Strictly speaking, this isn't my first EVER AG award - I was talked into doing a trail 10K and I got third place in my AG despite having an abysmal time (for me). But doesn't feel the same when you're not proud of your performance and didn't even realize that you were in the running for an award. This race was a completely different experience in that regard, and I will explain why momentarily.
I initially signed up for this race to use it as an indicator for a goal half in September. My goal half is no longer in September, but I decided to race it all out anyway, even though I am not good at pacing at that distance. This should go well, right?
I have been to this course several times, but have never had the opportunity to run the 5K as I usually am called upon by NYCRuns to work as a timer. As you can see from the picture below, there is a good reason why I am NOT the race photographer.
After saying hi to the NYCRuns staff and volunteers, I waited around for the race to start. Since the 5K and 10K were running at the exact same time, it was difficult to tell who my competition actually was. It's also hard to know where the best place to line up is, but I lined up mid-front of the pack and hoped for the best. After a slight delay, I heard the starting horn and we were off!
I saw what seemed like a huge pack of people fly ahead of me pretty quickly, so I assumed that I probably wasn't going to win anything. Still, I was resolved to run as fast as I could. However, I didn't want to look at the Garmin, but to run by feel. I was determined to try and find a pace to run where I was pushing it, but at the same time, be able to keep going at that pace for longer than a mile.
|Spoiler Alert: Nope! Better luck next time!|
This gave me some added confidence, and I started pushing as hard as I could, but it wasn't until the second mile marker until I realized that since I was now running against the wind, I had started to slow down and clocked in at almost 8 minutes. Whoops.
Around this time, I was doing my best to catch up with an older lady in front of me, and was using her as a pace guide. During the third mile, I noticed that someone my age was slowly catching up to me, and I did my best to fend her off, but unfortunately, she passed me and my legs just didn't have it in them to catch up. For all I knew, I just lost my chance to get an AG award - I wasn't sure how many women passed me and I could have missed people. But as petty as this was, I was determined not to be outran by someone who was almost old enough to be my mother, so although it was a close one, I manage to out-kick her in the end.
|Thanks Leiba & NYC Running Source!|
|Distance makes my race pictures look more flattering!|
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I was 2nd place out of 34 in my AG (with the overall winner taken out) and 6th place overall female. Despite slowing down and not getting a PR, I was still able to finish in 24:31 at a 7:55mm average pace.
As I stated earlier, while this wasn't my first AG award, this time felt fundamentally different because I was aware of possible award status during the race itself. My entire mindset shifted from just wanting to do my best to wanting to place as highly as possible. That has never happened to me before, especially not at NYRR races where it is a miracle if I get within the top 1000 finishers or so. It was the first time I really competed against another person, and although I lost that race, it was the first time that I had an age group win within reach, and that was an amazing feeling.
|I am still in shock|
After two hours of traveling back and forth, all I wanted to do was nap, but I had another, longer journey in store. One of my good friends had a bridal shower in Staten Island, and I ended up commuting over 3 hours total. It was completely worth it and I had a great time with a good group of people.
|The beautiful Brooke and two of her stunning bridesmaids!|
|Why yes, I do own normal clothing!|
This will not be a recurring event, and no, I am not just talking about Brooke's bridal shower (I am pretty sure she's only getting married ONCE in this lifetime). However, even if I don't win another age group award in my life, I will always treasure this moment.
Thanks for reading!!!!