Basically, I wanted to see if my Lincoln Tunnel sub-30 for the 5k was a fluke or if it was a harbinger of things to come (please, please the latter). So I signed up on a lark.
While I was quesadilla-loading the night before - it's sort of like carb-loading, but with more cheese and fewer carbs - I looked up the results from a 10k in Central Park Saturday morning. The winner finished in 27:42. The first place woman came in at 33:09. My 5k PR, set many, many years ago, is 25:40. Meaning that even were I to knock this one out of the park, I would be twice as slow as these speed demons. That's... demoralizing. Luckily I'm used to the feeling.
Cut to the chase: my time in the Lincoln Tunnel was not a fluke. I finished this race in 28:33, a new (post-sickness) PR. The race was a keeper, despite some chaos at the start over how to pick up one's race packet and where the start actually was. They ran out of safety pins, but not t-shirts. There were a lot of cops around - a lot. A lot of "in memory of..." signs. In fact, they were happy to print a personalized bib for you with your hero's name on it. I saw a lot of "in memory of my partner/friend/husband" bibs, which made me sad. Very sad. There were also quite a few Daniel Faulkner t-shirts, and the race started at 10:13 (the radio code for "officer in distress").
Although there was d-tag timing, there was no mat at the start. The race wasn't corralled/seeded, and I inadvertently lined up right at the start - I swear I didn't actually mean to, but there was some chaos about where the start exactly was, and by the time I figured out what was going on I was at the orange tape with 2000 runners/walkers behind me. Being passed, consistently, for the first mile was kind of lame, but I stayed off to the side and chugged that one off in 9:20. 9:27 saw me hit mile 2, and I still had some (barely any) left to push through the last .1 after a sub 9-minute mile 3. The race was an out-and-back on the miserable, miserable West Side Highway, which somehow manages to make it seem like the road is made of solid stone - it's so hard - and that it's 95 degrees out whenever you're in the sun no matter what the actual temp is. I collected my memorial towel at the finish (a nice touch) and went to Barnes & Noble to buy "Circle of Six," which came highly recommended by one of the cops I met at the start.
All in all a successful race, and I can honestly say that I felt like I tried, hard, and ran well for it. Of course, now it raises all sorts of questions for me... Dare I try to improve even more? It's so tempting to want to run short and fast, even though I know that my longterm goals fall into the long and slow category, and I can't do both at once. But... but... but? NO, Tracy, increasing my mileage is more important now.