Mini Race Report
Race report is not so mini. But it’s for the mini. The length of this is ridiculous. I apologize in advance.
So, obviously I have motivation issues when it comes to blogging. Thankfully, that doesn’t apply to running at the moment, just blogging. But, I’m done with my classes until fall, and I’m only working three days a week. That is leaving one bored-out-of-my-mind chica. Therefore, might as well try this again. I’m not giving you any promises though.
I’m jumping on the bandwagon and adding another Mini race report! Like many of my fellow “bloggers” (I’m using quotes, because I barely count as a blogger), I was out and about this past Saturday morning for one of my favorite races of the year: The Mini 10k. Now, my running bestie Megan says that I always say “this is one of my favorite races!” about every single race. And I do say that, but because I really only run my favorite races in New York. I’ve been racing in NYC for about 5 years now and don’t need to run every race I come across, like I felt like I did in the beginning (I would love to race more, but they’re not free!). Therefore, I pick and choose, and the Mini is ALWAYS chosen.
This race is always special for me, but this year it was especially so. Road Runners dedicated it to the late Grete Waitz who passed away this past April. I cried when I heard she had died, and I teared up in the corral Saturday when they were talking about her legacy. She helped women’s running become a popular, accepted sport, and was second to Joan Benoit Samuelson in the first Olympic women’s marathon in 1984. She won several New York City Marathons as well as many Mini’s. She was a friend to NYC running and NYRR—anyone who has seen the video of her running the NYC Marathon with Fred Lebow in 1992 can’t not cry seeing their friendship. I’d met her a few times, and each of those times I was basically in awe and totally speechless. If it wasn’t for Grete, women’s long distance running might be a lot different today. Grete was my idol and hero, and I miss her presence in the running community. Therefore, there was nothing that would have held me back from running that race.
Like a bachelorette party the night before…
I woke up Saturday morning after very hours of sleep and a bit of a hangover. And the sound of rain outside my window. I was hoping coffee and breakfast would help, and I was able to drink a giant cup and a few Puffins before meeting Susan and Megan, and Susan’s friend Christine down the street. No one was in a good mood that morning (lots of talk about how 10k’s are the WORST DISTANCE EVER), and the air was soupy, to say the least. My phone said 100% humidity. Ohhhhhh lordy. We walked to bag check, and the negative talked continued. I found some team members and tried to stay positive, but it was not happening. I was feeling less than stellar. I had a headache and my stomach felt really off. I ate a banana to quell those, and headed to the start with Susan. I wanted to get there early enough to do a mile warm-up, but my little jog to the start with Susan was all I got: better than nothing.
This race is unique for a Central Park race in that is starts at the bottom of Central Park West and continues outside the park for the first mile or so, up CPW. It enters the park at West 90th and runs counter-clockwise all the way to the top, and back down, ended at Tavern on the Green, i.e. the Marathon finish line. This race is also unique in that it is a $$$ race and attracts quite a field. Deena Kastor was using it as her debut-after-having-a-baby race, and Edna Kiplagat, last years NYC Marathon winner, was running. Also, because it’s women only, I get to be in the first corral! This is the only race of the year I get a blue bib, and I’m not going to lie, it makes it a little more special.
Susan and I hung out in the corral and listened to speeches by Mary Wittenberg (who was running it with Grete’s husband, the first male ever to run the Mini), Katherine Switzer (google her and be amazed), and Deena Kastor. After the national anthem and our race instructions by good old Peter Ciaccia (anyone else love Ciaccia! His voice, to me, is the sound of a race about to start!), we were off!
My race goals: not to puke. Because it was humid as hell and I had a hangover, I was giving myself the pass to just enjoy the race and not kill myself. That went out the window the second I did my first mile in 7:15. Whoops. That first mile is always so flat and I get caught up in the crazy speedy ladies around me. I couldn’t keep that pace for the rest of the race, not surprisingly as that is closer to my 5k pace than 10k. Mile 2 had the first incline and thus the feeling I would feel for the rest of the race: pukey. I don’t know if it was the humidity, pushing too hard the first mile, or the fact that I had a hangover, but I have never felt as nauseous during a race as I had Saturday. During and right after every single incline, no matter the size, I was sure I was going to puke right then and there. And, if you’ve ever run in Central Park, you’d know that those inclines happen very often. If we put aside the pukey feeling (want me to stop using that word), then Mile 2 felt okay and Miles 3 and 4 sucked a lot. Who remembers that the pre-Harlem Hill hill on the west side was so bad??!! Ugh…that hurt. And I was about 99% sure I was actually going to puke during actual Harlem Hill. I didn’t, in the end though. Once I passed the middle third of the race, though, things seemed to be going a bit better. The guys on my team set up a cheering spot at Engineer’s Gate, and it was great to see them and hearing them shout my name pushed me through this hell. I knew I could somehow push through those final two miles, even though I thought my legs were going to fall off. And somehow, miles 5 and 6 passed fairly quickly, and next thing I know I’m running up that final incline by Tavern on the Green to the finish. And then I almost passed out. I’ve felt spent after I’ve run races before, but never like I was about to pass out. I made some faces (thanks for catching those, Brightroom), held onto the fence, and shook it off. I found Megan and Susan and we all talked about…how much that SUCKED. But…what’ya know. I PR’d.
48:49 with a pace of 7:52.
So maybe my constant pukey feeling was just me pushing myself. Let’s remember that, k? Racing is hard. It shouldn’t feel like a regular training run. Sign up for a race…push your little butt off. And it never feels good. And that’s when you know you’re doing it right. 10k’s are still the worst distance ever, and let’s just avoid doing them. Except when they’re for Grete. Always run for Grete.
(thanks for the image, Susan…)