Today's race was pretty simple, 3 counter-clockwise loops of New York City's Central Park for a total of 18 miles (at least according to NYRR). I left my house around 5:30 and got to the Upper East Side around 6:00. After circling for parking for about 15 minutes, I gave up and headed to the West Side. After another 10 minutes of circling, I did something that I have never done for a NYRR race, park my car in a lot. I got to the start on East Drive and 102nd with about 15 minutes to spare. I checked my bag and headed to my assigned corral, yellow.
The good thing about running counter-clockwise is that you hit Harlem Hill for the first time early on while you're still fresh. After Harlem Hill, the rest of the first loop was pretty uneventful. I got to mile 6, the end of the my first loop in 50:44. I took my first GU and asked myself if I was going to fast. I felt pretty good and prepared myself to conquer Harlem Hill for the 2nd time. This time it felt a little harder. I crested the top of the hill and enjoyed the downhill that followed. The crazy thing about Central Park it is not flat. It is quite hilly on all sides of the park. I got to mile 12, the end of my 2nd loop in 1:42:10. Once again, I took water and my 2nd GU and prepared for my last climb up Harlem Hill. This time it felt really hard. I slowed my pace and kept one foot in front of the other. The last climb seemed like an eternity but as with previous 2 climbs I got through it. The last significant hill before the finish is Cat Hill on the East Side beginning at the Boathouse. Like my 3rd time up Harlem Hill I slowed my pace and told myself "don't let Cat Hill beat you." Just after Cat Hill was the 1 mile to go mark. I started to pick up my pace and headed towards the finish.
I crossed the finish line in 2:36:06 which averages out to 8:40/mile. I have to say I really surprised myself today. I beat last year's time by 20 minutes! My Garmin had me running 18.36 miles which would average out to 8:30/mile. Even more strange is that when I uploaded the race to Motionbased.com, the distance for the race was 18.89 miles Why is there such a difference between the actual distance, Garmin, and Motionbased.com? In any event, I've been walking around the whole day full of confidence. With 27 days until MCM, I can say with the utmost confidence that I'm ready.
Now I can slowly taper down and enjoy the Jewish holidays with my family and friends. The Jewish New Year begins tomorrow night. I will be spending a lot of time in synagogue Tuesday and Wednesday reflecting on the past year and praying for a successful 5769. May the upcoming year be full of health, prosperity, and of course good running.