Best. Personal. Race. EVER!
Yes, I just said that out loud. This was by far the best 5K race I have ran yet. Granted, I have only ran 4 (including the Dash). I hit many highs during the run, pretty sure only 1 low during it.
The low was after crossing the finish line. I was waiting for my friends to cross who were about 10 minutes behind me, so I had no one really to share my happiness with.
As for the highs of the NYRR Dash to the Finish Line 5K – well, as I said there were many!
The day started out not so good. It was raining and chilly outside. I know my body so I knew how to dress. My running jacket had a hood, I opted to wear just a tee under my jacket without the long sleeves under it. I stuck with the capris instead of full length pants. Only addition to the gear plan, I doubled up on the sock. That helped keep my feet from freezing from the rain that got in to my sneakers.]
As usual, I laid out and prepped my gear the night before. Pinned my bib to my Adidas Tee, put the extra pair of socks with my sneakers, made sure my sunglasses, iPod, headphones, ID, a bit of cash, jacket and Sweaty Band headband were together with my outfit so I could grab them all in the morning.
I left a note on the clothes to not forget a bottle of gatorade and my granola bar for my morning pre-race fueling needs.
My friend Melanie and I decided it made sense to drive in to Manhattan instead of taking the LIRR to then subway or cab to the start line. When I drive to a race, I like to keep the interior car temperature as close as my body will allow to the outside temperature, so I warned Mel as she got in to my car that I was not putting the heat on.
The rain was hit or miss for most of the drive, the roads were fairly open until we were coming in to the city. Then luck struck for us, as we turned from 2nd Avenue on to 47th street, we found a free street spot! It was just about 8:00am, the race started at 8:30am, which gave us a bit of time to fully organize ourselves. I changed in to my Mizuno Wave Riders (I drove in an older pair of running sneakers), took off my sweat shirt to put on my jacket, sipped a bit more of soda. Mel switched to her jacket from a sweatshirt and pinned on her number.
Can you see a bit of the puddle I’m in?
We then walked the block to the mass gathering of runners to locate Mel’s friends. Was actually pretty easy to find then. The amazing NYRR Marathon weekend volunteers then started corralling the runners back on the street so we could mob up for the gun.
It was starting to drizzle a bit again, the chill had started to settle in on my fingers and toes, I couldn’t wait to start moving a bit more.
Finally, 8:30 rolls around, we hear the announcements being made then the gun going to start the Dash to the Finish Line 5K!
The actual start was on 1st Avenue at 44th Street. From here we rounded the corner to head west along 42nd Street. The streets of New York are not flat, mostly flat, but not 100% flat so we had a bit of an incline along 42nd Street. As most of you probably agree, I hate hills or inclines of any type!
But still amazing, to be running along the middle of the streets of NYC, no cars, no interference, people on the sidewalks cheering you on, no one pushing you or giving you dirty looks. It added just a bit more to the adrenaline fueling my body along.
I stuck with my interval plan of 2:00 minute run / 90 second walking. This interval gave me the ability to take some key photos of Grand Central Station and the NYC Public Library along 42nd Street.
I was trying to keep my pace in check, didn’t want to tire myself out before I even hit the mile marker. I wasn’t terribly focused my Garmin as I usually am in my training runs, I was trying to get out of my head, trying not to let my pace bother me. I was trying to just run the race my body was prepared to run.
And run that race it did! Of course, my Garmin was off from the NYRR mile markers (something I have grown accustomed to as what you run is often different from the exact route measured…..since the measurement may be on the inside and you run in the middle of the path, etc).
My first mile – sub 12! 11:52 pace, wasn’t even checking to see how far I ran during each run interval (something I’m VERY guilty of doing during training runs). Just was enjoying the feeling and vibe of NYC. We had just turned north along 6th Avenue. Here the grounds a bit less giving, many more people trying to cross the street then along 42nd Street.
Again, as I stare down 6th, I notice we have another small incline coming up. I’m not concerned. If I need to walk up a part of it, so be it. If I’m lucky, my 90 second walk will occur during the incline. My biggest concern, would I be able to stop long enough to get a clear picture of Radio City Music Hall! They already had the lights up in the shape of tree over their marquee and it’s only November 1!
As clear a shot of Radio City as I could get Monument at the end of 59th, start of Central Park
Next thing I was aware of, we were coming up to 59th Street, which meant it was about time to enter Central Park! I was half way done! I was barely out of breath, my lungs felt strong, my feet were steady, my legs kept pumping. I was feeling zen, I was in a running zone, I couldn’t have asked for another else.
We turned east for a block on 59th Street then north again to enter Central Park. This was the most exciting part for me. Time to laugh at me – I have lived on Long Island my whole life, spent much time in the city, yet I have never been inside Central Park! So in to Central Park we went for the last 1.5 mile of the Dash.
As we looped into the park, we encounter the one and only water station along the 5K course. Normally I am hunting down the water station, normally I am in desperate need of fluids. In my zen race state this time, I bypassed the water station, just kept on running. Came upon mile mark 2. At this point, my Garmin was well past mile 2, but I wasn’t worried.
A quick glance down, my time was pretty strong. I was roughly at 23-24 minutes. I was well on pace for a PR. For another 5K improvement. My second 5K in a month, two new PR times! My zen state was improving, but ahead laid another incline. This one steeper then some of the others. I gave in, I walked up most of it, even though I was supposed to be running, per the interval. But I was ok with that. I was doing fine. As long as I crossed the finish line, I had a good race, it was fun, something I am glad I did.
We take a turn head southwest. During this part, I overhead a fellow runner tell his teammate that we had another hill to overcome right at the end. My verbal response on hearing this ” oh gee, ug, not what I want”. He didn’t seem to find me humorous, even though I was smiling the entire time. So I breezed on past them, sticking to my intervals.
I come upon an incline, I dig a little deeper and motor up that incline. We round the bend, head north in the part to the final .3 of the race. It’s here you really start to feel as though you are part of the Marathon. Flags from around the world are flying, the route gates show sponsors and Marathon banners.
Here is the final incline. No big deal. I can do this! I saw the finish line ahead of me. I kept thinking this may be the only time I ever cross a marathon finish line. I was thrilled! I ran a zen race, I paced myself, I wasn’t tired or exhausted. I felt as if I could keep running.
I cross the finish, I know I have PR’d, I just need to wait to results (official or unofficial) are posted so I can see by what. Garmin clocked me at 3.37 miles in 38:28. Garmin clocked my 3.1 at 35:17! If Garmin is accurate to that mileage, thats a HUGE personal best.
Per official race results, I finished the Dash to the Finish Line 5K in 38:24 – that’s a 27 second PR from my Diva’s race on October 5, a month ago!
Honestly, so little of that mattered. I ran a race I am proud of. I was zen, I was in a zone, my lungs felt happy, the weather didn’t bother me, my legs kept moving, I barely struggled, I managed the inclines. I have no complaints about my performance in that race, I crossed that finish line – that was happy enough times for me.