Women’s only races have a special spirit to them. Yesterday I ran my 4th women’s only race, the NYRR Mini 10k and had a blast! This race is especially cool because the elite runners (as in women who qualify for the Olympics and/or win marathons) run with us. I even got their autographs post-race.
The special thing about women’s only races is the particularly strong camaraderie and genuine support that all the women have for each during the race. So many mothers/daughters, sisters, and best friends come out to run this race – many for the first time, and many for the 15th+ time. This original women’s only race celebrated its 45th year yesterday, and I was able to celebrate it with my very own twin sister, Christine, who was running her very first race and very first 10k at the same time! After I finished my race, I headed back to the course (on the sidelines this time) to see her finish.
The day started out great. The temperatures were still breezy when we got to the subway. Thankfully, MTA was nice this weekend and didn’t schedule any changes to the D line. There were huge crowds of runners when we got off at Columbus Circle around 7:25AM and the excitement was already running high in Central Park. Everyone was jogging over to the baggage check or corrals or doing some stretching to shake the nerves out of the way. I did a light jog to the ‘J’ corral and stretched a bit before heading in. I was going to start the race in my sister’s corral, instead of my preassigned ‘D’ corral, to give her some last minute support before the start.
Since we were towards the back of the pack (the corrals are ordered alphabetically), we didn’t start until 8:07. NYRR has implemented staggered starting this year so it was actually not as crowded as it was last year. Although there were still a lot of runners, I still had space to run.
The race started on West 61st and Central Park West. The course goes up on Central Park West for about 1.5 miles until West 91st when we turn into the park. We run along the outer loop of the park going clockwise until the finish at West 67th Street and West Park Drive. I was actually nervous going into this race (or every race for that matter.) I wasn’t going to run for time but I didn’t want to finish in more than an hour. My knees were experiencing some pain and my ankle still had the persistent pain in it. The pains were nothing too serious. I just need to stretch, strengthen my muscles, and foam roll more. Throughout the race I kept telling myself to ignore the pain and just finish the race. The humidity was slowly creeping up and I didn’t want to caught running at its peak.
I surprised myself by finishing in 51:50 which is about a 8:21 pace. It was a hard race but I’m super glad I did it. After getting my medal, flower, and post race food, I headed to the sidelines to find my sister and cheer her on. I saw her and cheered her on to the finish. She finished in 1:11:36 which was super since it was her first one. She told me later that she ran consistently for the longer distance during the race (3 straight continuous miles) and only walked a teeny tiny bit.
She did well and treated herself to a beautiful plate of french fries and Texan burger at our new favorite local diner, a plan she had made once she signed up for the race last week. I didn’t get to see how great this burger was since I went to volunteer at the Meatloaf Kitchen, a soup kitchen located in lower Manhattan. I had a great time volunteering. Their organization and method is different from other soup kitchens. There are no cafeteria style lines for customers to get food. Instead, we prepare the food on plates and serve it – restaurant style. I like it so much that I plan to volunteer again next time!