I followed directions to Shore Road Park from the New York City Parks web site. The park is pretty desolate at 6:45am. I didn't see any people, let alone anything race related. Finally, I came upon a man walking down the path and asked him how to get across the Belt Parkway to the water side of the park. I found the bridge and headed over. Again, I didn't see anyone. I took a guess and started jogging west. I saw another man coming toward me and asked him if there was a race behind him. He said yes. Almost 2 miles later, I found the start. I silently cursed about not parking closer, but today I was due for a 17 miler, so it kind of works out in the end.
I signed up for the 7am start which was starting as I arrived. I decided to join the 7:30 beginners because I hate feeling rushed. I picked up my number and race shirt. There were only three porta-potties so I decided to get on line. A young, very chatty couple was standing behind me. At one point, the young man leaned over and whispered in my ear, "Do you see the guy over there in the compression socks?" Odd, but whatever. "Which guy?" I turned around and asked. He jumped with surprise and embarrassment. "Oh my God, I was whispering to the wrong person!" His girlfriend didn't look amused. I had a nice chuckle.
At 7:20 the NYC Runs organizers announced they were going to delay the start until everyone had used the bathrooms. Really? Why does this never happen when I am the one running late? Like just 20 minutes earlier? I froze in my t-shirt and shorts for the next 25 minutes. Finally, we started after some influence from the NYPD.
The Narrows course is a 5 mile loop to the Verrazano Bridge and back, then an 8 mile loop to the Toys 'r Us shopping center and back. I decided I was going to start out running 8:15 miles until I realized I was running 7:44 miles. It was a comfortable pace so I stuck with it for the first ten miles. I played Leap Frog with a young redhead wearing a Dashing Whippets Running Team singlet for most of the race. Some soldiers from Fort Hamilton were walking the bike path in full uniform, backpacks and all. Their presence kind of brings you back down to earth when you think you're tough as nails in this race. I thought I might get bored from the repetitive scenery, but the run went by pretty quickly. I was hoping to finish around 1:41, but I started to fade the last 3 miles. My Dashing Whippet pulled ahead a good distance and I could not keep up without gagging. Gagging in a finisher's photo should be avoided at all costs. I crossed the finish line at 1:42:20, a 7:48 pace. A PR by over 5 minutes! I also received a cool trophy for 1st place in my age group, a nice little surprise!
I ran back to my car on Shore Road because the bike path was closed for an NYPD 5 miler. I got some thumbs ups when people noticed my trophy in hand. Cool.
By early afternoon, I received an email with all of my stats from NYC Runs. 51st overall out of 210, and 16th woman out of 125. I love that they're on the ball with the results. Some races you have to wait days before you see anything online.
The New York City skyline behind me. You can't beat that with a stick.
Fun running accessory