And we started August with a bang! I decided to sign up for this race pretty much a week before. I am glad I did because Patricia and I ended up leading the women masters for the team: everyone else was at a beach somewhere, which is, SURELY, what we all should have been doing that day! I woke up at 6 and it was already “warm”….
The NYRR Team Championships is a race to be raced only by NYC running team members, where we all get team points in different categories and stuff like that (more here). It’s quite a different vibe, a bit more competitive, but on the other hand, EVERYONE on a team is in the park either racing or cheering. The whole 5 miles were pretty much lined with people, usually cheering for one team, but the crowd support was fantastic.
The men and women race separately. And it’s a smaller race, with about 700 finishers for each gender: that’s a huge difference compared to any weekends’ regular 5000 participants race! So, it’s QUITE a different vibe to say the least! The men’s race was at 8:30 but I was up early so I met the team at 8 am to cheer. It was quite hot already. We did some fun cheering.
Anyway, I tried to not get overly hot and sweaty and save it for the race, but the women’s race was starting at 9:30 am, there was nothing I could do: it was HOT. And you know I LOVE THE HEAT… I went to a water fountain, soaked my singlet, soaked my hair… It was all dry in two minutes. It was gonna be ROUGH. Patricia and I headed to the corral early, there was no one there and we kept being yelled at to get to the front. We really didn’t want to. After the 10th time, we moved up, just assuming they’ll start yelling at us and we could move back. We kept chatting and when we noticed we were in the front and couldn’t move back at all. I just made sure we were as close to the side as possible, I was so scared I’d get trampled over!!!!
NYRR did a few shots with the us, and a lot of Dashing Whippets that were right there, which was cool. In case you’re not from NYC, that blonde gentleman on the left is Peter Ciaccia (President, Events, and Race Director, TCS New York City Marathon) and the other gentleman on my left is Michael Capiraso (President and CEO of NYRR). I’d say this is a cool shot:
A few seconds later Henrietta shows up and lines up right there, THANKS!!! YOU hold the masses and lead the Whippetes, OKAY??? Patricia and I keep chit-chatting, it’s our thing…!
Soon enough Jonathan Kline, another team mate, sings a lovely version of God Bless America and it all becomes WAY TOO REAL. I am racing this, I am UP HERE in the front, I am gonna get trampled over, I FREAK OUT a bit. Everyone’s faces is GAME ON, I am OMG what am I doing here?
soon, very fast, we get spaced out. Sooner though, with about 300 meters in, I was questioning my sanity. What am I doing? It was just way too hot to race, and 5 undulating miles in the park seemed like an ultra. For about 2 minutes I kept telling myself Elizabeth, this is the best workout you could do today, just do the workout, it’s just a workout, on and on… Which is true. This is not my goal race and the truth is I NEVER run as hard as when I race, so racing shorter races is the best workout I could do, off with the race pressure and ON with the workout. Just run. But I really really really wanted to give up.
Before Mile 1, on the top of the reservoir, I spot Juan. I KNEW he’d be there, but I was so hot and out of it, I almost forgot and was all the way on the other side of the road…
Check out how it’s not as crowded as it usually is… so much nicer. I ended up racing around the same group of 4-5 women the whole race!
I had looked at the last 5 miler I had done in the park, in 34:36 and wrote the laps in my hand (6:50, 6:59, 6:47, 7:16, and 6:41) just so I’d have an idea where I was, even though the course started somewhere else. I obviously discarded a PR in this weather, but I was hoping I could stay close. Mile 1: at 6:59, not so bad. It did feel like I had a LONG WAY to go though… Mile 2: 6:50, I am getting faster? that’s not gonna last… so far, I am doing the same time I did 4 weeks ago. But it shouldn’t be… When the pic below was taken, I was about past Tavern on the Green. I did high-five and yelled back to a lot of people on the course!
Mile 3 was a struggle, there was a group of us, pacing each other. I’d like to say we kept switching the lead, but really, we kept falling off… oh well, it’s just a workout!!!! Mile 3: 6:57. Oooops, there I lost 10 seconds to my previous 5 miler…. I see where this is going…! Mile 4 is close and I know I need to save something for the last bit, plus, this is when we all fall apart, oh, and Cat Hill ON FIRE. Mile 4: 7:15 (gained a second!)
As soon as I turned on 96th, I see Juan again, I knew I had less than a mile and I waited to hit the gas. I wasn’t sure I had much left.
But then it happens. ALL THE TEAMS OF THE WORLD are lining up the last mile. The WHOLE LAST MILE. It was quite overwhelming… You’d see so many of us surge, and fall back and try to keep the momentum (I still have to yell back, and thanks and high-five!) but it was super super amazing. SO SO SO LOUD and awesome. Mile 5: 6:49, the fastest!!!!! Plus , I run a 0.05 extra and it was at 6:23, so you know I came in hard!
Finish time: 35:09 Average Pace: 7:02
Previous PR: 33:36 From: June, 2015
Age Grading: 71.17%
Overall and Gender Place: 93 of 694
Age Place: 9 of 99
7:02 pace in Central Park on hell-hot weather is a win any day. Hey, finishing this race in ANY pace was a win. I really wanted to leave. REALLY. The fact that I didn’t walk out is what makes me the most proud. I wish they could start this race a bit earlier… or install misting stations every 10 yards?!?!?!
Plus, I am happy I got some points for my team. Patricia was the #1 master and I was 2nd, so there’s that. PLUS PLUS, there was a Dashing Whippets picnic after. SO, THAT. Celebration Nation.
I ate about 5 of Lara’s cookies, then a few donuts from Dough Loco, then some popcorn, then some chocolate covered pretzels, and a few more things I’d rather forget: NOTHING of the healthy stuff WE brought… (hahaha, of course not). I was ready to lay down under a tree and sleep it all off for a few hours. But, before, there’s a group shot!
So, I declare, every single race needs to end with a picnic, really.
Did you do this race? Did you melt? What did you do this weekend?????
Also, don’t forget you can still play and win a Newport Half Marathon Entry Giveaway!