I have to be honest – I’ve been slacking a little with running. Truth be told, I’ve been recovering from a flare-up of hip bursitis, which shouldn’t be surprising given that I’ve been slacking on doing my rehab exercises and stretches. Now that all is clear again, I’ve been able to pick it up again with marathon training. I’m trying to complete the 9+1 for the NYC Marathon in 2018, so it’s time to get some races done. For my second race in Central Park, I went with the Retro 5-Miler.
I’ve never done a 5 mile race before, so this was an instant PR. It’s always a confidence booster for me to not have a specific “I must hit this pace oh no” mindset when I go into races. Given the hills and crowds, I set a goal of 10:00 miles, or under 50:00 total for the 5 miles.
The Retro 5-Miler was part of NYRR’s anniversary celebration. The idea is that you dress up in retro gear and do an “old school” run, which included zero clocks on the course (someone was at each mile calling out splits from a watch), and a lot of classic music at the start line. I (wisely) took the LIRR to get into the city, rather than rely on the extremely slow subway, which happened to be running local. Rather than risk being late, I ended up showing up an hour before the 9:00 start. I had plenty of time to use the restroom (lots of portapotties!) and check out some of the costumes on display before getting into my J corral. There were people in 60s, 70s, and 80s gear – I just had some knee high socks on, which was the most spirit I could muster.
One of the reasons I had no time goal for this race is that I’ve been getting over a cold, with brought with it a terrible cough. I haven’t been able to sleep through the night for the past week, since laying down triggers what feels like a mix between whooping cough and an asthma attack. I was terrified that I was going to start gasping for air on the course and be a mile from any type of water.
After a few minutes (NYRR had a staggered start), we finally made it to the start line and we were on our way. I put my Garmin on, but left it displaying the current time so that I wasn’t constantly asking how much longer I had to go.
As you can see from the course map/elevation profile, this race had plenty of hills. I felt pretty bottlenecked for the first mile or so, but I told myself that it was okay since it would keep me from going out too fast and crushing my legs on the hills. I stopped for each water stop (there was one every mile), but otherwise kept what felt like a pretty steady pace. My cough never came up until I crossed the finish line. Not having a clock at each mile marker actually helped me get through the race without stressing. I could tell by the overall time that I was staying below 10:00 per mile, but I wasn’t sure by how much.
Before I knew it, we hit mile 4 and it was time to go. I knew that the race ended on a pretty big downhill, so I was hoping that would give me a little extra speed to finish strong. I switched my Garmin to my total time with about .2 miles to go and saw that I was way below my goal, but also on pace to run more than 5 miles. All that weaving in and out of people added about .1 miles to my total – not a lot, but still a pain to deal with. I sprinted through the finish line and stopped my Garmin: 48:12!
I ended up keeping about a 9:30 pace per mile, which is exactly where I need to be if I want to PR my 10K next weekend at my next race. I feel confident about it, especially since I’ll (hopefully) be totally over my cough and a little more used to the Central Park hills.