Confession: I kind of forgot I was running this race. Crazy, because I already explained last year how much I love this race – it’s girl power to the extreme. One of the original co-founders of the race in 1972 was running legend Katherine Switzer – who comes out every year and gives a spirited speech before the start of how far women’s running has come in the 42 years since this female-only race began.
So I signed up almost as soon as they opened up for registration, then I got all caught up in Half Marathon PR attempt #1 and Half Marathon PR attempt #2. Throw vacation into the mix and I was pleasantly surprised to remember this one on my calendar. 🙂
NYRR Oakley Mini 10K Recap
How did I sleep the night before? For a short period of time and engulfed in the disappointment of the NY Rangers losing the Stanley Cup Final. Double overtime = double tired and double sad.
How did I fuel? Um…water? I was slightly sluggish Saturday morning due to my late night watching the hockey, so I ran out of time to make my PB&J for the subway ride to Central Park. For a 10K or shorter it doesn’t really bother me if I’m running on an empty stomach, so I wasn’t too worried.
What was my goal? Honestly, because I’d only had a couple of days to think about the race, I wasn’t too invested in a specific goal. This was the 5th time I’ve run the Mini. My PR for the race was 51:07, and my 10K PR was 50:34 (both in 2008). I decided that a PR would be awesome, and sub 50 minutes would be amazing.
Plan of attack? Okay, so every time I’ve run this race, I’ve gone out too fast and bonked. It’s a weirdly tough course – the first mile is a long flat along Central Park West, right after you hear amazing women like Switzer announcing, Women runners unite! We are awesome!! This year one of the Boston Marathon 2013 survivors spoke as well and she said something that really resonated with me:
“Be inspired by the space between where you want to be, and where you are right now.”
(ahem – totally paraphrased due to my memory)
After that kind of lead-in, every other year that first mile is crazy fast, then you hit the Harlem hills miles 2 – 4. They are no picnic, especially mile 4, which is miserable. Also, the 10K is a difficult mental distance for me – I think of it as a short race, but at just over 6 miles, it does require pacing to do well.
So – my plan was to run about 8:10 for the first mile, try to pick it up to 8:00 for miles 2 and 3, around 8:15 for mile 4, then try to hit sub 8:00’s for the last 2.2 miles.
So…how did I do? Not too shabby.
Mile 1: I settled in to a 7:57 pace that first mile, which felt comfortable, even a little slow, so I wasn’t too concerned it was faster than I’d planned.
Miles 2 and 3: 7:48 and 7:50 <- super happy with these splits. Again, a little faster than I’d planned, but I really took advantage of the downhills after the climbs of Harlem Hills, so I felt like I hadn’t spent undue energy.
Mile 4 (da da DUM!): This is an awful hill. Long and steep. 8:21. A bit slower than planned, but it put me right on track.
Mile 5 and 6: Yeah, the part where I’d try to hit sub 8:00’s? Didn’t happen. 8:06 and 8:08. I was hot, I was hurting, I totally underestimated the effect of those hills.
Last 0.34 miles (which means I wasn’t running the turns very efficiently): 7:13 pace. I was booking it to try to get in under 50. I knew I wasn’t going to make it, but then my competitive nature kicked in and I picked off three women in the finish chute.
After being presented with pink carnations, pink-ribboned medals and pink bagels (I’m sorry, the dyed bagels just freak me out) and walking through a very welcome spray of cold water right after finishing, I began to feel human pretty quickly.
I booked it home right after finishing, so I could get in some quality playground time with my little guy. At this point, I didn’t really know (apart from knowing I hadn’t run sub 50:00) how I’d done, since I forgot to stop my Garmin right away after crossing the finish line. I looked it up on my phone on the way to meet my boys at the park and I don’t know if it was my phone display or lack of glycogen effects on my brain, but I announced to Fran that I’d missed setting a PR by 7 seconds.
7. Seconds. Bummer, right? WRONG!
Do you know when I realized I had set a new 10K PR? While I was writing this post. Yup, 2 seconds off a six-year 10 K record, baby!! Talk about delayed gratification!
The winner of the race, Molly Huddle, was the first American winner in 10 years, AND broke the national 10K record – which had stood for 30 years – by 1 second . Such a similar story to mine, except almost 20 MINUTES faster at 31:37. WOW.
Mary Wittenberg, the NYRR CEO, mentioned in her speech that Oakley was an awesome sponsor, because they were so committed to working with NYRR to make this race special for all the runners. Oakley really does seem to be super into making the athlete experience a better one. They ran a bunch of great promotions for the Mini, with giveaways and contests on the day, as well as both their SoHo and 5th Avenue stores having after-race events with champagne, snacks and discounts available to all runners showing their bibs.
I was also wearing my custom Oakleys I was lucky enough to receive at a media event for the 5th Avenue store opening – I really can’t believe I trained and raced for so long without wearing sunglasses. They’re one gear investment I would highly recommend – almost as important as shoes (and not as expensive in the long run, since you don’t need to keep replacing them!).
So – while I was writing up this recap with a sense of, oh-well-maybe-i’ll-PR-next-year, instead, please join me in celebrating (three days after the fact) that I set a new PR, baby! I guess 36 years is my lucky age! 😉
Have you ever realized after the fact that you set a PR?
Ladies, have you ever run a women-only race?
Who inspires you?