In April, after a long run, I called my mom, and mentioned that I had been wanting to run in the NY Mini for a few years - maybe this was the year it could happen? And then she asked, "Do you think I could do it too?" She had run a 5 mile race in March, so yes, I thought she would be ready to make her 10k debut by June.
The Mini is historic enough to begin with - the first women's only race, established in 1972, and founded to get women into running. But this year was the 40th running of it, and because of the recent passing of 5 time Mini winner and 9 time NYC Marathon winner Grete Weitz, a race to remember Grete. Over 5,000 were registered for this event, which was going to not only be my mom's longest race ever, but her largest too.
For the life of me, I could not sleep Friday night. This never happens the night before the race. Tossing and turning, I could hear the pouring rain outside my aunt's house, and started to worry. I am fine running in heavy rain, relish it even, but my mom does not. Would she be okay? Was the race even going to happen if there was a thunderstorm? Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, and I could not fall back asleep and the 5:15 wake up call happened way too soon. We hoped and hoped that the rain would stop by the time we got to the city (we were staying an hour away), and by the time we had eaten breakfast, the rain had stopped. And we arrived in the city, dry and ready to go.
As we approached the park, the excitement began to build as we saw more runners head toward the start.
And then, I even saw Kathrine Switzer run by, warming up! When we got closer to the start, and she was talking to a group of people. When we saw her in Boston, I told her that my mom would be making her 10k debut at the Mini, and that Kathrine would be there. And since Kathrine has a good memory, she remembered that, and greeted us like old friends. I was so happy that my mom could meet her, not as my mom, but as a fellow runner.
Before we knew it, it was time to head to our respective corrals, so we hugged goodbye and prepared for the start. There were a bunch of nice tributes to Grete Weitz, from Mary Wittenberg (NYRR President), Katherine Switzer, and even Deena Kastor - so cool to see her up close! And then, the gun went off.
It was almost instantaneous, as soon as I took off, I knew it wasn't my day. it was very hot and humid, and things just didn't feel right. I went through the first mile in 7:07, slower than anticipated, but I wanted to attribute it to the crowds. But then hit 14:20 for mile 2, and I just felt like I had no energy to pick it up. I just felt awful - I don't think I've ever felt that crummy during a race, especially so early in the race. Just zapped. I hit the 5k in 22:30 and at that point, knew I wasn't going to PR. Rather than getting too down, I just decided to hang out, run the best I could, and enjoy the experience of running through Central Park, my first time doing so. Once I did that, the miles clicked off a little easier. The guys at the mile markers were great cheerleaders, they were awesome and very encouraging. And seeing mile 5 go by, it was encouraging to know just 1.2 remained.
I was tired, and ready to finish. I was so excited to see the finish line. And you know, I decided to just run happy, and threw my hands in the air as I finished.
Not a PR, and for the first time since I started in fall 2008, I did not PR. It was a bummer for a little bit, but yo
u know, you can't PR every time, and it was bound to happen at some point. There is still room for improvement, I know that. And I was much happier to see some of my statistics:
19/300 in AG (last race in the 18-24 category!)
Yay! That is definitely something to be proud of, and when I was a little bummed out of the no PR, it was how I did overall that gave me a lift. And as far as the greater joy…
After I finished, I met up with my dad and we waited for my mom. Based on her training and performance in other races, I estimated she would finish around 1:05. It was so great to watch her come in and cheer for her!
1:04:54! She broke all of her expected goals, it was amazing! Talk about an amazing time for a 10k debut especially at age XX (I'll keep her secret)!
It was a great mother daughter day (and day with Dad too, who was an awesome navigator getting into the city and terrific spectator). I was very proud to watch my mom - she has only been running for just over a year.
We were proud to wear our medals and shirts. It was a great day all around. Lots of good family time, and memories that will last a long time. That was what the day was about.
And I will certainly seek revenge in Central Park at the 2012 NYC Marathon - watch out!