|Steph & I pre-race|
The course was one counter-clockwise loop of the park, starting on East Drive and ending on the 72nd Street Transverse. I tried not to let the cold get to me and kept my pace slow for the first miles, knowing those Harlem Hills were in the near future. I had forgotten my watch and my Nike+ app GPS is always inaccurate, so I wasn't really sure what pace I was keeping during the race. Mile 1 & 2 ended up being around 9:45 pace. I felt super strong going into the Harlem Hills and pushed through knowing I'd be rewarded with some sweet downhills in the second half of the race. I stopped paying attention to what my intended pace was and just really enjoyed running. I once again found myself in awe of the beauty of Central Park and got lost in my head. I started thinking about how thankful I am to be a runner. I just love running races surrounded by people who appreciate and love this sport as much as I do. It wasn't until about Mile 5 that I snapped back to reality and remembered I was "racing". I wasn't trying to PR but started thinking it was a possibility, given how strong I was feeling. When I hit the 6 mile mark I sprinted my little heart out and had some terrible photos taken of me in the process. Okay, there was one decent one:
My official finish time was 59:28 (9:36 pace), but I have to admit that my time does not reflect how I felt during the race at all. I felt strong and definitely thought I had run faster! As I said earlier, I wasn't trying to PR, so I'm not disappointed. I'm just happy to have 1 race down for 9+1. Eight more to go! :)
After I finished, I grabbed my apple and jogged backwards to find Steph and her teammates. They clearly had been keeping a good pace because it didn't take long for me to find them just before the 6-mile marker.
I am so impressed by their performance and so inspired by their training and fundraising progress. If you can, please visit Steph's Team in Training page to cheer her on and donate! GO TEAM!