As usual, I will be dividing this report in two: The Race (bib pick up, amenities, course, atmosphere, etc.) and My Race below
This was the second year of this 5K, which happens in the NY Giants MetLife Stadium, in NEW JERSEY (I originally signed up for this race because NY and Met sounds to me like the NY Mets Stadium in Queens, ay!). The race has a huge Health Fitness attached to it, and a very family oriented vibe, as there are kids races, and lots of fun activities for everyone to do, like rock climbing and playing on the actual field, so you see a lot of families and first timers. Which always means fun in my book! And it’s out of town… man, I need to get my sports team/geography in check!
Lots of information on the race here, and lovely pictures: NYRR Giants Run of Champions 5K if you want to get a visual.
Bib Pick Up/Registration. Was a zip as usual. I gave my shirt away as usual, as it was a bit big for my taste, but it was kinda nice:
Transportation to the Race. Well, this is where things got messy for me, even if it was super organized and it went perfect. There were two shuttles from Secaucus Junction to the Stadium (a ten minute trip), one at 7:25 and one at 8:25. So, if I went for the 8:25, it’d get me there at 8:40, corrals close at 8:50 so that wouldn’t leave me enough time to drop my bag, go to the porta-potty, etc, and I do NOT like rushing on race morning. Can’t. So I decided I had to be on the 7:25, which meant leaving in the 7:07 train from Penn Station. Getting to Penn Station from my apartment, mostly at 6 am on a Sunday can be horrible, so I left at like 5:30 (woke up at 5 and was ready super soon) and for some weird reason, today, all was working on time and got there in like 25 minutes (unheard of!!!!). So at 6 am, I was sitting at Herald Square with nothing to do.
All trains and shuttles got everywhere in perfect time. I froze to death in all of them but that’s just my own fault!
Start. Was super organized as usual. I got a ridiculously low number for some weird reason
so I got a few looks and was feeling like such an impostor… but I found some team mates and we stood in the middle of the blue corral. Luckily, I was right in front of the ceremonies so I got to see all the speakers, which included Mary Wittenberg, some football players (Giants?!?!) I didn’t know, and we started to feel the heat… It was 86. Ouch. My skin was sizzling.
Race Atmosphere. Like I said, there was a lot of first timers, even in the blue corral which you never see in a NYRR race! It was so strange, because you’d see the usual familiar faces from the front of the races, and also runners with cameras and spibelts. Loved it. I looked around and there were a few women but not a lot. There were also a lot of the Giants players racing, and lots with the friends/families. Not a lot of support on the course, but enough for a smaller race, in such heat.
Weather. Well, it was HOT. As soon as I started running I felt it. weather.com says 86, feels like 88. I heard it was hotter last year.
The Course. It was good for a 5K, but I am not sure I’d love a 10k there. It was almost completely flat minus one little bump at around 2.5. There were enough turns that you wouldn’t get bored, but not one ounce of shade, we were COOKING! We were mostly running around the stadium through parking lots, so lots of cement
then you get into the stadium for
The Finish Line. And you drop a lap around the stadium, in the field, in the springy grass, with LOTS of people cheering while you try to figure out if you can actually finish or will die a meter from the finish, but then you turn and you see the finish arc, right there in the field… kinda really cool. It makes you sprint a little in heart when your legs can’t.
The Post Race. Lots of events!!! Lots where health related, lots were fun activities. Many many games for the kids. We stayed for a while (the first shuttle out to Secaucus was at 10:45) and I was trying to figure out when the awards ceremony was, turns out I had already missed it. We got some bananas and bagels, hung out for a bit and got some fun in.
I wasn’t sure if I was in sub21 shape but I thought I could do it. It had been over a year since my 21:09 PR and I really wanted to go sub 21… My pace would have to hover around 6:49 to PR and I just did a hilly Central Park 4 miler in 7:00 pace: sub 21 seemed doable…
When I got into the corral with a few of my team mates, I didn’t find anyone I could pace off, they’re all TOO fast. But, I know I can do this, and decided to take it easy on the first mile, because standing there I was already feeling the heat.
As soon the gun goes off, every one sprints for their life. I felt like I was standing and everyone was going so fast! Oy, people, there’s 3 more miles!! Waaait!
But I felt it right away: my race wasn’t there. I had been playing with muscle tension again and I was waaaay too tight: there was not enough springiness there. Oy. Legs felt like lead, even when I had warmed up a bit. Pffff. It is really hard for me to get this right!
Four women passed me on the first half mile. I knew there were more ahead but I kept an eye on the one I had closest, she had a white hat, bu let them all go. I am always conscious not to get sucked into someone else’s pace.
Soon enough, a mile goes by: Mile 1: 6:40. Okaaay, that seems fast, but who knows. Never give up in your head because then your body gives up. I kept telling myself. Also, it hurts but it’s just 20 minutes! You can hurt for four songs!
I got really really really hot after that. I was thirsty and burning. I wouldn’t stop for water, but I grabbed a cup at the first water stop and threw it in my hair and back. That helped… for like 5 seconds! I kept going, hoping to sustain the pace. Mile 2: 6:58. Ah, there we go then, that was it. I knew there was not much left for the last mile. By then I caught up to David and Otto, both way faster than me. Everyone was suffering, and I felt awful for them, as I could hear them trying to breathe. I also caught 3 of the 4 women who had passed me, somehow. Everyone was fading. I was too, but I think I went out a bit more conservative than everyone around me. And then I saw it, a little hill up ahead.. I was dreading it for some seconds, was over it it quick and soon and kept my head down. I didn’t have enough to speed up the last mile but I wasn’t slowing down as much as everyone else around me was. Mile 3: 6:54.
I knew no PR was happening, but at least I wasn’t bleeding speed out on the course. I held my ground tight, forcing myself not to get excited when we got in the stadium, did the last bit in 7:08 pace and finished with my head intact, though breathing like a fish out of water. Man, was I happy to be done. The finish line was amazing though, too bad I had nothing left to sprint with.
Finish time: 21:39. Average Pace: 7:00
Previous PR: 21:09. From: July 2013
Age Grading: 69.87%
Overall Place: 162 of 2,993
Gender Place: 11 of 1,281
Age Place: 1 of 206
Worth noting: Wow, I won my age group????!?! With THAT time?!?! See, when they say that half the win is showing up, this is what they are talking about. I guess nobody wanted to wake up at 5 for a 9 am 5K (because that makes no sense). Well, I will definitely take it! My time was super crappy and, besides the mess I made with the muscle tension, and bit of the heat, I am not sure why I didn’t do better. But anyway, just because I won my AG, I am happy!!!!
And the Erica Sara Designs winner to my Guess My Finish time contest is Smith2429 with the closest guess: 21:37!
I can’t believe no one got this one… Smith2429, email me at [email protected] and I will get you set up with ESD!
Next time I’ll be more predictable, I promise!
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