Sliding into a new PR!! (My Gridiron Classic 4M race report)

Well, on Wednesday I started feeling a tickle in my throat and fighting a cough. Thursday it seemed a little like it might go away, but no go. So Friday I invested in some Nyquil and Dayquil. Got some good sleep Friday night and felt good yesterday…then last night was awakened from a Nyquil coma a couple of hours after falling asleep and never really felt oriented after that. Sleep, yes, but even when I woke up I had that head swimming feeling whenever I moved my head.

So I had no clue what the Gridiron was going to bring. Honestly I thought about just starting it and then leaving – I could get my Marathon Qualifier in (what they do when they know you participated but they get no finish time for you) and come home to rest. But my pride wouldn’t let me do that. I decided to give it what I had to give and see what happened.

Semi-skated to the porta-johns when I got there, then chatted with running club teammates for a while and cheered as one of our women threw the football for 69 yards!!! (Yep, she beat some of the MEN participating in the football throw.) Finally decided to strip to race gear, drop off the bag, and head to my purple (slowest – but hey, I’m doing it!) corral.

THAT was an adventure. The main road was mostly ok ~ we had been warned to be careful of the edges, especially the inside edges as there was some black ice there. The park service had done as good a job as they could clearing the main roads, but the rain yesterday and above freezing temps caused some melting that made the areas next to the snowbanks pretty slippery. But the inner paths to GET to the main roads were a nightmare! I ended up going the long way around just to avoid skating (and probably falling) over some ice that pre-rain probably would have been walkable but the rain had washed away the slight bumps that would help with traction so it was like a rough skating rink – at least an inch or more thick in places.

Finally made it to my corral and chatted with some women around me – two of whom are just coming back from injuries. At around 9:07 we started moving, but we had no clue if it was the corral collapse or if the race had started. We got about halfway to the starting line and saw that yes, it had started but because the speakers were set up facing the starting line, we didn’t hear anything. NABD as we were shuffling along at that point.

I got to the starting line, hit my Garmin and headed off. Once I got going, I felt amazingly good and was VERY proud that I started and completed a running interval on Cat Hill. I managed to keep up a good running pace for the first mile and a half or so, and then the fatigue of this cold or whatever it is started to set in and I started walking a little more. I also did have in mind that I’d like to finish strong if possible, so conserving was a smart move. By this point, I was thinking “finish” and that just finishing would be a victory.

I opted for the Packer’s chute – happened to be on the inner side of the course anyway, so that worked out. (In a fit of cuteness, they divided the course on the 102nd St. transverse and you were to pick your favorite team. I went with the political statement of not supporting a team captained by someone multiply accused of sexual assault, but that’s neither here nor there.)

Once I hit the Delacorte Theatre, I knew I could finish, and decided to push. I was going along at a good clip and passed some running club teammates who cheered me on (and later said I looked really strong). I could see the finish line and wanted to run all the way in, but I started my push slightly too early, and the hill we had to run up messed with my mind. I opted to walk for a few yards before running to the line just so I wouldn’t trip and fall, which felt like a possibility. I did cross the line running.

Per my Garmin, I covered 4.42 miles in 47:46 – an average pace of 10:49 . I’m willing to bet that mileage is close to accurate because I avoided the icy tangents like the plague.

My official time per NYRR was 47:32 – which was a 13 second PR over my Jingle Jog performance which gave me a baseline of 47:45! Since they base their time off the assumption that you hit all the tangents, their pace for me was slower (11:53), but that’s ok. It lowered my bib pace by 3 seconds. Woo!

Overall I felt good about it. I really couldn’t have asked my body to do much more than it did today. I’ll look forward to the next race – the Al Gordon Classic – which is 4 miles over the same course as the Jingle Jog. We’ll see what I can do then.

But 13 second PR with icy tangents and fighting a cold? I’ll take it!

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