While getting back into shape, I've pinned on a number and run a few "races" the last 2 weeks. Last week was mostly so I'd get some speed work in. Look, I know I'm not in shape. No where near it. I had also just returned from my winter hiking trip which covered about 22 miles and 5000' or so of ascending and descending a couple of New England mountains that were frozen and snow covered, in 2 days.
Last week was a 10k that I ran with my pals Ishii and Rock. It actually went much better than I expected. 51:21 which is about 8:15 pace. So semi-tempo for right now.
This week however, oh this week was something special indeed. I've mentioned running cross country in Van Cortlandt park about a million times here. Well, every year, they end the season with a gift to all of us dirt devils: The Pete McArdle Cross Country Classic. Now in it's 49th year, this 15k race takes us on 3 lovely loops of the 5k course.
There are a few reasons I wanted to do this race:
1. I love it. It's crazy.
2. I really really really like 15k as a distance and it's just not a distance that's run often.
3. 15k is a nice build up for me milage wise. I don't think I've run even close to this far in months.
4. It started at 11:30 am
Now if this course isn't hard enough just on it's own, Mother Nature decided to pin a number on and come along this year. It was pouring off and on. Like sideways pouring. And it was sideways pouring because there was wind gusting up to about 30MPH.
The course is 3 loops, half hills in the woods, half flat flat flat straightaways.
Due to construction in the park, the start this year was a bit different. Instead of a nice fast straight on a lovely groomed path, we ran straight across a soggy soggy, like geese swimming in the grass soggy field. This wasn't too bad since once we hit that flat flat flat straightway, we were smacked in the face with the 30mph wind. It was relentless.
There's a lovely down hill that takes us out of the woods to the flats. Usually I look forward to this. I'm a good downhill runner and look forward to making up some time in the flats.
I was climbing the hills faster than I was running the flats. It was so strong you couldn't hear the person next to you, it was pulling drool out of my mouth. Such a good look. There was a reprieve for maybe a quarter mile leading back to the woods.
All things considered, I felt pretty good. I ran consistently though not fast AT ALL (1:23:40). Like 10 minutes slower than I've run 15k. Ok, yes, I know I'm not in shape, but times here were soft (first woman 1:14) though I do not think for lack of trying. I now feel like I had my ass seriously kicked.
In the end, it's all about who shows up. And today, not a lot of people showed up but the 165 who did earned their stripes. Holy crap, and those volunteers, oh man, what a great group. And or course a special thanks to Loren and Rayk who came out and did their own run while we were racing and cheered us all on.
My showing up was good for 2nd in my age group and 10th woman over all.
Lucky for me, I get to do the distance again next week, though in Central Park. That will be a cake walk compared to today.
Take a look at some photos of the race.