Friday, May 28, 2010

A solid race with sweet rewards.

I have a major crush on Van Cortland Park and it's namesake track club. VCP lies in the heart of the Bronx, not far from the beautiful, rolling hills of Riverdale and just up Broadway from Marble Hill- home of NYC's only Target. I have only fond memories of Van Cortlandt park including a handful of reasonably priced trail races from 5K to 15K. The Inwood Hill Runners often end Saturday long runs here, and we've run through mud, sun and knee deep snow.

When I heard about the VCP summer series this year, I decided I was NOT going to miss them this year. I recruited a friend who has some trail racing aspirations (Pikes Peak anyone?) and the usual Inwood crew came out for the event as well.

With lightning flashing and dark clouds overhead, the pre-race area had a silly and fun feel to it. Were we really going to run through this storm? As it turns out, there were a few drops of rain during the race, but hardly a storm.

I know the VCP course pretty well, in fact the last race I did there was 3 loops of it! So I knew to expect a fast mi 1, tough mi 2, but the reward would be a downhill and flat mi 3. I took off at a good clip along the flats and cruised into the woods feeling strong. Mi 1 went by at 7:11, right on track. I was breathing hard, but knew that I could handle the hills on mi 2 and just had to keep pushing. I used my arms to push up those hills and managed to pass quite a few people on the way up. It felt so good to be strong on those uphills and just fly downhill with reckless abandon. :) Mi 2 was 8:36..a bit slower than I'd like, but good nonetheless. Mi 3 came along as promised, downhill (with the exception of a spicy little hill at 2.5mi due to course change because of construction) followed by the flats. The flats are probably the hardest part of the race for me. Once we hit the flats, there was a woman at my side as a course marshall shouted "800m to go!" As if that were our indicator to sprint it out. He also mentioned we were the 5th and 6th females. The woman next to me waved her hand in front of us and said "all yours.." as if she wanted me to take off. I told her it was way too early for that and we gasped and chatted for a second before running side by side for the next 650m. I decided with ~150m to go to make a little "move" since I thought 5th place female sounded way better than 6th. She didn't match my move so I just turned on the jets and flew into the finish at a 5:55 pace. Wow! I have to admit, I ran that last 150m for one of my kids at work, I told myself "this is for XX who will never be able to run" because he has a degenerative neurological condition. Thanks lil buddy. Mi 3 was 7:08. Cha-ching! :)

The best part was cheering in my friends and teammates and even a fellow co-worker who came out! My friend's sister ran so hard that she ran past the finish and up the stairs to puke in private. I'm not sure if she did or not, but I'm proud either way. I let out a few deep burps myself at the finish and thought for a second that I'd lose my pre-race snack, but I pulled it together.

As promised, there were Carrot Muffins and pies for those who placed in their age groups and overall. Inwood Hill runners represented well with 3 carrot muffins for a 2nd place win by TE in her AG and 2nd and 3rd place wins by NM and I in ours. Man was that a delicious muffin. Victory is sweet.

3.1 mi
23:08 watch time, but more likely 23:25 or so because I started it late.
Elevation Profile:

5th female overall, 3rd place in 25-29 AG.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad that storm never materialized. The light rain was fun, but those hills would have been tricky if they were too wet.