Posts Tagged ‘nyrr mini 10k’

I was disappointed, but the NYRR Mini 10k did not disappoint me. Even though I felt crushed over my performance, how delighted was I with every other aspect of this race? VERY.

The NYRR Mini 10k is a historic race. Spearheaded 40 years ago by one of my personal heroes, Kathy Switzer, the first running of this race had only 75 participants. This year, it had more than 7,000. Today, no one questions a woman’s right and ability to run for pleasure, exercise, and competition, but 40 years ago it was still considered a radical, unfeminine, outlandish activity. I can blog (and pout, crow, muse, and navel-gaze) about my running with such abandon today because of to work done by female runners such as Switzer, Benoit, and Waitz decades ago. Speaking of Waitz–this year’s Mini was run in her honor, and I was proud to be participating in the memorial, and in the larger tradition of the race. Apart from everything that Grete did for women’s running worldwide, and her importance to the New York City Marathon, she raced in pigtails–what’s not to love about that?

After spectating last year, I decided I would not let another year go by without racing this one. As I’ve said before, I generally pass on most New York Road Runner races because I am not interested in paying to run around Central Park. But the Mini, with its start at Columbus Circle and course that takes us up Central Park West and clockwise around the big loop in the park, is an exception. BUT if they’re closing a major thoroughfare, giving me the chance to run down Harlem and Cat Hills, and setting up the finish in front of Tavern on the Green?–then hell yeah, I’m in!

As I walked to bag watch, I imagined that I knew all of the women headed that way, too. I strolled and reflected (since I was in no hurry for the race to start) that at one point or another, I was or will be one of these women. I have or will race: skinny, fat, hungover, well-rested, slow, fast, for fun, a PB, to test my fitness, to be among friends, injured, peaking, PMSing, to heal a broken heart, to burn off lust, to actualize myself, to get guaranteed NYCM entry, to prove something, to set an example, to support another woman, to burn 700 calories, to believe in myself, to remember who I am.

When I got to bag watch, I realized that I actually did know dozens of the women on the course that day. I had met then through my blogging, tweeting, racing; through my family, work, racing, Team in Training and Team Fox. Women runners pervade every segment of my life–and there are few comments on who I am and who I hope to be that are more beautiful than that. How lucky am I? VERY.

Among the runners I know, I was able to see these women before or after the race: @raceslikeagirl, @mdwstrnNYer, @sugarpop, @ericasara, @nycbklyngirl, @BklynRunner, @susanruns, @Running_Fox, @EvaTEsq, @kbruning and others I am sure I’m forgetting. When I pushed into my corral (the second corral! A red bib!), I ended up right behind a woman I know from work. I saw my old TNT Coach Nancy by the raffle table. I know there were many other women racing who I knew were there but didn’t catch up with–plus the other women I know but didn’t realize were racing. How cool is that? VERY.

I was agog with the calibre of professional competition in the race, as well. As we raced, I would follow behind athletes such as Deena Kastor, Magdalena Lewy Boulet, last year’s victor Linet Masai, Kim Smith, and many others. How many amateur runners in this country get to tread directly behind such talent? A small percentage, yet there I was! How rare is that opportunity? VERY.

Now for the race itself. It wasn’t until the Chacha man shot off the Go gun that the competitor within me woke up and said a quick prayer, Please let me have a good race. I enjoyed the course immensely, even though I had my eyes cast down nearly the entire time. My mood was subdued, to say the least. I erroneously thought the conditions hospitable–skies were overcast and there was a light breeze, but I learned afterwards that humidity was 96%. My legs, my legs, people! They haven’t felt kicky in nearly a month. During the race, I kept expecting some sort of grit to push its way to the surface through the pudding. Usually that race mentality picks up on the cues: What are these hoardes of people, timing chips, bibs, racing flats doing here? Oh, okay! Nope, pudding all the way. I felt like a pile of damp leaves and kindling. No spark was going to set me on fire. This was my thought pattern the entire race: Q: Can I sustain this speed? [look at Little G] A: It reads slow but it feels dangerous.

At Mile 3, I broke out in a huge grin despite myself. The Front Runners were cheering as if their lives depended on it. NYRR had set up cheering stations, assigned to various clubs (whose male members were wearing shirts emblazoned with “This one’s for Grete.”). Their shouts were amazing, and gave me a boost like I’ve never experienced in any race previously. They made me feel special, like I was doing something remarkable, and for that I was grateful (because I didn’t believe I was remarkable at the time).

Ultimately, I finished more than a minute thirty off my PR, which left me feeling pretty crushed and wondering if I am a fool to think I can run a sub-3:45 in my marathon this October. Friends reminded me I raced on only five weeks of consistent training, the humidity was killer, and I have been exhausting myself through BEA, moving house, and unpacking. All of that is physical, and can leave a body in need of recovery the same way a long run or speed workout does (so they told me). I am grudgingly meeting them half way. I am also considering this: I ran a 35-second negative split, my fastest mile was my last, and I lost one pound this week (I am attempting to get back to race weight by August). While those facts aren’t VERY encouraging, for right now, they are encouraging enough.

6.2 miles raced in 52:07. Fastest mile 8:09 (Mile 6); slowest mile 8:33 (Mile 1); average pace 8:24.

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