January 22, 2005

First qualifier; biting cold!

I was pretty bummed last night when my race application for today's race got returned to me in the mail -- "undeliverable address". WTF? Ah. I'd written NYRR at 98th street, when they're at 89th street. Damn! Well, check in was to be at NYRR headquarters anyway, so I headed out at 7:30 this morning. The temp:

What the hell was I thinking, heading to a 7-mile race in 8-degree weather?? This was insantiy! Well, apparently the rest of the cult members NYRR runners are pretty hardcore, because there were roughly two thousand people there! I explained the situation to a couple of gruff people and eventually got a number and an electronic tag for my shoe. The lady just took my race application and check and didn't look twice. I hope it all turns out OK.

Anyway, coming out of the subway, I caught up with a guy who turned out to be a legally blind runner, and later I saw him running with his guide. He and I and another woman walked to headquarters together. Both of them were over 60; and here I was feeling like a pussy because I wasn't too sure about running seven miles in such cold weather.

Not to worry. I jogged the ten blocks from the building to the course start, took off my raingear, and tried to keep warm and stretched before the race started. As usual, NYRR had their shit together with all the professional clocks and electronic start and finish line, etc. They also had long tables set up along the route with cups of water. Also, as usual, I started in my black windbreaker and soon grew too warm for it. I took it off, wadded it up and on the first pass past the starting line (the route doubled back to make the first three miles), I took a teeny-weeny break to stash the windbreaker with m other stuff int he baggage pile and to pee. Then, back on the trail.

The first three miles were hell. Cold feet and hands, but overheated body; dodging other runners and being dodged by others. I was pretty discouraged and wasn't entirely sure I'd finish. But the small break, along with a gulp of water, really helped and after mile 4, things kind of evened out and though I was running slowly, I was doing OK. It also helped there was a cute little thing with a tight butt running just ahead of me at just about my pace. :)

Problem with water in temperatures below 20 degrees (and the course was 9 degrees by the time the race began), is that it tends to freeze. Quickly. Runners had to bash the cups of water against something hard to crush the first inch of ice to get to the water below it! I won't forget that for a long time.

As I crossed the finish line, I noted the clock read an hour 21 minutes. So, counting the delay in beginning the race that people far back experience, plus my stash-and-pee break, I think I did my usual 11-minute mile pace. I'm beginning to wonder if that will ever change; it doesn't seem to go up or down. Not that I care a lot, but its curious.

So, I'm feeling pretty proud of myself. My official race result is here.

There's a 15-K I'm doing on the 13th of February, which will be my second qualifing race.

Oh, by the way, the weather couldn't have been better...and it could have been a lot worse. By the time I finished the race, snowflakes were falling, and we now have about eight inches on the ground out there!

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