City Parks Foundation Run for the Parks | New York, New York
4 Miles | 42:46 Minutes | 10:42 Minutes/Mile
To kick off my 25 Race Miles in 2016 Challenge, I ran a 4 mile race in Central Park last Sunday called the City Parks Foundation Run for the Parks (New York Road Runners), which benefits the City Parks Foundation. My best friend took a 5 hour bus ride up on Friday night to come run this race with me, which made my first race that much better, because running alone is pretty lonely and scary, especially in a high-anxiety and crowded situation like a 7000 people race in smack middle of Manhattan.
I have 21 Miles of running remaining to fulfill my pledge of 25 Race Miles in 2016. In the upcoming 2 months, I have 3 races for total of 10.6 Miles (a 4 Mile, 3.5 Mile, and 5K). This means I would have finished 14.6 Miles by end of June, leaving me with 10.4 Miles to spread out in the next 6 months, which comes out to 3~4 races (5Ks or 4 Milers). I have one in fall that I know I am attending, so I am free to find 2 or 3 more races!
We had to arrive at Central Park by 8AM, which was difficult with the ghastly wind chill and “feels like” temperature of 25 degrees. I thought I registered for a spring race, not a mid-winter race, but alas… Somehow, we got out of the apartment at 7AM to make it to the park via the subway, and before we knew it, we were surrounded by thousands of people in full running gear, warming up all over the park.
Due to the temperature being so low, I began to feel pretty nervous about the race and whether I would emerge from the next hour unscathed, because I could feel my muscles being completely tight from the cold. It would have been horrible to end my 25 Mile Challenge by getting injured in the 1st mile. However, by the time our corral had been ushered up to the start line, I was feeling pretty pumped, and in a “Just Do It!” mentality.
I wasn’t going to set too high an expectation for myself. My only goal was to finish the race, even if it meant walking for half of it. We began running, and almost immediately hit a hill, but all of the hills were fairly lenient, and not at all like the “hills” I had expected. There were many down-hills, so over all, all the slopes created a very entertaining run. It also didn’t hurt that we had a scenic run around Central Park, and I was able to point out various landmarks to my friend as we ran, and hold a conversation throughout the whole race.
I did much better than I expected (I thought I would be lucky to finish the race within an hour), with the 4 mile time of 42:46, which put my mile average pace at 10:42 minutes per mile. We didn’t have to stop, and managed to finish before 1400 or so people (we won’t talk about how many people we finished after).
One Day to Race Day
By Friday, there was a forecast of rain for all day on Saturday, which meant we couldn’t do the “practice run” that we were planning to do in Central Park in the morning (which I was looking forward to, because it was the first time I ran with my best friend in 2 years). We wanted to do a course preview run before checking in to NYRR office and picking up our bibs and race T-shirts in Manhattan. Fortunately, come Saturday morning, the rain held off until around lunch time, so we did manage to put in a 5 mile run, going to the waterfront and back. Though the weather was a bit chilly, it was still great weather to run in, and with the threat of rain, there weren’t too many people out on the sidewalks for us to crash into. Though we stopped for silly videos and photos along the way (what’s a good run with a best friend without silly photos??), in total, we ran 5 miles, which was definitely more than I ever ran since Cross Country in high school.
Deciphering the Race Time
Getting the 10:42 min/mile average, which translates to “11 minute mile,” means that I have gone up a corral for my next race, going from “L” (the last start group, with fastest race mile average of 11:30 min/mile) to “K.” My goal for this year is to get to a 10 minute mile, which will take me up to the “J” group. 🙂 Hopefully, I will chip away at the seconds to reach 10:30 min/mile, and by the end, reach 10 min/mile pace.
Being able to run this race, and at this pace has given me the confidence boost that I needed to “unlock” the mental block against trying to run faster and farther. I have been running on the treadmill at around 5.5~6 miles per hour pace, and 11~13 minutes per mile pace outside. Now I feel like I can try 6~6.5 miles per hour pace on the treadmill, and consistent 10~11 minutes per mile pace outside, which would help me reach my mile pace goal of 10:30 minutes per mile. So definitely excited for the upcoming few months in terms of running!
Coming Up Next…
My next race is The 11th Annual Aneurysm and AVM Awareness Walk (Event Fundraising Link) in San Francisco in mid May, which is the event that inspired me to begin running back in January. I am very excited to visit friends in California, and take part in an event that supports a nonprofit organization that does so much work for AVM survivors like myself!