My first race in nearly a year, and I had no idea how I would do. If I broke 10:00 a mile in current shape I would have been pleased.
A couple of pre-race thoughts: first, I drove in and parked at a public parking garage at 105th and Madison (I didn't even know there were municipal parking garages in NYC.) Total bill for parking for 2 hours: $8.00 -- an incredible bargain. Second, I had to pick up my number pre-race. NYRR was not too clear on the website, but pre-race number pick up was not at the race; it was at NYRR -- 89th and Fifth. (Note to NYRR -- make that clearer, please.) So, I walked from 105th to inside the park at 98th to be told to go to 89th and then back to 101st before race started. Good thing I had enough time and had gotten to the course early. It was a great morning to run. A little chilly, but I ran in shorts no problem (I bet most of the people wearing tights wished they had taken them off.)
One more pre-race note. The start of the race was on a downhill slope. I looked behind me, up the hill, and could see the runners lined up behind me. Wow -- what a sight. You never realize how many people are really running a race like this until you can see them lined up in the chute. And makes you appreciate the organizational skill of NYRR.
On to the race... Started like all NYRR races. I like the new seeding and corral system. It really helps overcrowding and bunching up, particularly at the beginning of the race. Now, with the corrals, the first mile is not a survival of the fittest and you can actually run. Course started on E101 and turned left on the 102d St. Transverse. That is almost all downhill. Garmy showed me running first half in 7:20 pace...WHOA... way too fast.. I know that Cat Hill looms in mile 4 and no way can I keep anywhere near that pace, downhill or not. That is the race effect -- going out with a fast group, feeling fast, running with the crowd. So I slowed down. Mile 1 -- 8:18. I had made a bet the night before in midst of drinking whether (i) I would get up and actually go to the race; and (ii) I could break 45 minutes. I am here and 45 seconds ahead of pace.
Mile 2 was down west side of park and felt pretty easy really. I run on hills in Westchester, so the up and down of the park does not really bother me much. Mile 2: 8:23, now 1 minute ahead of pace, but that Cat Hill, which killed me in Grete's Gallop a couple of years ago, is still to come.
Mile 3 was around bottom of park, into the morning sun. Still felt pretty good but definitely feeling that wine from night before. 8:25 Oh, and my Garmin has the NYRR mile marks about 15 feet too long each time. But now unless I just come undone, I am going to win my bet and break 45.
Mile 4 -- up the hill. Yuck. I slowed down and conserved some energy because I knew I was OK on time, 9:02, but definitely hurting here.
Mile 5 is down the straight away around the reservoir and down the hill to the finish. The straightaway is runs slightly downhill from south to north actually, as I know from running it the other direction where it is up hill (deceptive though) time for mile 4-5 was 8:34.
Overall net time 42:56. Garmy had the course at 5.03 (not 4.97), so actually pretty strong. Hard to be disappointed...won my bet.. and I made it in nearly same time I had run my last 5 miler 9 months earlier.
But boy do I have a long way to go to.
Oh, and I have two blisters on my feet on inside of heel. Ran in a new pair of Asics 2140 and I guess they had not been broken in. Not so good, but hey the joy of the race makes the blisters a small price to pay.