Saturday, January 10, 2009

Fred Lebow Classic 5M

This race wasn't supposed to be anything special. Like I've said earlier, I only signed-up to continue running over the holiday season. I didn't have any goal times in mind. But somehow this was a recipe for success. Not only did I set a personal record (PR), but also recorded my fastest split time to date.

There was some question as to whether this race would actually take place - a snowstorm was predicted to hit NYC early Saturday morning. I'll admit, a tiny part of me secretly hoped the race would be cancelled. I mean, most sane people do not wish to get up at 6 AM on a Saturday morning. But the weather pattern changed and the snow storm was later predicted to hit Saturday afternoon. The race was on.

At 6 AM, I was in my pajamas checking the weather again, just to be sure. I tried to ignore the fact that it only felt like 13 degrees outside. Nobody likes bad news in the morning. I dressed in multiple layers, ate a banana with peanut butter and stretched my lower body. I was out the door at 7 AM.

I made it to the starting line about fifteen minutes too early and tried to keep warm with butt-kicks and knee-highs. At 7:45 AM, the announcer asked runners to report to their assigned corrals, which were determined by runner's most recent average split time. My previous average split time had been a PR (08:08 per mile), so I stood at the back of the corral. I knew my splits wouldn't be as fast for this race.

At 8 AM, we were off! My legs tingled as I suddenly demanded they start moving. The first mile always goes by quickly; for me, my body only runs on adrenaline. But still, I couldn't believe it when I clicked my watch to start the time for the next mile: I ran that first mile in 08:06?! I expected the times to drastically increase from there.

During the second mile, I realized my face was frozen. I couldn't feel my nose running. Gross. But otherwise I felt good; cold, but good. This was the first race I've ever run with my iPod (as it just became legal for runners to do this). I was enjoying the music and still passing people. I passed the sign for the end of mile two and clicked my watch for the next split. I couldn't believe it! I ran mile two in 07:37?! I had never clocked a split time that fast!

During mile three, my legs started to get heavy. My hands were frozen solid - these new running gloves were not living up to my expectations. Runners, including myself, had settled into their pace. Some runners started walking. But I still managed to finish the third mile in 07:45.

By mile four, I was frozen. I started shaking my arms and hands in attempts to get the blood flowing again; it did so, but not happily. My body was tired. The music was helping, but I needed to focus on something else. Last night, Mike unexpectedly said he wanted to come watch me race. Even though I told him to sleep-in since I wasn't going to do that well, he said he wanted to see me. I started looking for him along the course. Mile four was finished in 8:06.

Last mile. I'm usually running on fumes during the last mile. Even though my legs were heavy and my arms and face were frozen, my breathing felt good. I flipped my iPod to "I Run For Life" by Melissa Etheridge - the song that gets me through many a tough mile. I started recognizing the landmarks on my right - the Met, the Guggenheim - I knew I was close to the finish line.

I continued to watch for Mike; he would be distinguishable by his NY Giants hat with the pom-pom. Then I saw the finish line did something I've never had the energy to do at the end of a race - I sprinted to the finish line. I sprinted so fast, I didn't even see Mike. I looked at my watch, I ran the last mile in 07:49. I finished in under 40 minutes. To my right, I spotted a very cold Mike and exclaimed, "I just ran the fastest race in my life!!!". Despite my frozen face, I couldn't stop smiling.

On the walk home, we stopped at The Corner Market, my favorite bagel shop on 88th, to pick-up bagels for breakfast. Back at the apartment, Mike helped me stretch out my hamstrings, as my legs were still partially frozen. Then I enjoyed a well deserved whole-wheat everything bagel with peanut butter.

Official results were posted later in the morning and even more good news awaited me: I finished 12th in my age group (females aged 20 to 24). Here is the official break-down:

Finish Time: 39 minutes 27 seconds (PR)
Average Split Time: 7 minutes 53 seconds (PR)
Age Place: 12 out of 120
Gender Place: 158 out of 1434
Overall Place: 869 out of 3224

It's been a successful week; a great way to start out a new year.


  1. awesome. some race and what a run. And Mike did his part by watching. good man............
    love you Grammie

  2. Great job, Honey! Mum and Dad are proud of you!!!


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