Walking to the start.
Courtesy of Vital Vision Photography
(Why am I running in a different direction than everyone else? And why is that "Secret" Service guy following me?)
I woke up at 6:15, downed a glass of orange juice, and got in the car toward Prospect Park. Even though I had to get the old ice scraper out of retirement, the roads were fine. I heard on the traffic report that there were two accidents westbound on the Belt Parkway (it's news when there are no accidents on the Belt), so I took the BQE instead. This added some time. I finally got to Prospect Park around 7:45. The scenery was really pretty with the thin blanket of snow on the ground and on the trees. I walked to the starting line with a lot of other racers. It was freezing, 16 degrees to be exact. Some guy was prancing around in silk shorts and a tank top heckling everyone, "You guys are wimps! Oh, you're sooo cold! Pathetic." Five minutes later, I saw him at the start jumping up and down shivering. There's always one at a race. I brought my YakTrax, but kept them in my pocket. It looked like everyone else was willing to take the risk. The race started and off we went. The first couple of hundred yards was uphill, not too steep, but definitely not flat. After running about 8:20, I realized there was no mile marker, but I thought I must be close to Mile 1, if I didn't just pass it. We're running the interior road of the park. The race road had lots of patches of snow, but it was easy to find a melted path. I can see the corner where I parked my car and I knew it wasn't too far from the starting line so we were close to the halfway mark. When we got there, the one clock on the course read 22:10! Whoa! That's too fast. This is a 7:09 pace. I didn't feel I was struggling that first half, but the second sure wasn't fun. I don't know if I psyched myself out or not, but it seemed to take forever to end. I finally got to the finish. 49:19 is the official chip time. 8 seconds slower than my PR, but two minutes slower than what I was expecting. I think I paid for those two minutes in the first half. I should have hit the 5k at around 24 minutes, instead of 22. Oh well, live and learn. Overall it was a good race. I liked the NYCRuns group. They were great with the email updates. I will definitely run another one of their events. I finished 4th in my age group (grumble grumble) out of 38, 36th out of 364 women, and 104th overall out of 574. Top 10% in the age group, top 10% among females, and top 20% overall. I'm pretty consistent with these stats. Next race, Old Fashioned 10 Miler...
Oh my God, I almost forgot the most important thing! The hot chocolate at the finish line was fantastic! Super chocolatey, just the way I like it. How did they know?