I meant to post this on Friday but got swamped at work and then was busy prepping for a party on Saturday, which turned out to be a disaster (although THAT was not my fault). With all the crap I've had to deal with last week and this weekend, I decided that today is going to be about ME. So one of the things I wanted to finish was my blog about Thursday's Wall Street Heart Run.
When I got up Thursday morning I was super excited and a bit anxious. I had run a 5K a month earlier so I knew I could do it. Yet, I still felt anxious. I guess it was because this felt like a "real" race. It was a New York Road Runners event and would be chip timed. I registered through my employer, who was a sponsor of the event, and got a real race shirt out of it too. You know the kind that wicks away moisture? How cool is that? I feel all official runner-like now with my runner's shirt. And yes, I can't wait until I can wear this outside when I run at the Duck Pond and show it off.
Since I take public transportation a lot, I am signed up for MTA alerts (Metropolitan Transit Authority, who run NYC's subway, bus, and rail systems). When I checked my e-mail that morning, I saw this message:
"M5, M15, M15SBS, M20, and M22 buses detoured. Due to the Wall St Run in Manahattan, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, Thu, May 31."
They're closings streets for this run! Diverting traffic! This is serious business! Yep, yep, I was definitely anxious now.
It would make sense that my employer, a hospital, would be one of the local sponsors as yesterday's race was a benefit for the American Heart Association. heartwalk.kintera.org/f
. We here on Spark are well aware that heart disease is the #1 killer. So it was very fitting that my first timed race was for a charity that promotes healthy living. This race raised over $1.4 million for AHA. My brother (who knows about these kinds of things) said that is a very good number for a fundraising event.
Thursday, I was counting down the hours until the race. It was a VERY BAD day at work. I've mentioned before how I hate my job and how incredibly stressful it is. A lot of it has to do with my boss. Therefore, I couldn't wait to get out of work and out running. Exercise definitely alleviates a lot of stress for me. Although after this weekend, I think I am going to look into meditation too as I really need to learn more ways to de-stress and decompress. Learning to deal with stress is also a part of healthy living and I need to work on that area of my life.
I believe Thursday's race was originally supposed to be a full 5K because I remember that's what it said when I registered. For whatever reason, it became a 3 mile race. This is also the first race I have ever encountered that started on a weekday evening. I guess since it's in Wall Street and mostly corporations are participating, they wanted to make it an after work event. Hey, works for me!
The 3 mile route had us start just 1 block north of the World Trade Center site. We went west a tiny bit, then south down Church Street, west again on Liberty Street, south on William Street, and then a loop north on Pearl Street and south on Water Street. The last mile had us going along the very bottom tip of Manhattan, along Battery Park Place and running past Battery Park. The finish line put us at the World Financial Center, next to the North Cove along the Hudson River. My friend who works in the Financial District came out to see me race and told me that the area was mostly flat. So I was thankful for a non-hilly race route. At this point in my training, I still find hills challenging.
According to the e-mails I got, I was under the impression that they wanted everyone to be in the waiting area by 6:30 pm (the race started at 7 pm). I knew there was going to be a lot of people so I figured that if I got there the earlier the better. This is NYC, you have to get everywhere early. Well, I was wrong. I showed up at 6 pm and there was no one there. Oops. I guess my excitement got the better of me. Although this was only my second race, I have now quickly learned that races just don't start on time as I don't think we started until a quarter past 7 pm. Well, now I know.
They had timed corrals at the line-up, starting with 5 min/mile. My mom got to the start point before I did and called me up to ask which one was my corral. I told her, "Ha ha ha, I am nowhere near any of that. Probably whatever is last." From what I calculated from my previous training runs, I usually timed between 12 to 13 min/mile. Well, the last timed corral was for 11+ (so I was in the last corral!). What an ego deflator that was. When more and more people started to show, they filled up from the beginning at the 5 min/mile corral and no one was coming to 11+. Now, perhaps this is because everyone wants to start as close to the start line as possible but I was starting to think, "Hey, there’s a good possibility I might finish last in this race." Then I remembered that this was a run/walk so there was no way I could finish behind all the walkers. OK, not the nicest thing to think but did I mention again how nervous I was? Not only that but my friend, my mom, and my brother were all going to the race to support me. I felt more nervous running for them than anything else.
Thursday wound up being a perfect evening for a run. I really couldn't have asked for better weather. It wasn't that hot but what I didn't realize was that the cars going by in the area would make it seem hotter than it was. That and lower Manhattan just tends to keep in the heat. This was my first street race so I once again I learned something new about running conditions.
I loved the race route, the weather conditions, everything. I waved
to my mom as I passed the start line. When we were running down Church Street, we had this AMAZING view of the new World Trade Center building construction site with the sun behind it. WOW. I'm not down in that area very often but I have been within the last few months and I don't think I ever appreciated the building for what it was until Thursday. Now I do.
From New York Road Runners (nyrr.org) website. That's a lot of people! According to my mom, there were probably at least three times as many walkers. So you can imagine the scale of this run/walk.
What I also loved was the random strangers on the street who watched us run and cheered us on. What a rush to hear
, and "you’re doing great!" from people who don't even know you and are still proud of you for running. On the other hand, I disliked the people who got tired of waiting and just decided to cross the street while runners were going by. Yes, I had to dodge quite a few pedestrians. Although as a native New Yorker, I can understand their frustration. When I had to dodge the pedestrians, I thought to myself, "I'm so thankful I train at the Duck Pond where I normally have to dodge geese, strollers, and bicyclists. That was great practice for this!" You know what else was cool for me? Getting to run by some of the places I knew of which I had fond memories. On Water Street, I ran past my friend's old dorm, where I used to hang out all the time. On a different street, I remember one Oktoberfest where my husband and I got giant steins of beer not because we wanted the beer per se but because we wanted to bring home a gigantic stein.
From New York Road Runners (nyrr.org) website.
In my first race (the Bronx Zoo 5K), I had to take some short walking breaks but this time I ran the whole thing. I did stop to get water and so I had to walk. And I wanted to be nice and throw my cup out in the trash. So that wasn't going to be great for my time but I needed water and I didn't want to litter. And again, I'll learn to dodge the wet paper cups the next time I race.
For me, I felt the first mile and a half was easy, as in it came up much sooner than I was expecting. I really didn't feel tired until sometime after mile 2. I thought about walking but I really wanted to run the whole thing so I just slowed down my pace somewhat. When we got towards the end, I saw and heard my friend cheering me on. That was when I was starting to lose steam and having that support really helped me to keep going.
So this might seem silly and somewhat nerdy but I want to print out my official race results and have that and my race bib framed. I'm proud of myself and there's something really special about having some official timed results now. According to the official results, I finished the 3 mile route in 33:50, with a pace of 11:17 min/mile. There were 2,693 female runners and 5,540 total finishers (walkers were not timed). I finished 2121st by gender and 4,753 overall. That means there were more than 500 women and almost 800 people total, who placed after I did. And before the race started I was worried I would finish last. It seems kind of silly now.
Perhaps if I hadn't gotten water, I would have been faster but that doesn't matter now to me. The point is I now have a real starting point to gauge my progress. I'm proud of my 33:50 three mile time and I'm proud of my 11:17 min/mile pace. And I'm proud I ran the whole thing. And numbers aside, this race FELT much easier for me to do than my last one and that's how I know I'm improving.
You know what the most awesome thing is? Thursday's race was 4 days before my birthday (it's actually today) and so going into my 32nd birthday, I can now say "I am a runner."
Before the race. Wish I had remembered to get a photo of all of us after the race.