it to see if I could get close to my PR (while I was running, it was in my mind that my 4-mile PR was 34:49). I still took my walk break at the water station, though. As I passed the puppet theater, I picked it a bit more for the last half and came in at 35:12. It wasn’t until I got home and looked up the numbers that I discovered that my PR was only 34:59. I really think that if I’d known the correct number, I might have picked it up a little more a little earlier in the race and set a new PR. Or, maybe, I’m just in a plateau phase and can’t really expect to see any PRs this year.
After the race, I stood in a very long line and got my massage. Then I headed over to drop my raffle ticket in the bin and check my results. They weren’t up yet, but I did run into Lou, who had done very well for himself. I headed off to grab my bag (stopping for cheddar cheese on my way). As I was getting my bag, I heard the raffle winner’s number announced; it wasn’t mine and I was freezing, so I headed home.
Official stats: my official time was 35:12 for an average pace of 8:48. My splits were 9:18, 8:32, 9:11, and 8:13. I was 3032 out of 5863 runners, putting me in the 48th percentile. It was 50°F, 89% humidity, and 12 mph winds.
Consolation treats: I stopped at the Bouchon Bakery at Columbus Circle and had a hot chocolate on the way home. When I got home, I had a slushy Dr Pepper, a brown sugar pecan macaroon, and a chocolate bouchon.
Next up: Brooklyn Half Marathon (5/3) and the Wall Street Run 5k (5/20)
Race pictures (and some pictures from the Park and Columbus Circle) are available here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7411850@N04/sets/72157604645931134/.