Race: UAE Healthy Kidney 10k
When: May 11 at 9:30am
5k Split: 39:07
Official Time: 1:19:38
Official Pace per Mile: 12:50
This wasn't just a regular race for me. It meant more than that to me. You see, I know several individuals personally that have battled kidney issues - one of which just passed away last week. On the way to the race, I decided I would devote the middle four miles to each of them. I thought this would help me to focus on something other than the race as well as give me an opportunity to reflect on my relationship with each of them and pray for them and their families.
Once I arrived at the race, I knew I wanted to hit the port-o-potties before I began. I made my way over to those just before the race started so I was close to the back of the pack heading into the course. I actually don't mind that because it isn't too crowded there.
As I began the race, I turned on the map my run feature on my phone. I've been running with it for the past couple of weeks and I really like that it tells me my pace at each mile. I wasn't too stressed about time for this race, but I did want to try to be consistent especially through the hilly parts of the course. For mile 1, I just tried to get warmed up and focused on the task ahead. We began on the east side of Central Park right around 72nd street so the only major obstacle on mile 1 was Cat Hill.
Mile 2 was dedicated to my neighbor back in Livermore, Kentucky - Bill Lovell. I remember their house always having such pretty Christmas wreaths and a perfectly manicured lawn. Bill and his wife, Evelyn, are both friendly people. Bill was even the one to give me my diploma when I graduated high school. He served on our school board then. I know he goes to my home church now and he even sings in the choir. Thinking about him led me to think about all the other neighbors I have had over the years keeping me occupied for almost all of the mostly flat and curvy second mile.
I knew that mile 3 would be tough trekking through the Harlem hills so I focused on "Aunt" Edna for that mile. She is such a trip! I talked a little about her in this post, but she is truly one of the funniest people I know. I spent a good amount of time just thinking about all the crazy adventures we've had when she and her daughter visited me in the city the past few years. When the hills started to become too much and I wanted to give up and walk, I pressed on because I knew Edna wouldn't want me to quit on her mile. That mental motivation and some praying got me over the hump (literally) and on to mile 4.
Mile 4 has a set of three rolling hills in it. Not easy on a regular day, but especially not easy after the harlem hills and a 5k already under your belt. I began to think about Ben, my little brother's roommate. He's been through some ups and downs over his lifetime with his kidney issues. In fact, I think he actually has four kidneys now as a result of various failed transplants. I've only met him a few times, but he has a great attitude and a strong will. I channeled my thoughts of him into the energy I needed to manage the last real hilly part of the course. I did some more praying, too. And I made it.
On to my last dedicated mile - mile 5. To be honest, I was worn out at this point. I was giving it all I had, but I was tired. This mile was dedicated to the memory of my dad's college roommate - Roger Gorham. I've heard lots of stories about their college days over the years. I thought about one in particular as I began the mile on a steep downhill. Roger once ran over my dad's hand...on accident, of course...driving down what I imagine to be a similar type of hill. I only ever met Roger a couple of times, but I could tell he loved to laugh. Before I left my apartment this morning, I glanced through his obituary. He left behind a wife, two children, and a handful of grandchildren. I prayed for them during this time of loss for the next half mile or so. I know how tough it is to lose a grandparent, but fortunately I still have both my parents...and hope to for quite some time!! I pray Roger's family can find solace and peace in his passing though I know it will be tough for them all.
Finally, I hit mile 6...totally exhausted. I still felt like I was keeping a consistent pace, but I was wearing down for sure. I just remember thinking that the faster I finished, the faster I could stop running. I tried to push myself to keep a decent pace. Once, I hit the 6 mile marker, I knew I could finish in under 1:20 with only two-tenths of a mile left. I tried to pick up my pace, but it wasn't until could see the clock at the finish that I began to sprint to ensure I hit the mark. As soon as I crossed the finish line, I checked the map my run app for my final time and it was at exactly 1:20. NYRR says I finished in 1:19:38 though.
Unfortunately, the official race time and the map my run time found a significant difference in my mileage and pace per mile. Here is my breakdown of splits according to map my run:
Mile 1 - 11:14
Mile 2 - 11:53
Mile 3 - 12:17
Mile 4 - 12:16
Mile 5 - 12:23
Mile 6 - 12:00
Average - 12:04/mile
I did notice that the app had me clocking miles a tad bit ahead of the race course. Not sure exactly why that was happening, but I was feeling confident hearing my splits on the app so I don't guess it really matters. I spent a lot less effort worrying about my time because the app was letting me know that I was fairly consistant. Ideally, right now, I'd like to be around that 12 min/mile range. According to the app, I am. But, NYRR said I ran 12:50 minute miles. I'm not sure who is right, but either way I felt like I had a good run so I was happy in the end.
My next NYRR race is about a month away. It isn't exactly the same course, but many elements will remain. I am going to do my best to hammer out an official time closer to 12 minute miles for that race. As long as I put my mind to it, I know I can do it!