Posts Tagged ‘nyrr 50th anniversary run’

I woke up at 4:15 AM, threw on my running togs, slurped down a mini Diet Pepsi (no time to brew coffee to get my caffeine), ate a Luna Bar and a nectarine, grabbed my bag with my work clothes, and was out the door by 4:45, umbrella and sense of humor firmly in hand.  I had laid out everything the night before, my bib pre-pinned and my chip pre-laced, and I was up so early this morning that it felt like I was heading off to a marathon. In fact, I even had pre-race happy dreams, in which I dashed through the crowds, finished with a PR, and met Mary Wittenberg who gave me a Most Improved Runner award. No joke! What an awesome dream.

I’ve been so excited about this race ever since I registered. I was captivated by the idea of racing in Central Park, before work, with thousands of other crazy runners.  Surely only the die-hards would get up to run a 5:30 AM race. My growing affection for the club that stages the NYC Marathon and dozens of other races, classes, and events each year, and has played a big role in my own development as a runner, makes me want to celebrate its anniversary the same way I’d toast landmark moments in my friends’ lives.

What I wasn’t anticipating was a full-on rainstorm. It rained as I hailed a cab, it was raining when I got to the park, as we all waited for the start (in the dark, huddled together, under trees, umbrellas and trash bags), and as we raced the 5-mile course. When I got out of the cab, and made eye contact with two other women who had just arrived. I said, “What the fuck are we doing?!” and we all cracked up with delight at our insanity. I was loving every minute; I knew as soon as we started running the rain wouldn’t bother us anymore. I bumped into my coach and a few teammates from TNT, not at all surprised to find them there.

Finally, finally Mary and her men described the course, pepped us up (“Who’s here from the outer boroughs?” [a smattering of cheers] “Who’s here from the tri-state area?” [two random shrieks]), and we were off. This was the best race I’ve ever run without company. Better than my marathons, even, because this run truly felt like a party.  The sense of camraderie — and of general hilarity — was palpable through the pack. Splashing through puddles like were were little kids, in the wee dawn hours, being cheered on by NYRR staffers and volunteers, was a whole heap of good, clean fun. It’s too bad that while 5,000 runenrs registered, only 2,000 showed up to run through the raindrops. Those sleeping 3,000 missed out, big time.

Note, though, that I wasn’t there just to party in my technical clothes. No, I had a PR to set. My previous PR for 5-miles was at last year’s Poland Spring Marathon Kick Off (48:18).  I wanted to run 45 minutes or under, that was my goal.  I knew I could run sub-9’s for 3.5 miles, but I wasn’t sure if I could sustain that pace for 5 miles over the park’s rolling hills.

What a great race. Truly. There’s something almost magical about the park at that hour, and circling it with 2,000 other like-minded nutjobs felt somewhat once-in-a-lifetime to me. (Before you accuse me of melodrama please remember: I am a self-admitted romantic about this sport.) My mind’s eye could see around every curve, my feet tread lightly, my legs stretched over the crests of the hills.  

I crossed the finish line in 42:53, an 8:34 pace.  Wow, I kind of blew my goal of 45 minutes away. I was grinning so widely that the chip guy and the bag watch guy both asked my time (so what if they weren’t impressed?). This rainy morning was so perfect, I even got a kick out of being sopping wet (my visor dripped water everytime I leaned foward), dirty and stinky on the subway as I headed to the gym to clean up before I went into the office.

Happy Anniversary, New York Road Runners! Here’s to 50 more years of taking over the world through running.

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