I survived my first official race, and it was fun!
At approx 6:30 last night I left my apt and walked the twenty blocks to the starting line in Central Park. It was a good warm-up, and I arrived a half hour early. I milled around a bit, taking in all the sporty people, bright lights, and cameras. People were jovial and friendly, excited to be in the race. NYC Olympic Bid 2012 flags were handed out, speeches made, and then the starting horn sounded.
I was somewhere in the middle of 2000 individuals running a race, with all of these people looking forward, focused on the same thing. These people had drive, a will to finish. What is even more interesting is that they were hardly competing with one another; they were each competing with themselves. How fast can they make it up the next hill? How well are they pacing themselves? Will they have enough energy for the home stretch? How is their heart rate? How is this race better/worse then the last? Each person was definitely aware of the performance of others around them, but also was focused on what they themselves could do about it.
I could feel myself being irked when people would pass me, but at the same was trying to gauge myself for fear of wearing myself out. Occasionally I would put on a little more speed and pass someone. I could feel how strong my legs were, and my heart pounding as I would reach the top of each hill. Then I would revel in the relief of gravity as I got to run down the other side of the same hill. It was exhilarating to see the finish line around the bend, and drive to it.
The results were just posted on the New York road runners site: I placed 1,312 out of 1,704 people, so although slow I was definitely not last. More importantly, my goal was to pace 12 minutes per mile, but I blew that way out of water with a pace of 9.55 minutes per mile!!! That confirms my suspicions that this would be a fast race, but did not realize I had that kind of speed in me.
I guess it just goes to show you that self perception can be skewed by comparing yourself to others. My concern about doing badly outshined my own pace goal. You have to wonder if I had just run that course on my own; would I have gone that fast? Or if I ran it with no watch and no others around, would I have gone even faster? Also, what was it in me that made me push so hard? Fear of failure or pure competitive nature?
Either way, I can’t wait for the next race. Hooray!!
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