I was looking forward to the ferry ride, especially once I realized that a) it was free and b) the Battery Marine Terminal was that building that marks 10 miles when I run over my bridge, across Midtown Manhattan, and all the way down the West Side rec path. I was also curious to see what kind of PR I could pop, since my current 10k PR is from 2006, and even though I am a much stronger runner now, my big training plans for August and September basically went to shit. But first, we had to out endure the srong, cold winds that were coming right at us from the harbor once we landed on Governors Island. Those 45 minutes of waiting brought back bad memories of sitting in Fort Wadsworth Park, freezing my ass off before the NYC Marathon.
Finally our small group of intrepid runners were all mucked behind the starting line, counting down the last ten seconds together as if we were watching the ball drop in Times Square. For the first two miles, I wasn’t racing, I was running for warmth and circulation. I ran with a lovely girl named Carolyn, who attends nursing school at NYU and is new to the city from Baltimore (we’d both run the Baltimore Half-Marathon last year). But then, somewhere nearing the end of Mile 4, I realized my splits were about 15 seconds slower than I wanted. I picked it up and when she couldn’t respond, I had to drop her. Sorry Carolyn, you were nice company while you lasted. Mile 1 — 8:13 / Mile 2 — 8:21/ Mile 3 — 8:25 / Mile 4 — 8:28.
The course itself was very well-marked despite its 15 turns. Each loop had a color, and there were color-coded signs with big arrows pointing us which way to go, in addition to the volunteers stationed at every turn, directing and encouraging us. I thought three loops of the island was going to be mental torture, but in fact it was interesting since each loop was slightly different than the one before. Whenever we hit the west side of the island, I tried to run faster just to get out of the cold headwind as soon as possible. The internal streets of the island that I saw were quite lovely; the historic buildings seem mostly well maintained (except for a few with burnt out windows, um). Plus, the views of the statue of Liberty and the Financial District were unparalleled.
As I started off Mile 5, I was ready to really amp it up, especially since Mile 5 includes the only downhill of the race. I had been deliberately not looking at Little G except to check when he beeped my mile splits at me, so I was unaware the amount of speed I’d picked up in Mile 5 until it was too late–when I saw I’d just run a 7:49 mile, I wasn’t going to back off for the last 1.2 miles of the race. I’d have to continue to push and see how much faster I could go. I passed a few other runners, mostly chicks, a dude or two. But right at the last quarter mile, these two lumbering guys I’d passed about a mile earlier came from behind, panting and grunting, stomping and spitting, and passed me. I was pissed, but my body had no answer by that point. My legs felt heavy and I just was hanging on until the finish line. I gave a final push, a little sprint, and it was over. Mile 6 — 7:34 / Mile 0.23 — 1:42 (7:18 pace). Watch time 50:34; pace 8:06. The race organizers still haven’t posted the final times, but I’ll circle back for you all. I know I didn’t place in my age group but I am interested to see how I did overall. Before I’d even crossed the finish line, I knew that (for the second time in a week) if I’d had more consistent training (including long training runs) this Fall, I’d have really burned the course up. Well: now I’ve got my benchmarks for the 5k and 10k. There is work that remains to be done.
I headed back to the ferry as quickly as I could (it was a 20 minute walk) because my body grew chilly as soon as I stopped running. Bumped into LA on the line, and we had a nice chat catching up, and comparing race notes. I’d forgotten on the ride out to take a photo of the ferry ride, so I made up for it on the way back with this 2-minute video of our ride. I warn you now it’s painfully boring, but around three-quarters into it the wind pushes me around and the camera swoops and the resulting image may make you laugh.