I had been excited about this race since last March.
I coordinated it with a visit to a college friend, Andrea, who lives in NJ.
I drove to her house on Friday. Then on Saturday, we took the ferry into NYC for a college reunion.
A group of 7 of us who spent our junior year abroad in Nice, France (41 years ago!!) met for brunch at a French restaurant (of course) and we chatted and chatted.
Since this was a French brunch, there was no pasta on the menu so I had crepes instead. I also had creme brulee for dessert but neither seemed to be substantial enough.
After we left the restaurant, we walked around Washington Square Park and I bought a NYC pretzel (I had to carb load, right?)
Then instead of taking the subway, we decided to walk to the High Line, walk it to end and then to the ferry. (Walking all afternoon the day before a race in uncomfortable shoes? What was I thinking???)
I walked on the High Line last year but they have recently extended it.
By the time we got back, the sun was setting.
We decided to stop for pizza back in NJ (more carbs for me!!)
I paid extra to pick up my race packet on race day so I needed to leave earlier even earlier on Sunday.
I originally thought that my friend lived closer to the race than she did. According to Google, it would take anywhere between 1 h 5 min and 1 h 20 min. Since the race started at 8 am and I wanted to be there at 7 am, I had to leave around 5:15 am (ouch!)
With maybe 5000 runners, I was nervous about how long it would take me to into in the park and that the park would close at 7:15 am.
So of course, I couldn’t sleep at all.
I got up at 4:30 am and had my hot cereal and tea and headed out. At this hour, there was no traffic and thanks to my Garmin GPS, I had no problems finding Mercer County Park.
I arrived as one of the first cars in the parking lot.
I walked to the skating rink (still dark out!) and picked up my race packet. There were indoor restrooms (but NO toilet paper).
Then, I walked back to my car. I decided since there was a bag check and it was a long walk, I would get my clothes to change into for after the race.
At this point, the parking lot was filling up and there was a long line of traffic getting into the park. I was glad that I had arrived early.
I walked back to the rink, checked my bag and used the restroom. (There were single porta potties everywhere but the lines were LONG.)
Soon it was time to walk to the start (which was quite a long walk.) There were lots and lots of porta potties there …who knew?
The weather was perfect for racing…in the 50s and sunny. It was breezy and it was supposed to get very windy later.
I lined up near the 9 min/mile pacer. I planned to stay there as long as I could.
It was very crowded at the start and I had a hard time moving. I weaved in and out through the crowd for quite a while.
As per my usual plan, I started out fast and walked through the water stops. I expected them at least every 2 miles but the first two weren’t until mile 2.5 and mile 5 and I regretted not carrying water… I was so thirsty. After that, the stops seemed to be every mile.
I was warm & ditched my cheap DIY arm warmers. It was warm enough to have worn a tank top but I was fine with what I wore.
Around mile 4, I took a Gu and then realized that I had lost my other Gu. No problem since they were giving out energy gels at one of the water stops later.
Luckily I grabbed some red licorice around mile 6 because I missed the gels around mile 8.
To sum up the race, my pace was decent for the first five miles. Then I developed blisters and they got more and more painful. As they got painful, I ran slower and walked more.
I never saw the 10 min/mi pacer which really surprised me.
The course was nice…you ran around the park and then around a college campus and back…nothing really scenic but not very hilly which made me happy.
The last mile seemed to go on forever. The wind had picked up and we were running into it.
I definitely didn’t have the energy to sprint like I usually do through the finish line but I was so glad to be done and take off my shoes!
I crossed at 1:38:45 (chip time).
As soon as you were done, you could go to a computer and check your time.
Then I limped to the food tent where they boasted of having “Healthy Clean Eats” …pretzels, grilled zucchini, peppers, asparagus and chicken.
I wanted a bagel, cookies or donuts and chocolate milk…wah! wah!
But I ate the pretzel and went to change my clothes. (There was supposed to be beer and mimosas but I didn’t see any.)
They gave out awards early. I didn’t need to stay, I was 8th in my age group. The winner ran a 7 min. miles!! At age 60!
Believe it or not, this was a PR for me (by almost 6 minutes)!! My previous 10 mile times were 1:44:39 and 1:49:55.
finished 770 out of 1977
finished 8 out of 36 in my age group
mile 1- 9:39
mile 2- 9:12
mile 3 -9:23
mile 4- 9:25
mile 5 – 10:16
mile 6 – 10:17
mile 7 – 10:27
mile 8 – 10:41
mile 9 – 10:27
mile 10 – 10:07
I was happy with my time and I enjoyed racing but on the whole, the race was just so-so.
It seemed to be more hype than anything. Maybe it was because this was the first race that I have done alone…no friends or family running or watching…or that my feet hurt and I didn’t run well the second half.
When I was done, I met my friend at Grounds for Sculpture which was about 10 minutes away. We had lunch (crepes again) and walked the gardens for 5 hours (my poor footsies) looking at Seward Johnson‘s sculptures. It was wonderful.
The next day, I stopped off to visit a boating friend who also lives in NJ.
I had a great time visiting my NJ friends, seeing my college friends, walking around NYC and Grounds for Sculpture and for the first time ever, my destination race was not the highlight of my weekend.
Happy Running! How was your weekend? Ever run a race that didn’t meet your expectations?