So as you know, even though the marathon didn’t go my way, I was still determined to end 2011 on a good note, race-wise…obviously running another marathon would not be realistic, but I could tear it up in some shorter races. One that really caught my eye as being the perfect end to the season, was the Ted Corbitt 15K. Yeah, a 15K in Central Park, nothing special right? That said, my 15K PR was way, way overdue for a falling. Of course, that may have been due to the fact that I only ran the race distance twice in my race lifetime. First time was back in 2006 and was my standing PR of 1:17:39, and the 2nd time in 2007 was more of a glorified training run. Plus considering I’ve run faster 15K splits in marathons, and I’ve run half-marathons at a faster pace…yeah, I think you know where I was going with this one 🙂
Based on my recent short races, looked like a 7:45 pace, or around 1:12, should be doable. There were others who were encouraging me to go for 7:30’s…and oh it would have been sweet to break 1:10…but I knew this wouldn’t be the day for it. (Did I also mention that my longest run since the marathon was only 9 miles?)
So another nicely chilly morning. Singlet, black long-sleeve…and after flip-flopping between shorts and capris, decided to go with capris. (Combo worked pretty well, though I think I may have been better off with short-sleeve and arm warmers. Lessons learned!) No subway issues heading uptown, actually got off a stop or 2 early to jog to warm up and jog to baggage. I headed to the red corral, hung with Flyers AG, JJ, EG and SC while waiting for the start. AG was “stretching” me out, while JJ and I reminisced about RnR Philly when that was the last time we were in the same start corral, and I said I totally expected him to be ahead of me again. And so the last “9th race” of the year began…
So given that I really don’t race this distance (even a 10-miler, which is pretty close in terms of distance is a pretty scarce race…last time I raced that distance was early 2009) I was a little unsure how to pace it-is this a long 10K or a short half? But I decided to employ the same strategy I do for halfs…pace most, race last 5K. And in this case (as there was no 10K marker) the plan would be to pace the first 6 miles, pick it up a little for 7, race the last 2.3. So if that meant letting people go in the beginning, so be it. EG and I ran a good part of the 1st mile together but she pulled ahead and I let her go. First mile was a little slow, but understandable given the hills, and sure enough I made up for it on the downhill mile 2. Cat Hill did a little damage on mile 3 but again, made up for it with another net downhill mile…so I was at 30:55 through 4 miles and as far as I was concerned, I was executing the plan perfectly 🙂
The 2nd trip through the West Side Hills was tougher than the first, as this saw what would be my only mile over 8 minutes. The downhill mile 6 was faster, but not as much as I would like…so time to put the plan into action and kick it up a little bit for the 7th mile. And it helped I had some rabbits to pace off of in these last coupla miles to keep me strong…my friend JW from Urban Athletics and our own running seal (both would wind up having PR’s and great races too!) Of course, mile 8, my first “racing” mile would include Cat Hill, but I think I held up pretty well, and was still passing people (and the cheers from Flyers NS and PD helped greatly! In fact, the cheering support was pretty good during this race…) Cat Hill done and 1.3 miles to go. Run hard to Engineer’s Gate, then even harder to the end. I wasn’t sure if I was still averaging 7:45’s at that point, but I knew I was on track for a BIG PR, so let’s see how big it can get. (That’s what she said.)
Just past the 9-mile marker, I caught up to and passed EG, saying a breathless “stay with me, you got this”…but I know if I was able to finish around her, then I was definitely having a good day. Not knowing how long that last .32056788 mile should take me, I tried to keep those 600-meter repeats I had done the previous week in mind and just imagine it was one of those…preferably the last one when I leave it all out there! 🙂 Made the turn onto 102nd to the finish, heard the announcer calling my name…and crossed the finish in 1:11:40, 7:42 pace. A 5:59 PR…damn, had I known it was so close, could I have gotten another second to make it a PR of 6 minutes even? 🙂 Flyer women finished 3rd and I was the 4th Flyer female…so another bronze team medal for the collection (though to quote Kara Goucher after the NYC Half “I’m tired of third…I’m ready to win one!” just kidding. I’m happy to get any placing we can get! 🙂 )
So unlike 2010, this season finale was a success instead of being anticlimactic. And considering my mileage wasn’t really high after NYC, I think this was a pretty good performance to bang out…which as long as I stay uninjured, I think bodes very well for the spring, and other seasons to come…?