Central Park 10K Recap
The Joe Kleinerman 10K in Central Park. In a word? It was AWESOME!
We went into the city Friday night, as I mentioned. I took the subway to the Upper East Side to pick up my race packet (and my friend’s who couldn’t make it) while my family got settled in our hotel for the night. I worried a bit at the red plastic toe timer attached to my bib; how did THAT work? I stopped by the guy in the doorway with a helpful how to about it. My bib was purple and number 7200. I like the round, evenness of that.
Took the subway back down to Times Square to meet up with my family and had a fabulous dinner with my husband’s cousin and his family from Spain (Uncle Nick’s for anyone in the area….highly recommend!). I carb loaded with moussaka and red wine (what, not the traditional sense of carb loading?).
Of course I couldn’t sleep and I was up by 6 to get ready for the race. I donned all of my cold weather gear and was ready to head out. I honestly like cold weather running. Firstly, I sweat a lot, so I sweat less, and secondly, you have places for everything. I didn’t need to do a bag check because I had so many pockets in my warm fleece.
Anyway, I took the subway back up the the 68th street stop on the 6 train. I hadn’t been sure where to go from there, but fortunately there were several other runners exiting the train, and I followed them easily.
Can I just say that I actually gasped when we came upon Central Park? So beautiful! I’ve been there only once before. It was just awesome. Thank goodness no snow on the ground, and so many people! I followed people in and saw the corrals all set up (my bib, I saw, was color coded for the very last one, which I expected). I warmed up a bit and before you knew it, it was time.
With the thousands of people, it took me over four minutes to get to the start line. I honestly broke into a grin. I planned on enjoying every minute of this, not worrying about time and taking tons of photos. How many times was I ever going to get to do this? I was a bit worried from the hills in the description, but I figured I’d take everything as it came.
The first mile wasn’t bad. The start was slightly uphill, but then it eased up a bit and was flat and then downhill. I felt great. The second mile, the same. More downhills, great views, and I started not to worry so much about how hard it would be. I made a decision early to take advantage of the five water stops (!!!!) and walk through each one. The first came up quickly, somewhere between mile 1 and 2.
Then I hit mile 3. This was where the big hill was that I remembered from the race description: a 600 foot climb. It was a challenge, no doubt. I did walk a portion of it, but not that much. On the plus side, there is a downhill to reward you after any hill, so that made up for that. Between mile 3 and mile 4 was probably the hardest part of the race.
Mile four saw some little hills (I think they called them the Harlem Hills in the race description). But by now I knew we were past the half way point and things were getting easier. I stopped taking the water at the stations because I honestly didn’t need more.
By mile 5 we were getting closer to the race start, and things looked familiar. I was definitely tired by this point, and had that discouraged feeling you get when you see the fast runners coming back for either their extra miles or their slower friends. I encouraged myself on with two things: the view of a mostly downhill or flat course from this point on and the fact that most people around me had resorted to walking. I still had the mileage in me, I could feel it, and I wasn’t about to walk it.
Mile 6 was at our starting point, and I started to feel that energy you get when you near a finish line. It wasn’t as far as I thought it would be, and I blew out the last little bit.
I had wanted to finish around 80. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the course, so I worried it might be closer to 83 or even 85 if it was super hilly. I hardly dared to hope for something less than 80 minutes.
I wasn’t sure of my exact time when I crossed the finish line, but I knew it was below 80 based on the length of time it took me to reach the start. I was psyched! And I didn’t feel wrecked at all. I felt totally fine, and after I’d had water and a bagel, I felt totally energized and ready to take on the day.
When I looked at the stats later in the day I found that I’d finished in 1:19:22, or 79:22.
A word of shoutout to the New York Road Runners, who organized this race. It was so amazing to be a part of such a large, well organized event. There was a great speaker system so you could clearly hear everything as we started the race. Each mile was so clearly marked. There were plentiful water stations and even porta potties ALONG the route, not just at the start/finish. There were plenty of enthusiastic volunteers cheering us on and pointing us in the right direction. The signage, everything was clearly marked. There were plenty of bagels and apples after, even for me who finished near the end. I know part of this comes from running so many races and having so many people participate, but still. It was so well run and that made my experience that much better.
At lunch afterwards with my husband’s cousin, he asked how I felt. Was I tired or sore. And the honest answer was that I felt exhilarated. I felt excited and full of energy. Such a different feeling from my first 10K! I felt terrible after it, and never wanted to do it again. And this time, I walked away from the race wanting to do another. I couldn’t be more grateful to my girlfriend who suggested this race (although I missed sharing it with her since she couldn’t attend). I never would have attempted something so big without her nudge. And I’m so glad I did. The idea of a 10K no longer intimidates me. I will always credit her with having that faith that I could do it when I wasn’t sure I could. Thanks Gabi!
Bring on the next 10K!