Date: Sunday 2/2/14 (Super Bowl Sunday)
Race: NYRR Gridiron Classic 4 Miler
Location: Central Park, Manhattan
Weather: Sunny and 43 degrees….perfect running weather for me!
NYRR 9+1 Status: Race 1 of 9
This was my first race of 2014 and my first NYRR race of 9 that I need to complete in 2014 in order to qualify for guaranteed entry into the 2015 NYC Marathon (plus volunteer at a race, which is what the “+1” means). This was not going to be a “race” for me, as in I was not running it for any sort of time goal or to beat my PR (personal record/best race time at that distance) as I am still just coming off an injury, so I treated it as a “fun run.” I have only been back to running for 2 weeks after having to take 6 weeks off, and have been running fairly low mileage (8.3 miles the first week and 10.1 miles last week, culminating in this race as I measure my weekly mileage Monday to Sunday), so trying to run fast would have been unwise. This race would also be my longest distance run since coming back from injury, and only my 2nd time running outdoors since then too (I have also been running mostly on the treadmill which I haaaate but it has been for the best since we have been having a very snowy and icy winter which makes running outside not ideal under any circumstance but especially having just been injured). So I knew that I needed to have the willpower to keep it slow and easy.
The race began at 9:00am. I like to get to races early, especially if I have to pick up my race materials (bib, shirt) and check a bag, porta-potty lines are often long, and this race in particular they had a football throwing contest beginning at 8:00am. Also, I was trying to meet up with a couple ladies before the race. So I had every intention of getting there in the vicinity of 8:00am. Central Park is about an hour to an hour and 10 minutes from my apartment in Brooklyn on the subway. So my alarms started ringing at 5:40am. Yes, I said alarms. As in multiple. I am not the type of person who can jump right up when I hear an alarm so I usually need to set about 5, starting about 20-30 minutes before I ACTUALLY want to get up. Actually got out of bed around 6:10.
I had my traditional pre-race breakfast of toast with peanut butter and banana, cup of coffee and water. Despite the fact that we had been having an extremely cold and snowy winter, and had a snow storm on the way the next day, it was forecast to be sunny and 43 degrees :):):) That means Sparkle Skirt without tights underneath, knee high compression socks (or calf sleeves, today I decided for compression socks for increased ankle support), thin long sleeved tech material shirt and short sleeved shirt over. That is standard race attire for temperatures of high 30s-mid 40s. The race was football themed and participants were encouraged to wear attire representing their favorite football team. So, OBVIOUSLY, I was representing the Giants:
Decided on my new Asics Kayano 20s because they are the most supportive shoe I own. Put on my race clothes, sweats and a sweatshirt over, and off I went, leaving my apartment around 7:00, set to get to the race site by 8:00-8:10. I really should have left a few minutes earlier, but I didn’t get myself out the door exactly when I wanted. And as a result I was coming down the subway stairs the train was already there….ack! So I participated in my first race of the day: The Race for the Train. Annnnd I lost :(. Total bummer because that early on Sunday mornings the R train only comes once every 20 minutes. Womp womp. So, getting there at 8:00-8:10 quickly became 8:30-8:40. Yikes!
Got off the subway at 8:32, and had to walk very briskly/kind of jog the approximate half mile from the subway to where the packet pickup was. Ok, well don’t need to do a warmup I guess. Got my bib, pinned it on, got the clear bag we need to use for bag check, got my race T-shirt, shoved my sweatshirt, sweat pants and T-shirt into the plastic bag and jogged over to bag check. Time: 8:45. Was able to meet up with 2 of the girls I was hoping to see before the race at the bag check entrance and snapped a quick photo:
Then we split up and power walked to our corrals. Didn’t even get to visit the porta potty…..oh nooo! I barely made it to my purple corral (for slow people) by the time the race started at 9:00. But that is ok, because my corral is last, and it takes over 10 minutes to cross the starting line from my corral.
Not too much to say about the race itself. I enjoy running in Central Park very much, but since it is far from my apartment I generally cannot justify going all the way there to run on my own, so I like to do races there. My race strategy was to take it easy and go slow. Which in a race atmosphere is sometimes hard to do. But I concentrated on running nice and easy, and doing walk intervals. I decided I really need to drop these walk intervals ASAP. I know LOTS of runners who always do walk intervals, and I do not look down on that in any way, shape or form. There is a method of run/walk called the Galloway method, and plenty of people complete marathons even using it. And plenty of the Galloway followers maintain a faster average pace of run/walk intervals than I do running the whole time. But run/walk intervals I am discovering are not for me. I just like to run! I have been doing the walk intervals while coming back from injury but they just feel unnatural for me….too much to think about, too much to pay attention to, too much relying on my watch…. Generally in races I will walk water stations to have a drink without choking, take a GU on a longer race, and have a quick break; or I will take a walk break if I need it, but I have decided I do not like the frequent walk breaks. But since I have been doing them during all my runs the past 2 weeks, I stuck to them for the race.
It was a beautiful day to be out and running in the park. I enjoyed all the football apparel out on the course. I did run into the Boathouse bathroom during the first mile since I had failed to use the porta-potty and it was not out of the way. Probably lost a minute in the first mile, but since I was not running the race for time I didn’t care too much. I enjoyed being out there running, and very happy to be taking part in the event.
Mile 1: 13:54
Mile 2: 12:07
Mile 3: 12:53
Mile 4: 12:35
+ .11 mile extra measured by my Garmin: 1:21
Garmin time: 52:49
Official chip time: 52:47
This was a “PW” or “personal worst” for me but it was supposed to be! The important things are that I had fun and finished the race, uninjured!
Post-Race (with my water and bagel):
Course Photographer Photos:
Never super impressed with NYRR’s shirts. Generally cotton, and not even nice cotton—very thin, kinda scratchy cotton. Usually a solid color (and not a fun one- the ones I have are all white, navy, or forest green) with a small race logo on the chest, and either long or short sleeves. They run really big because they are unisex sizes, and they often run out of smalls. Meh.
Thanks for reading!