I won the women’s race in 13:17 and was 8th overall. Sure, it was a tiny race (under 100 people). But I’ll take a win wherever I can get it.
My original plans for the weekend were to run the NYRR 8000 in Central Park on Saturday as my priority race, then run the 2 miler as a “see how I do” effort. But the violent Nor’easter that came in overnight on Friday (and peaked overnight on Saturday) quickly put paid to those plans. I got up at 4:30 on Saturday morning and discovered heavy rain falling at a 45 degree angle, coupled with gusting winds. I knew I’d get soaked on the way into the city. Once there, steady winds of 20+ mph would almost certainly prevent me from either running below 7:00 pace or enjoying myself, my only two (and not necessarily mutually exclusive) goals for that race. So I skipped the race, crawled back into my toasty bed, and hoped for better weather on Sunday.
Overnight we had gale force winds (and we also lost power Saturday evening before the worst of it). The weather had calmed down somewhat by early Sunday, so we made our way to Yorktown Heights, site of my recent impromptu 5 miler, and hoped the decent weather would hold. By sheer chance, there was a bicycle race scheduled in the park this year, requiring the TRCC 2M and 10K races to be moved about two hours earlier than normal. Fortunately for us, that gave us a window of between 8:00 and 10:00 when there was either no or very light precipitation. The wind was still bad, but I figured I could deal with anything for two miles — besides, it would be at my back for the last half mile.
I lined up in front and ran the first two tenths of a mile, a downhill stretch, at what is for me insanely fast. I wasn’t trying to stay with the men, but I was fending off a young woman who was running right alongside me. I knew I was going too fast but I didn’t want to lose my lead position that early on, so I figured I’d keep going until it was too much for one of us.
That first quarter mile was run at 5:30 pace. This is much faster than I run my 20 second strides! I’m surprised I didn’t pull something. Fortunately, my speedy companion’s lungs gave out before mine did and when we hit the first hill at the quarter mile mark, she gave up. I was in the lead! I could slow the fuck down!
I was also running alone. The men were gradually getting farther and farther ahead of me. I didn’t dare look back. I continued to run alone for a full mile more, then passed a guy who was dying at the 1.4 mile mark. All I had to do was make it up a really steep hill without either going into oxygen debt or getting passed and emerge on the quarter mile straightaway with energy to spare.
I dropped to 7:28 on the hill but regained speed after the crest, finishing up at 6:30 pace (a tailwind helped). No one passed me. HR% topped out at 95% at the end. Average pace was 6:39. Kevin’s prediction was a 6:45 pace. I figured that on that course, with wind, I’d be lucky to run 6:50 pace. I am more pleased about the overall pace (and discovering that I can run at 5:30 for much more than 20 metres) than I am about winning.
Jonathan did the 10K and took third place overall in 37:16. He’d wanted to break 6:00 pace, but just missed it. When the announcer handed him his award he noted, “This guy’s 53 years old, folks.” Astonished gasps were heard behind me. I guess when you’re in your twenties, 53 sounds like Methuselah.
The 10K was very competitive in terms of the women’s race this year. The winner was in the high-30s, a time I’d be lucky to touch with another year or two of training. So I guess I picked the right race.
We chatted with another runner in Jonathan’s AG, Bill Carter, and Bill’s wife, Dianne, who also ran the 2 miler. Bill is forming a four man 50+ team for the Scarsdale 15K in a few weeks in pursuit of nice trophies. Paging Joe Garland: They’re looking for a fourth man.