she’s fire burning, fire burning on the race course (run for central park 4m report)

This post title has been brought to you by one of quite a few songs that rocked the summer of 2009…

So…originally the Central Park Conservancy Run for Central Park 4-miler wasn’t really on my radar.  Yep, it’s a club points race and being a good little Flyer, I should run it, but I had Hoboken on my agenda earlier in the week and felt my chances were better with a flat 5K than a hilly 4-miler.  But with Tuesday being an inferno, I thought this race could be a good backup in case I have to dial back the effort, or if the organizers made Tuesday a fun run.  But you know how Tuesday went-seconds from a PR in non-ideal conditions with me not feeling like it was an all-out effort.  So I took a coupla days to decide if my legs felt OK enough to give it another go on Saturday…and by Thursday I decided they did and I was gonna go for it.  (Oh and I did have a coupla Blue Moons the night before…I may have to have one the night before all my short races!)

So Saturday’s conditions-low 70s, low humidity were like a dream compared to Tuesday…good sign #1.  Another good sign was that I got a red bib for this race!  When I am normally yellow for points races.  Red hot baby…i’m on FIRE!  🙂  Warmed up for a mile or so to the park, felt good to go.  Headed to my corral and of course found other teammates to chat and pass the time to the start with.  (And a blog reader was lined up next to me too-hi, H!) Until the pre-race announcements came on.  And I had to laugh…when Mary Wittenberg sounded disappointed that we weren’t sounding “more excited” to be out there that morning…OMG, she sounded like one of my bosses this past week!  Then the usual…national anthem, final pre-race announcements, starting horn!

Mile 1-little crowded in the beginning, but opened up by the time we got to…yep, Cat Hill.  Flyer JS and I were running together for this first part (she said beforehand that she was gonna try and stick with me this time!)…then GW passed by right before the hill…I don’t know why, but I thought I could latch onto him…which lasted all of 5-10 seconds.  But it did sorta help me power up the hill a little more.  Was expecting this mile to be somewhere in the 7:20’s-7:30’s, based on the effort I felt I was putting in.  But that was not to be-this mile was 7:17.  I actually said out loud “holy shit” when I saw that.  That’s a time I expect more to see near the end of a race, or on a flat/downhill.  But going up Cat Hill?  No way.  Was it legit, or is this gonna come back and bite me in a mile or 2?

Mile 2-nice flat/sorta downhill section…like the last mile of the Club Champs 5-miler.  BC passed by me and we sorta paced off each other for the remainder of this mile.  Definitely helped, and was still feeling good (or as good as you can feel while running a race!)  This mile split was another shock-7:02.  I’ve run this course several times, so I knew the mile markers were right…maybe it was just my day to be on fire!  Fire burning, fire burning on the dance floor race course… 🙂 A PR was not just a possiblity, but could be a reality at this point as long as I don’t screw up the next 2 miles.  But still, I felt in a way, I was in a whole other world today….whole different level than where I normally am…

Mile 3-the West Side Hills.  Always my weakest mile in these 4-mile races.  I kept saying to myself “attack, attack, attack.  maintain, maintain, maintain.”  This was definitely not the time to make my move…just take one hill at a time to get through this mile.  With about one hill to go, I passed BC but he stayed right behind me til around the end of this mile when I went on ahead for good…he said something like “you don’t have to wait for me” and I said to him “dude, this mile is a bitch for me too!”  Relieved to see the water station near west 86th in the distance and the mile marker…this mile was 7:32-the fastest I have ever done this mile, I think, but still a little weaker than ideal…

Mile 4-definitely still on PR pace through 3, with one fast mile to go, one I know I can push it on.  However there was another number in mind that I never thought could be a possibility…could I go under 29 minutes?  I didn’t feel like doing the math in my head, but just give this mile everything and whatever happens, happens.  Flyer SH was cheering just past 86th…”great job!! you’re doing this, girl!”  Flew down the hill and time to take on the last half-mile.  A guy in a Front Runners singlet who was running near me was really trying to encourage me through this stretch (ahhh…why are all the good men taken or…)  I could see the turn for home and knew it wasn’t that much longer.  KG was cheering and yelling out form tips to me just as I turned onto 72nd…from there, I gave it everything I had til I hit the finish line!!  (if Mr. Garmin was to be believed, that last bit on 72nd was at a sub-6 pace!)  And I ran my fastest mile in a Central Park race-6:52!  (wow, how do you sub-3 marathon peeps do that for 26.2 miles?  that took so much out of me for 1 mile… 🙂 )

Final time-28:43, 7:10 pace…PR by 52 seconds!!  (And new best pace for NYRR races…yayyyy!!)  And if that wasn’t enough, I was the 4th Flyer female…always such an honor to score for the team in points races!  Yeah, I know some of our faster women were either injured or away or perhaps having an “off” day, but I’m still taking it!! 🙂  Another tidbit-if I were actually 35 already…I would have been in the coveted top 10 in my age group!  One thing to look forward to about “aging up” in 2 months?

So caught up with Flyers and other friends afterwards…seemingly everyone I talked to was in good spirits, lotsa Flyer PRs up in there…including but not limited to GW, Lam, EF, DB, BC (guessed pacing off each other helped us both!), AK, CK, CO, HM (and hers was right after preps for a Flyer event!)  Needless to say, I was definitely walking on air after this one, and the good vibes followed me to a fun scavenger hunt that the Flyers had…I teamed up with CK and BC (and being dubbed the most competitive team of all!) and we had a great time running around the park in search of clues (yes we were still running, good thing none of us took off our racing shoes!)  We placed third with a good effort, and enjoyed a picnic after that.  Following the picnic, a couple of us toasted our PRs with beer…and me and another one did even later with margaritas!!  Fun day!

So-was Saturday a fluke or a breakthrough?  I don’t know, but given the the frustrations I had racing last year during my training for Chicago, it makes me appreciate days like this even more…as you never know if the next one will be amazing or heartbreaking.  And this was the first race that had any similarity to my glory days of 2009.  Next race for me will be Club Champs and I’ll see if I can repeat the magic from Saturday there…but in the meantime, keepin’ on keepin’ on towards NYCM


One thought on “she’s fire burning, fire burning on the race course (run for central park 4m report)

  1. Congrats on your PR! WTG considering you just raced a few days earlier!
    Awesome to see you running so well! Repeat PR performance at Club Champs? Let’s do it =)

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