Back in 1972, the New York Mini 10K was the first women’s only road race. It was founded in part by Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to officially enter and run the Boston Marathon. She was able to enter that race in 1967 only because of an oversight on the entry form — there was no place to indicate your sex, simply because people did not think it was possible for women to run marathons.
This morning in Central Park, there were 5,000 women ready to run the race that Kathrine Switzer helped to found, and she was there at the start line to cheer us on. The temperature was not high, but with 70% humidity, it was like running through a steam bath.
We started at W. 63rd St. and ran north along Central Park West for a little over a mile. My problem is that I actually line up at the start in my correct pace group, so that my first couple miles of every race is spent dodging walkers and slower runners who, for whatever reason (ignorance? poor etiquette?), line themselves up with the 7 or 8-minute milers. Don’t get me wrong, I support everyone in the sport of running (or walking), but if you’re going to run in a race with thousands of other people, learn the rules of the road and own up to your actual pace! There’s this fancy piece of technology called a time chip — it won’t start timing you until you cross the start line, so starting ahead of your pace group does NOT mean you will have a faster finish time. I am not a speedy runner myself (the winner ran twice as fast as me), but at least I have enough respect to create room for those that run faster.
Okay, moving on. We entered the park at W. 90th St. and continued heading north along the “big loop“. I love hitting Central Park’s northern hills from the clockwise direction — so much easier! I felt super great (despite sweating buckets) for the first three miles and was moving along at a decent enough pace. After about Mile 4, the humidity started taking its toll. I managed to keep up the same pace, but it felt a lot harder. Around Mile 5, I was feeling a little dizzy from losing all those electrolytes, but kept pushing on until the end.
I am pretty happy with my finish time, especially given the crazy humidity. I love running races with my friends, but for some reason, whenever I run races on my own (like today), I tend to run a little faster. I suspect it’s because I don’t need to keep up my end of a conversation and can pick it up a bit.
Either way, the finish line was a mass of sweaty people. Not a dry woman in the crowd. I felt pretty great, and I still do. A good reminder that races are a fantastic way to increase your motivation while you’re in the midst of training!
P.S. And here’s a shout out to my friend Emily, who’s currently training for her second triathlon!