I think I should start right off by stating that this race was a hot one. No, I don’t mean hot like all us runner look good (although we do, but usually not while running) I mean this race, held early June in New York’s Central Park, heats up and is known as the first ever, longest running, women’s 10K.
Welcome to a flash back review of the 2016 New York Mini 10K
My race calendar this year has not been full of duplicate races, save for this one. In 2015 I ran is shortly after completing 2 half marathons within four weeks of each other, so I was well trained but tired. Yes, I completed the run in 2015… yes I have the medal on my wall… but the 2016 Mini quickly made it onto the race list so that I could redeem myself in this race. Did I do that? I’m not really sure, but at least I completed it again and coming from a better place.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s talk race.
Hosted by the NYRR in Central Park- everything pre race is quick and easy. Packet pickup, held the whole week before race day, is only blocks from work on the Upper Wests Side. What a better way to spend my break on a Tuesday then to trot up the street for race numbers and shirts?! Then Saturday morning the start line is a simple subway ride away by Columbus Circle, easy. We shut down the streets, with queuing taking up the sidewalks and street, and the first leg of the race going straight up Central Park West. It’s very empowering to see the pavement live with female runners of all shapes and sizes, young and old from all over the city, the state, the country, and the world coming together to run. The colors? You guessed it- black and pink all the way. And somewhere in this sea of tutus, ribbons, cheers, armbands, and shoes there is little old me. Charging along just fine for the early first half feeling good to be taking on this race again.
Last year, I came into the race tired and dehydrated. I passed up water stations, lost my headphones, saw another runner pass out in front of me, and then decided to walk the back half before the finish. I finished the race unharmed and no worse for wear but I knew I could do better and needed to prove it- to no one other then myself.
So we are back to the now, and me making my way (at my happy 10:42 minute mile pace) up CPW and turning into the park at the 96th St. entrance. The first 2 miles, no problem. Mile 3, we have thinned out and paced out which makes it easier to enjoy the scenery- meaning the lovely hills of Central Park that we have all trained on a few too many times and have an endless love/hate relationship with.
But where are we? About half way through, and as the sun creeps further into the sky, the cool morning air is giving way to the summer heat. Thank goodness for water stations by each mile marker as runners were “dropping like flies”- pulling over to walk or pour cold water on their heads, and push through to the finish (but things year, thank goodness, I didn’t actually see anyone fall or pass out from the heat). I had a rough go from miles 4-5.5, walking periodically and feeling overheated already, but I knew I felt better then last year and that I was almost done. I could finish and finish strong.
That’s something I love about the running community. For people like me, the only person you are “racing” is yourself. The only person to challenge you and give you a PR to break is yourself. So if you have to walk- you walk. You need a pep talk? Ok- so stop and give yourself that pep talk, rev yourself up and watch yourself fly! At the heart of things, only you know how you are doing, how you are feeling, what you need, and how you are going to end things… so do it for yourself and get yourself to that finish line however you need to.
And that’s what I was doing as I revved myself up for the last mile or so if this race. Also knowing in my head that this is the last little bit of the marathon, so I should be running it. Which only got easier as I approached the finish line. Why is it that we runners are so obsessed with the bling that awaits us?
That’s a really good questions for another post! LOL
I’ll wrap up by saying that while I stopped to walk and drink water, I slowed my pace and kept breathing, I finished the 2016 New York Mini 10K feeling better then the year before and feeling thrilled to receive my medal and carnation upon crossing the finish line.
Taking on a challenging race… knowing it will be a challenging race can be difficult. Because so much about running is mental, it’s easy to psych yourself out… but if you keep focused and strong, placing one foot in front of the other you will succeed and have memories to share for years to come!
Well, till next year… and maybe tackling another Mini 10K!