Sunday, March 6, 2011
Mission: Ass-kickery (Coogan's Recap)
Today I ran NYRR's Coogan's Salsa, Blues & Shamrocks 5K race. It's only my 3rd 5k race ever, my first one being my first race ever and my second being Coogan's last year. I was really pleased with my time from last year (26:48) and knew I could do better than that this year. So, when the alarm went off this morning, I was a woman on a mission, and that mission was Complete and Total Ass-Kickery.
The weather report for this Sunday had been less than stellar all week, predicting rain and temperatures in the 40s. Rain, I don't mind. Cold weather I don't mind. Together? Not so much a fan. But I was very pleased to see dry ground when I woke up and peeked out my window. I took my time getting ready, as this is one of the closest NYRR races to my home and had my usual race day breakfast (steel-cut oats, a bit of honey and a sliced up banana, all mashed in there). I gave Jeremy a good-bye kiss and walked out to take the bus down to the starting line. The temperature was pleasant -- more so than I had expected -- and while threatening, there was no rain yet. Naturally, as I got closer to the start, the skies started to open up. Never into a full-on downpour, but just nasty enough to be annoying. Bleh.
I was delighted to walk around the starting area, seeing other runners and bloggers who've become friends, like Joe and Ari, and the lovely, always smiling Robin. Robin and I walked to our respective starting corrals together and wished each other luck.
The rainy race started and, predictably, the first mile was crowded. I don't think I've ever bumped into so many people at a race. I took a quick look at my watch and realized I was cruising. Furthermore, I felt good. I charged ahead, weaving in and out of people and trying hard not to slip on the wet roadway. Up near the Cloisters, I spotted Elyssa just ahead of me. I caught up to her, and we ran together for a bit. At one point, I heard her say to me, "Go, girl!" I looked back and smiled. WOMAN. ON. A. MISSION. I kept hauling ass, making my way through the crowd, up and down the hills. At the last big hill, I booked it. I didn't look at my watch. I just looked at the ground ahead of me. As I reached the top, I thought my lungs were going to explode, but my legs felt fine so I told my lungs to deal with it. When I saw the finish line up ahead I gunned it, waving to Josh on the sidelines as I ran past. I stopped my watch as I crossed the finish. Final official time, 22:42. Better than a 4 minute PR over last year. Average pace, 7:19. I'm super proud of this race. It's really nice to feel, with every part of your being, that the hard work you've done is paying off. Numbers like these are the proof for me.
After Austin, I was honestly having some doubts about my goals for the NJ marathon, and I still do to be perfectly honest. But I'm getting faster and stronger all the time. I've still got so much work to do. But I probably wouldn't ever do anything if I knew I could do it.