Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Race Report: Queens 10k 2014

Note: this was written Sunday night after the race.

10k is not a distance I run very frequently, yet in the last six weeks or so I've run three! Today was the Queens 10k, the fourth of six borough races (now Fred Lebow, NYC, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Staten Island).

It was an interesting race in a number of different ways. First, was our journey out to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Last night I was talking to my friend Mark, who mentioned he was also doing the race and was hoping to take a cab. He proposed splitting a one to the race since I live relatively nearby. By the end of the evening, we had an additional two people along for the ride and things were looking good. More people = cheaper cab ride for everyone.

This morning, the plan started off without a hitch. I grabbed a cab from my place around 6:40, met Mark around 6:50, and we headed up to pick up Michelle and Angelique at 59 and Lex before heading into Queens.

Most of the ride to the park was uneventful but once we approached our exit, things started to get ugly. Traffic seemed backed up for probably a mile and was barely moving. We decided to continue to the next exit but one thing led to another and before we knew it, we'd missed four or five viable routes and exits and were sitting on an exit ramp with barely 15 minutes to spare before the start of the race. The situation was exacerbated by the fact that I'd picked up bibs for Michelle, Elana, Allison and Jessica and was supposed to meet them at 7:30 to distribute. Obviously, I was not there on time and at 7:45 it was looking like I might not get there at all before the race started.

Mark suggested we simply get out of the cab right there on the ramp. We were hesitant, because we couldn't see the end of the ramp from where we were and the only other option was climbing a high fence. But it was obvious we had little choice, so we paid the cabbie, exited and started running. It ended up being a really good decision because the entrance to the park was probably a tenth of a mile away.

Michelle was a little behind me and after waiting for her a bit, she waved me on because she'd already gotten her bib and I still had to find the others. I ran ahead and told Mark and Angelique that I'd meet them at the end (I had a bag to check and kept a few things in there). After much texting back and forth, I found the Sassies. Bibbed up and ready to go, we all headed toward the corrals just as the horn blew for the start of the race.

Corrals had obviously already collapsed by this point and the volunteer at my corral was being strict about it so I joined the race with Allison, two or three corrals behind. It was a crowded race, and I found myself weaving in and out of the pack in order to keep moving ahead. I ran my first two miles just under 8 minute per mile.

Somewhere between 2 and 3, though, I came across a familiar face. At least, I thought it was familiar. It was hard to tell because I only had his side profile visible to me. After a split second of debate about whether or not I should try to talk to him, I tapped his arm. He ignored it, thinking it was just collateral damage from someone making a pass. When I tapped him again, he turned his head and I saw that it was him! My friend Nick from Cornell. This was a very pleasant surprise, as I hadn't seen Nick since last September and didn't even realize he'd started running NYRR races.

I ran with Nick for the rest of the race and we were able to do some catching up. We even kept up a decent pace, with Nick maintaining an 8:40 average pace and I an 8:22. Remember, this was only a few seconds slower than my pace last week and I was talking the whole time. I ran just under 52 minutes but was actually much more okay with it than I was last week because the circumstances were totally different. If I can maintain that pace while having conversations almost the whole time, I'm certain I have a better race in me than last week's.

After the race, I met up with Amortya (who ran an average pace under 7 minutes per mile for the first time!) and the Sassies (Elana, Michelle, Jessica, Allison), Nick, Mark, Angelique and Amortya's friends Alice and Aron. Nick, Mark, Angelique, Elana and Michelle left after the race but the rest of us traveled a short distance to Flushing for dim sum. It was a tasty, tasty morning.

Thanks for the pic, Michelle!

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