In case you didn't know this about me, I'm a Pediatric Physical Therapist and I work with children with developmental disabilities at a school run by YAI. YAI is an amazing, wonderful organization that provides services to people with disabilities throughout the life span. I really love working for them and am proud to be a part of their annual fundraiser, the Central Park Challenge. They hold a 5K run, a 3K walk and all sorts of other fun family activities every year in CP to raise money for the organization which is a non-profit. I've run 3 years in a row now and walked away with some sort of trophy/plaque every time so there's a little pressure to run well. Luckily we had a great day today with perfect weather and even though I haven't been training for the run, I managed to keep the streak alive!
The course is simple, two loops of the park drive along the bottom of the park. The start is by Tavern and the finish is on the 72nd st transverse. You run counterclockwise. At the start I took off quickly to push ahead of the dopes who hopped in the front but didn't belong and I rode the first downhill at a 6:10 pace until I had some space. I slowed to a surprisingly easy 6:40 pace, shocking myself at how casual it felt. Ahh, the first mile euphoria. I forced myself to stay steady and let a bunch of "sprint and die" folks pass me. We had 2.5 miles ahead and I was going to run a smart race. I stayed steady, clocking mile 1 at 6:51 and mile 2 at 6:49. "Whose Legs are these anyway?" I started to think. It felt really great and I let myself go at the mile 2 marker to start picking people off that had flown by earlier or just looked like a threat to my title. I pushed hard and clocked mile 3 in 6:46 and began sprinting to the finish which was uphill. My watch said 20:59 but the race results have me at 21 flat because the timing mats were past the finish. Either way I was really happy to break my previous PR and redeem myself after a crappy race last year in some evil humidity. I know that if I try a flat 5K in the future I can definitely break 21:00, even on little training.
I stuck around the post race and walk festival to collect my trophy because even though I didn't place in my age group, I was the first female YAI staff member to cross the line. Last year I was 2nd in my AG, but the field was definitely larger and more competitive this year, but that is a great thing for the CPC to have more folks running. I'll add this sweet little (ha! ) trophy to my collection now, a collection that is slowly growing as I race more and more outside of NYRR events and outside of the city.
The countdown and the taper are underway this week with the Great Chesapeake Bay Bridge Swim just 6 days away! I've turned a corner and finally feel like I'm getting over my cold and my appetite is back after a week of feeling stuffed up and like my tastebuds were asleep. Time to fill up on lots of good food and hydrate well. The water in the Chesapeake is looking warm and with a heat wave coming this week, I am closer and closer to just wearing my regular swimsuit and not even going with the swimskin. I'd be happy in just my suit, at least it won't chafe my neck!