Race number 6 (4th 2010 marathon-qualifying race) was the Al Gordon Snowflake 5k in Prospect Park.
Goals: to run between water stations and to finish in under 28 minutes, with every mile run in under 9 minutes.
I missed 1 ½ workouts this week and was short 13.5 miles, so I had intended to run the 5k course before and after the race, as well, but had ruled out the post-race 5k before I went to bed last night (I didn’t feel like running with a backpack). Because the MTA is still playing with my subway line, I had to take a bus to the train again. Hopstop indicated a 1:22 ride, so I left a little earlier than that, but it took almost 2 hours, instead, so the pre-race 5k was out, too. I should have left even earlier than I did, but we had no heat again and I spent most of the night slightly awake, aware of how cold it was. In fact, there was little difference between being inside my apartment and being outside. Anyway, when I’d dropped my bag, I jogged about a half mile to the start as my warm-up, then stood around shivering, waiting for the race to start. I tried to find Steven before and after the race, but didn’t see him.
I knew we had a long hill to climb in the first half mile, so I started out slowly. I was having a little trouble breathing, because of the cold and humidity, so I used my inhaler (on the run – no stopping) and made it up over the last bump of the hill towards Grand Army Plaza. I tried to maintain pace down the rolling hills and to keep running until the water station, which I assumed/hoped would be at the halfway point. My shin started acting up in the second mile. The muscles started bunching up around my ankle, so I slowed down a bit, trying to take the pressure off of my calf. I stopped for water and took a long walk break, trying to stretch my calf out and even stopped to pick up the last garbage can, which had been tipped over. I jumped back onto the course and tried to catch up to the people who had passed me, but the bunching up sensation starting spreading up towards my knee, so I eased back again. As I came up to the 2nd mile marker, I was hoping that I’d stayed until 9 minutes and was surprised to find that I had by nearly 20 seconds. I had about 25 seconds in the bank for the last mile, which I knew was going to be uphill, because we had to cross the second transverse and somehow get back up to the west side of the park, which is at a higher elevation. I briefly considered walking to ease up on my shin, but my legs kept going, so I decided to take my brain out of the equation and let my legs do the work. The hills on the transverse were a bit steep, but manageable. Coming out onto the west side of the park, we had to continue uphill to the first transverse and then uphill some more towards the finish. I was very discouraged as I approached the 3rd mile marker, because I got the numbers mixed up. I thought I’d gone to nearly a 10-minute mile and was shocked to see that I was only at about 8:40. No finishing spring for me, but I did make my goal.
On my way out of Prospect Park, I did some exploring, trying to find a building I’d seen two years before after the Brooklyn Half. I found it and briefly considered going on to the Farmer’s Market at Grand Army Plaza, but someone told me that going back the way I’d come was shorter, so I headed back to some shops I’d seen on my way in.
Official stats: my official time was 27:13, for an average pace of 8:46. My splits were 8:58, 8:43, 8:41 and :55 for the final tenth of a mile. I was 1978 out of 3987 total runners, putting me in the 50th percentile. I was 614 out of 1945 women, putting me in the 68th percentile and 35 out of 144 in my age category, putting me in the 76th percentile. It’s been a long time since I finished this far forward in such a big race, so I’m feeling pretty good about it. It was 28°F with 53% humidity and 12 mph winds.
Consolation treats: On my way back to the subway, I stopped at the Dub Pie Shop, which I passed on the way from the subway. I picked up two pies to try and a vanilla custard tart. I also stopped at Whole Foods on the way home for a chocolate fudge brownie. And, of course, my slushy Dr Pepper!
Next up: Coogan’s Salsa, Blues, and Shamrock 5k (3/1)
Race pictures are available here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7411850@N04/sets/72157614187357301/.
If you’re interested, here are pictures from a Valentine’s Day Valrhona tasting: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7411850@N04/sets/72157613785218052/.
That same week, I went to a lecture on the Science of Taste at the New York Academy of Science: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7411850@N04/sets/72157613769217153/.