Well I guess the title is a little deceiving since two of my personal records are in races that I’ve run for the first time ever, but you’ve gotta start somewhere! Right? [This will likely be a long post]
After completing my first half marathon in April 2012 I told myself I’d stick to shorter distances and casual running. In the end I didn’t put much effort into running and crossed it off my calendar by December, then I registered for the Honolulu Marathon. With an ambitious goal of 3:35:00 I told myself I’d start running again to build a base in March and planned my first 5k for early April 2013. This is where the PRs started.
PR #1 – JFK Runway 5K Run (April 2013)
My goal time for this race was 25:00, factoring in the fact that I had only been back in my running shoes for three weeks, I thought it was a reasonable goal time. The course was flat and the weather was cool. The only con was the headwind that decided to pick. The entire start/finish set-up, including the clock, toppled a few minutes before the start.
The run was nice and there weren’t too many people. I ended up finishing in 24:36, just ahead of the 9 year old that I spotted picking up speed beside me. In addition to surpassing my goal and getting to run on an active runway legally, I finished in the top 100 which was an added perk.
PR #2 – Newport 10000 (May 2013)
I read up a bit on this course and two factors in choosing to register for this race were the location and the elevation. The course was practically flat, with one small hill just before mile two. I didn’t think the turns would be much of an issue and was looking forward to the run along the boardwalk, with views on Manhattan.
Race Day arrived and the weather did not want to work with the runners. I believe the forecast mentioned a 90% chance of rain in the morning. The rain was cooling, but the puddles that it created made a world of difference when trying to avoid potholes on this road race.The turns ended up being a slight problem only due to the fact that some were very sharp and people needed to flush themselves together along them, lest you opt for wide turns during the race.With a sub-50 goal in mind I pounded along each mile, hoping that the rain and turns weren’t hurting my times too much.
I was a little nervous when I made it to the boardwalk since it was wet and potentially slippery, at least in my head. Once I passed the mile 6 marker I knew I was basically home free. As I made the final turn a friend who had finished the race already shouted my name and ran along the side as I crossed the finish. Once chip times were posted I was a little happier, 48:49. Another friend crossed shortly after, 52:XX, on his first 10K as well. That deserves celebration!!
PR #3 – Brooklyn Half (May 2013)
The race that I didn’t plan on running had me in mind. After some very mild coaxing I decided to run the Brooklyn Half. My goal time for a half is 1:40:00, but my only goal for Brooklyn was to finish (and hopefully PR). Although I hadn’t completed any runs longer than 8-9 miles I was assured by friends that my weekly mileage would easily carry me over the finish line.
Thankfully a friend let me stay at her place on Grand Army Plaza, so I slept in and wandered out just after 7am with no bags to check. The corrals were filling up quite nicely by that point and the first wave had already started. I got to watch a couple speedy friends zip by the library as I walked to my corral. By the time I crossed the start line 33 minutes had elapsed. I started picking off runners early since I started in a slower corral (no offense peeps). I had also never run Prospect Park and received mixed reviews on the ‘hill’ in the park. I tried to take it a little easier until I hit the hill, just in case it turned out to feel like Harlem Hill. The hill around mile 5 wasn’t bad at all. It was a little like Cat Hill in Central Park, maybe a slightly higher grade. The downhill for the next mile was great, it was my best split (7:24).
After leaving the park I cruised, sipping a few ounces of water at each station. I made sure my legs felt fine and I didn’t feel tired after each mile marker. I did munch on jelly beans intermittently throughout the race and they kept me energized. Near mile 9 a dog ran by. He ended up crossing the finish line as well. At mile 10 I realized how good I still felt, and time was still on my side. Somewhere after mile 11 you run out of lettered streets which only means one thing: you are getting close to the finish.
The only gripe I had was the extreme narrowness of the boardwalk entrance. It would be nice if they could somehow widen it for runners. Once on the boardwalk you only have a few hundred feet to go so you have to go all out. In all it was a great run, I did PR by about 7.5 minutes (1:46:32)!!! I know I have a 1:40:00 waiting to be chipped away, but ultra/marathon training has commenced.
This year has definitely kicked off on the right foot and I’m excited for the races I have scheduled for the second half of the year.