June 17, 2008

Race Report: NYRR Mini 10K

Delayed race report number 1. I make no promises for when delayed race report 2 (Providence half-marathon) will come out.

There’s nothing like a race you’ve already registered for to get your butt out of bed and out pounding the pavement even when the temperatures are predicted to be a sweltering 104 degrees!

I had planned to do a long (20+ mile) run this weekend as preparation for the Seafair Marathon. I still haven’t signed up for Seafair, as I’m waiting to do a long run to decide whether I’m ready for another full marathon or if I should stick to a half. However, the weather report was miserable, and I knew a long run wouldn’t be possible, because even if I started at 7 AM when it was “only” 80 degrees or so, it would hit high 90s by 9 AM. Not good. However, I had already signed up for the NYRR Mini 10K. Which, as it turned out was a good thing – as I said, it forced me to go running on a weekend where I probably would otherwise have skipped it.

I signed up for the race after seeing it on the website, but had no idea all the history it had. I lined up in my start corral (red, which was the second corral.. or third if you count the elite runners who I don’t think had a separate corral but were in the front of the first corral), and then there were lots of announcements explaining the history. The Mini 10K was the first all-women’s road race in the country, and it was organized by Katherine Switzer – who actually came to this year’s race to say hello and thank you for coming! In the original race, 78 women ran (they asked for a show of hands of the original participants, and I actually saw a few hands go up in the crowd – cool!); this year, there were over 4100 finishers. We’ve come a long way from the days when it was widely accepted that women couldn’t run or their uteruses would fall out of their bodies and they would turn into men! Or something like that.

In honor of it being an all-women’s race, I wore my new running skirt, and I saw quite a few others with running skirts. The woman in front of me had one on that was really cute – it was short and pretty tight and almost looked like a regular skirt instead of a running skirt. I wanted to ask her where she got it, but I thought it would be weird to admit that I was staring at her butt. Instead, I proceeded to stare even harder trying to see if I could spot a brand on it. No luck.

The gun went off, and off we went! The course actually took us from Columbus Circle up Central Park West – a nice departure from the normal races that are just all in the park loop. I learned once from a walking tour that Central Park was designed to not have any straight paths – they’re all winding and curvy. Starting on CPW allowed us to see all the way ahead, and it was really cool to be able to look ahead and see the flashing lights of the truck following the leaders – usually they’re out of sight immediately.

A photographer caught me in the first mile looking like my usual unphotogenic-in-race-pictures self. It was already hot – not good. I think I did the first mile in 7:45, which gave me delusions that I might be able to get a PR for the distance. Yes, it was hot out – but I was in much better shape than I was in back in November when I set my 10K PR. Right?

Meh. Well, as the course continued, it became clear that those delusions were very much delusions. It was freaking hot out! I did hit the 5K mark in 26:07 (which seems to be kind of my standard “it’s hot out” 5K time lately – I did 26:08 in the Albany Crossfit 5K), and I did a good job going up the hill at the 5K mark, but then it just got hot.

I think it’s always important to try to learn from your training runs and races. One thing I learned at this race: the heat does not bother me. I know that doesn’t make sense with how much I’ve been talking about the heat, but let me explain. I discovered that it doesn’t matter to me how hot the actual temperature is, as long as I’m running in shade. The second I hit sun, I all but melt. I’ve run when it was 100 degrees out but shady, and done okay – and I’ve run when it was 80 degrees and sunny, and spent the run hating my life. So it is probably a good thing I didn’t sign up for Running With the Devil, which is entirely unshaded.

The rest of the race was pretty uneventful, except around mile 5, where I saw a runner down: she had passed out from the heat. There was a crowd of people already around her, so I decided not to stop and help, but I said a quick prayer as I went by that it was nothing serious and that no tragedy would strike. I also said a prayer for my friend Mike, who died doing a 10 mile race in DC last year on the same hot day as the ill-fated Chicago Marathon. Mike had a heart problem, not a problem with the heat, but it still took me back, and I hoped that all the women running that day were okay.

In the last mile, I tried to pick it up as usual, and I did okay – not an amazing kick, but not a really poor one either. In the homestretch, as I was trying to sprint, someone else blazed by me sprinting way faster, which was kind of disheartening. As we neared the finish, there was another woman only about 5 feet in front of me, and I really wanted to pass her, but I was already giving it my all. Just a few feet from the finish, I found a few ounces of energy that I didn’t know I had, and just barely squeaked in front of her as we stepped on the timing mat. You can see the huge grin on my face from this accomplishment, with the woman in pink shorts literally inches behind me. The official results don’t even show a difference in seconds – but they listed me before her, because I came in just ahead of her. Yay!

I went through the line, and got an unexpected pink carnation and medal for my participation – cool! I’m so used to not getting anything at the finish of the NYRR (except food and water), that it was a really nice surprise to get those. Another surprise: plums instead of apples! I love plums, so I was thrilled. I waited in line to get my finishers’ photo taken (I learned in Vermont that photographers don’t always get you triumphantly crossing the finish line, so it’s best to get a posed picture in case), and then hightailed it home, where I spent most of the rest of the day inside. Ah, air conditioning!

Race stats:
Distance: 6.2 miles
Time: 54:03
Pace/mile: 8:43
Overall place: 854/4104
Age group place: 342/1302

Other race reports:
Jenny at Triaspirational
Nyflygirl at Training Hard, Hardly Training
Julie at Runs Like a Girl
Run Dangerously at Run Dangerously (includes links to other reports)
Sue at Run Dangerously


15 thoughts on “Race Report: NYRR Mini 10K”

  1. I’m with you on the heat chica. Temps are fine as long as the sun is at bay. I think I mostly get nauseous from the heat coming off the pavement too, it’s just an odd feeling.

    Great job on the race. I think it’s super cool how much history is in it and it’s such a statement to participate. Chicks rule.

  2. Good on you! We don’t do heat here in the Bay Area…you should come run a race in September (the only time it’s predictably hot) and leave us in the dust.

    Nice to get so many photos.

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