For each race, on each runner's bib, the NY Road Runners Club prints the fastest race pace for that runner in any previous race. Several years ago, I ran a 5 mile race in 7:27 pace, which then -- and even now -- amazed me. 7:27 was very fast for me then and very fast for my overall condition at that point. Conditions were perfect that day (a warm January day and it was a fast race). My Father also flew the Boeing 727 airplane for over 15 years, and so 7:27 was easy to remember.
I wanted to run this race to remember my uncle,a prostate cancer victim (this race is a benefit for prostate cancer research) and in appreciation of my own father on Father's Day. My Dad was a great athlete in college and takes pride in my running. It is also sort of a closing bookend to my most recent training cycle. Although I now have a half marathon next weekend (and then vacation for 2 weeks and marathon training begins after that), when I started 3 months ago, I kind of viewed this race as my end date of this cycle and well, I ran this race last year too. I did not want to run this too fast because of that looming half next week, and the weather here has, in a word, sucked. Rain, rain, rain, and humid, humid, humid, when not raining. I did have a good run yesterday, so who knows how I would do today.
Sunday morning came early, and drove in to the race. I actually found a free parking spot which is a minor miracle. (The last garage I parked in actually nicked up my bumper too!) And it wasn't raining. (I had all my rain gear ready -- a trash bag for me, a bag for my backpack, clean clothes, a towel. But of course it didn't rain because I was prepared for a deluge).
So after wandering around for awhile, hoping it wouldn't rain, the race was on. This course was clockwise, beginning on west side at 69th, and cut across the park at 102 and then around the bottom of the park to finish on 67th st next to Tavern on the Green. It is the same route as the Scotland Run 10K minus the Harlem Hill -- the biggest hill in Central Park. And the course is basically all downhill from about mile 2.7 or so to home. My number was again in 1200's, so I started close to the front. I set Garmy racing partner at 7:35, and wanted to beat him this time.
And we were off! The second corral REALLY takes off fast from the start. Way too fast for me. Of course, though, I was running with the pack, and half way through mile 1, my pace was 6:26/mile. Whoa, gotta slow down. My heart rate was OK though, around 80%.
Slowing down is VERY hard for me and it is even harder to watch the people I had been running with pull away and then get passed by what seems like thousands of runners. I realize it is probably only a handful, but sure feels like the field as you watch them fly by. And there was this one guy who bumped into me as he blew past me without saying sorry or anything. Thanks buddy. And yes I am talking to you tall bald guy in a racing unitard singlet. (Nice look, btw) But, anyway, the first mile (mostly uphill) still came in at 7:14. Heart Rate is remarkably low. Miles 2 and 3 were the biggest hill, and I really felt strong charging up the 102d street transverse and the reservoir hill. Oh and I had to stop to tie my shoe, which kind of sucked. But I was killing my Garmy guy. Mile 2 was 7:09 and Mile 3 was 7:14.
At that point, on top of the highest part of the race course, about 2 miles from the finish, I knew I could do this. I knew it was going to be good. And I was ready to run. Ready to pass some people. Mile 4 -- 6:52. Mile 5, coming home was 6:43. And I blew past the bald guy who nudged me during the start.
Final time 35:48; Age graded time 63.1, Pace 7:08/mile. That 7:27 will no longer be on my bib.
That is a good start to a happy Father's Day. And Happy Father's Day to my Dad, and all other Dads out there.