By “Flying,” I mean I’m on a total high after today’s race. 🙂
All I can say is, I pushed. I really, really pushed myself on this one. And, what I’m most happiest about now is that I didn’t let myself down. I had a goal in mind – I was afraid to tell too many people in case I couldn’t achieve it, but I did it. I DID IT!
My brother, the running coach at Urban Athletics NYC’s World Trade Center location (ask for Jim Saint-Amour if you call), gave me a suggested goal of 51:25 for today, based on my fastest 5K time of 24:45. Now, my brother’s always been an optimist and one of my biggest cheerleaders when it comes to running, so I thought he was being overly optimistic. But something he said to me last week on the phone really stuck with me during this race: “sis, it’s gonna be hard, and you’re not gonna have anything at the end if you do it right. You’re gonna feel totally wiped, but you can do it, sis. You can do it, go for the time, go for the time.”
Favorite memories from today:
- Seeing Joan Benoit-Samuelson at around mile 2.75 for me (over 3 for her!) and seeing the huge smile on her face as she looked at all of us running in the opposite direction. This woman ran Chicago yesterday in 2:47:50, and she was kicking ass again today, and there she was, cheering for us, can you believe it?! I yelled out “Go Joanie!” when I was pretty close to her and she looked right at me and smiled. Definitely gave me a boost there!
- Seeing the women age-group winners, and noting how amazing these women look. The woman who won the 60-69 age group was 69, and set a record for 69 year olds by 2 minutes! If I look anything close to how awesome those women look when I get to those ages, I will be SO happy. I often get mistaken for being in my late 20s/early 30s (and hee hee, sometimes even a law student!) It’s sooo gotta be the running!
- Seeing the elite runners, including Katie McGregor, one of my personal faves, and much earlier in the race than I’m used to. (I’m telling you, I started much further forward in the pack this year.)
Unlike last year when I found myself near the porta-potties as they sang the national anthem, I was waiting on the street by 11:45. I didn’t do a lot of warm-up, just some stretching, so my legs felt a bit heavy for the first mile or so. As you can tell from my stats, I did a bit of weaving. (My friend, Dan, who is new to racing, now understands my aggravation with people lining up at the 7 minute mile pace, only to begin walking about 200 yards after the start line. In case you’re wondering, yes, he got some weird looks from the women around him, since this is a race “for women.” Doesn’t mean they dont’ allow guys to run it, however.)
I have to admit, I saw how close I was to the start line this time around, and part of me felt like “I can’t be here, I’m not supposed to be this far up in the pack.” But part of me also felt like “you know what? I’ve been working my butt off all year, I do belong here!” Still, it made me nervous to pass Dan after a few minutes, and then I didn’t see him again until he had just passed Mile 4, and I was about a half mile back from him. Seeing that difference between us made me feel better and like I was on track.
This was one of the first races I’ve run where I’ve looked down at my watch and felt happy with my splits. I passed the 3 mile mark at about 25 flat (net-time), which I knew put me on target to finish with a “51” in the first part of my time. That definitely helped to quicken my legs when I looked down and saw 8:39 as my current pace at one point. I told myself to kick it up a notch and get moving, and the next time I looked at my watch it said 8:04 as my current pace. Definitely an improvement!
Up until very recently, my goal for this race had been 54-55 minutes, and I thought even that would be really hard. However, running with my friend Dan once a week for the past month or so has really, really helped. He’s younger and a naturally gifted runner, that much is obvious, and I’ve grown much stronger mentally by running with him. I didn’t use to do tempo runs (they scare the bejesus out of me) but running with him, we talk, and I don’t stop when I otherwise would.
I took a look at my times for this race since I started running it, and I can’t believe how far I’ve come. This year, I’ve had much, much more personal stress in my life but one good thing that’s come out of it is that I’ve never run this well in my life before. My recent races have given me that one small time frame where I can forget everything else going on in my life, mentally, and just focus on what’s happening physically for that brief distance of 5K, 5 miles, or 10K. It’s also been the one constant in my life these past few months, other than the support I’ve had from family and friends. I think without it, I might have felt like “losing it” a lot more often than I have.
Past 3 years:
- 2007: 1:02:13
- 2008: 1:00:09
- 2009: 59 minutes (this race involved a face plant, and sprained ankle around mile 1)
Stats from today – wow, what a difference!
- Garmin time: 51:52
- Garmin distance: 6.29
- Garmin average pace: 8:15 min/mile
- Official time: 51:51
- Official distance: 6.2 miles
- Official average pace: 8:21
- Division place: Women 30-39 = 234/2079 (Top 11%)
- Overall place: 715/6719 (Top 11%)
I definitely felt like I left everything I had in me, on the road, today. As we neared the Boston Public Gardens, I had a feeling I could beat 52 minutes, but it would involve a very fast last quarter mile. I couldn’t do an all-out sprint like I normally do at the end, but I was able to pick it up, and my last .29 on my watch was at a 7:04 pace. This, after my 6th mile in 8:06!! I have never been soooo glad to see a finish line in my life. It was such an awesome feeling to look up at the finish line clock and know that after subtracting 45 or so seconds, my net time was under 52! I DID IT!
Sorry, no pics from the race. My car broke down last night, so I had to do “bag check” which included my cell phone. I wanted to race with as little extra weight on me as possible. I know many of you are “Ruthie Lovers” so I hope you like those instead! (She came for an overnight visit this past Saturday.)
Allow me to float through tomorrow, now….yay!!!