I’ve been in a bit of a funk since the NYC Marathon and have not blogged at all. The winter was really rough and I did a lot of eating (of the sumo wrestler variety) and sitting on the couch. I did manage to drag myself out to end the year with a 5 mile Turkey Trot and back to back half marathons on December 13 and 14 … craziness. The first half of 2015 consisted of: a January 1st Hangover 5 Miler; the Philadelphia Love Run; the Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 15K (great race); the Brooklyn Half Marathon; the Boston Run to Remember Half Marathon; the Long Island Corporate Fun Run 5K; and today’s Oakley Mini 10K.
This was my third Oakley 10K and this race continues to kick my behind. This baffles me because a portion of the race is outside of the hellish Central Park and the course runs counter to the really steep hills. As always the beginning of the race was extremely crowded and congested, which limited my pace. I can’t say I was too bothered by the slow pace though because it was so hot that I knew that I should ease into this race. But what did bother me was the chick who pitched her bony elbow into my left boob as we were entering Central Park. She didn’t even look over to see if she had impaled me. Ugh!!! And less than a mile later, I almost took an elbow to the face by some 7 foot Amazon woman. I don’t recall having these problems when running in a mixed gender field.
This race got hotter and hotter as it progressed. I stopped at most of the water stations to be on the safe side. However, I felt as though the water stations were short. By the time I would merge over to grab water the stations were over. I had to back track to get the water at one of the stations because I had completely passed it. They did have some water sprinklers out there, which was great. What they did not have on the course was Gatorade. What??? Here I am sweating buckets and they didn’t have even one station with some electrolytes. What was the meaning of that? All I knew was that they had better have some Gatorade at the finish or else there was going to be consequences and repercussions. At mile 5, I had visions of me turning over the water table at the finish after realizing that there was no Gatorade (much like Jesus when he flipped out on the money changers in the temple).
Luckily for them, they broke out the Gatorade at the end of the race. Now, I don’t mean to sound completely negative concerning this race. I do like it … or maybe I just like the idea of it as it is an all women’s race that provides the participants with nice tanks and medals.
Of all the race distances, I feel like the 10K is the most tricky. I don’t feel as though I have the luxury of taking my time as I would in an endurance race but at the same time it’s 6.2 miles, which is significant mileage to be running at a fast pace. Today’s time of 1:09:02 is not my worst 10K time. That honor goes to the 2014 Oakley Mini 10K.
Aahh, the Mini 10K. I had been looking forward to this race. It was a PR just waiting to happen. First of all, I have to make clear that there is nothing mini about the race. It’s a full out 10K, yes 6.2 miles. So why is it called a “mini” 10? Beats me. The only thing that I’ve been able to attribute the name to is the fact that it was the first all women’s race. And maybe they thought calling a women’s race a “mini” was fitting back in 1972. So back to me. Since the race started outside of the wretched Central Park and ran along the flatter Central Park West for a mile and a half, this was my chance to make up some time by avoiding a couple of those nasty hills.
As I expected the first couple of miles were great. My only gripe was the congestion. There was a lot of running around others and clipping of heels. But due to the flat terrain, I was still able to make good time. By the time I hit the 3.1 mile mark, I had completed some hills and was feeling good. I heard a spectator yell, “You’re doing great, you’ve got great form!” Despite the fact that there were probably 30 other runners around me, I assumed he was talking to me because hey, I was looking good. My Garmin was telling me that I was not only on track to PR but to run a sub one (complete the race in under an hour). Yeah baby, it was Chariots of Fire. I could hear the music playing in my head … because you didn’t really think it was on my iPod? Today was my day.
Well I’m not exactly sure when the wheels fell off but FALL OFF THEY DID. I remember trudging up a hill at around mile 4.5 and a runner from Black Girls Run was passing me. I didn’t know her but she encouragingly rested her hand on my back for a moment. I had a Annapolis flashback and knew things were not looking good and neither was I.
I imagine this is how I looked.
Not only was I tired and mad at the hills in the wretched park but I started to feel hunger pangs. I was reminded that all I had eaten were two Milano cookies that I had retrieved from my purse on my way to the race. I know, I know. I had done my homework so I knew that the next and last water station was coming up at mile 5. I figured I’d stop, get a decent drink of water and blast out the last mile.
Mile 5 seemed to take forever to come but sure enough the trusty water station was not far off. I walked through and took a pretty good drink of water. I managed to get going again but it was tough. The hills just seemed to keep coming and the temperature was heating up. I wasn’t even finding any comfort in my playlist. In fact, I wasn’t even paying any attention to the music I was just focused on getting through the run. The last time I recall looking at my watch was at mile 5.8. Because I remember thinking, “Seriously, I’m not at mile 6 yet?”
Now this is where things started to get fuzzy for me. I don’t recall much of the last quarter mile of the race. I can tell by my Garmin readout that I stopped running. I really thought I ran the entire race. One thing that I have learned is that running is a massive mind game. Once you start thinking you are done, it’s over. My Garmin has been measuring the Central Park 10Ks at 6.39 miles and so I knew I was going to have to run further than the 6.2 reflected on my watch. This usually isn’t a problem but I just wasn’t up for it on this day. According to Garmin, at 1:01:25 (1 hour, 1 minute and 25 seconds) I was doing a 18:04 minute mile pace and at 1:02:30 I was at 21:30 … What you takin’ ’bout Willis? I didn’t even know it was possible to walk that slow. I must have been meandering around Central Park picking dandelions. If anyone has video of me, let me know because I want to know what I was doing. By 1:03:31 (my official race time) my pace had increased to 14:33. I do remember that part. The finish line suddenly appeared, like a mirage, and I sprinted to the finish. Well at least I thought I was sprinting at the time. I now see that it was more like a super slow trot. I saw what seemed to be two timing strips on the ground and couldn’t figure out which one constituted the finish. I believe I went with the second one to be safe and then stopped abruptly after I crossed it. That’s when I started swaying and felt myself going down.
The next thing I recall, my feet were not on the ground. I was being carried and put in a wheelchair. I heard BGR angel Lisa’s voice calling my name. She later told me that she asked me what happened and I said, “Woo-woo-woosy.” For some reason that’s really funny to me now. I don’t really remember that but I do recall hearing her yell, “Mama Rose!!!” The next thing I know I’m in the medical tent and I heard another one of my BGR sister’s voices. She was telling the medical personnel that she was my family. It was the BGR Long Island member affectionately known as Mama Rose. She and her daughter Shari were putting ice packs all over me. Turns out I was burning up. The medic told me that my blood pressure was good (I didn’t even know that he had taken it) and that I had fainted. Then he made me drink Gatorade. It was purple and tasty. I have to add that one to my repertoire. It was Riptide something or the other. Mama Rose never left my side. She and Shari removed my hat and shoes and made sure the industrial sized fan was pointed right at me. I was feeling much better and figured it was time to leave and so Mama Rose and the medic helped me up. That was short lived. I just couldn’t get my balance. So back into the wheelchair for me. At one point the medic said, “I think you dropped your medal” and handed it to me. I have no idea when that medal first came into my possession but I was really glad to have it. I’m a finisher!!!
My second attempt at walking went a lot better. I was still a little shaky but was determined to get out of the tent. I left Mama Rose and Shari assisting other family members and went to meet the rest of the BGR Long Island crew. Shout out to BGR, they were right outside the tent and I was thankful to stand around with them for a little while I got my bearings.
And a special shout out to the race medics for making sure I didn’t hit the ground. They must have seen the the slow motion disaster coming down the stretch. As unfortunate and embarrassing as this incident was, I was glad to learn a few lessons. Never race without being properly fueled, hydrated and rested. I used to do my training runs on empty but have been working on incorporating breakfast for my longer morning weekend runs. Also, since duty called the night before the race, I was up much later than I should have been, especially since I had run a 5K the night before that. In retrospect, I should have scrapped my personal record plans and just enjoyed the race at an easier pace.
I would love to link my Garmin Connect analysis of the this race but cannot because I didn’t turn the watch off until I got home and had been there for a couple of hours. And the readout leaves a breadcrumb trail right to my front door (can’t encourage the stalkers). Yeah, you know things are bad when you don’t stop your watch at the finish line.