Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Race Repot: 2015 Scotland Run 10k

It's finally starting feel like spring here in NYC and yet somehow I managed to catch a cold late last week. By Thursday night I was popping zinc and vitamin c and downing orange juice in an attempt to stave off sickness. I was registered for NYRR's Scotland Run 10k on Saturday and I figured I would wait until that morning to see how I felt before deciding on a race plan. Nonetheless, on Friday evening things didn’t look promising. I took some Nyquil and hoped for the best.  

The race was at 8am on Saturday so I set my alarm for 5:45 a.m. to give me plenty of time to eat and digest my food. For shorter races I stick to a mini bagel with peanut butter since a regular bagel tends to be too much for my stomach at faster speeds. I washed the bagel down with a glass of Kona Cola Nuun since I like a little bit of caffeine but don’t do coffee before races.

I had all of my stuff ready to go, so I found myself with some time to kill (read: time to worry about my cold). I decided I would try racing and see what happened. After my success in the NYC Half a few weeks ago, I also decided to have a Red Ace Organic Beet Juice Shot a couple hours before the race, lest there be any unforeseen GI issues...

Because we're lucky enough to live close to the park, I left the house at 7:25 a.m. to jog to the start. I probably could've left later, but I wanted to check a bag with a change of shoes for after the race and I knew I would need to use the bathroom at least once. I felt pretty good on the jog over, so I my plan of trying to race still seemed like a good idea. I got in the corrals a few minutes before gun time and met up with some fellow Whippets, though I knew they would be running significantly faster than I would.  

The Race

The horn sounded and I followed a sea of humanity across the start line. I had forgotten just how crowded team points races can be--there was no hope of running tangents for the first few miles. I don't wear a Garmin so I was largely running by feel. The first mile, which travels up West Drive is relatively flat. Still, when I clocked it in 5:50 I was shocked. I knew I was running too fast since that's faster than my 5k PR pace.  

The Race Start. Photo Credit: NYRR
Mile 2 includes a minor climb towards the Reservoir (and the highest point anywhere on the drive) followed by a downhill. I slowed a little, but not too much, and settled in near a couple of Queens Distance Runners. My throat was extremely dry so at the second water stop I snagged a cup as I ran by.

Mile 3 covers the Harlem Hills and at this point I started to feel a bit lightheaded. I started to think that maybe I should back off a bit and treat the rest of the race as a tempo run. I slowed a lot, clocking a 6:28 mile. It would have been easy to slow down more, but I could tell by the clock that despite an extremely slow third mile, a PR was sill possible.

Mile 4 is one of the flatest miles on this course and I did my best to keep pushing and make up some time. My legs didn't feel tired nor did my lungs, but I was having trouble moving. I continued onto Mile 5, enjoying a stretch of downhill (Cat Hill is way more fun when you're not running up it) and was greeted by some cheering teammates just past 72nd Street.

With the final mile around the lower loop I concentrated on picking off runners in front of me. For some reason, this final mile seemed to stretch on forever, even though I knew how close I was to the finish. Finally, I hit Mile 6 and knew a PR was unlikely (though, to be honest, I couldn't remember exactly what my PR was). I tried to give it everything I had left and cross the finish in 38:16.

It turned out that I had tied my 10k PR, set last summer, and beaten my Scotland Run time from 2014 by 5 seconds. Considering my cold, I was thrilled with the time. Had I been feeling 100%, I'm sure I could have run faster so now I just need to worry about getting healthy again.

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