Races in NYC are way too big and competitive to even dream about placing in my age group. I am always hearing how others are grabbing podium spots left and right and then I go out and race with 500 women in my group so the odds of even being in the top 10% are usually pretty slim. So when I signed up for a 4 mile race with my sister down in Maryland, I decided I'd make it my goal to finish in the top three of my age group. I did the race last year and while I had a decent run, I am much faster this year.
I was a little worried about the toll my "rest day" Sunday would take. A holiday weekend, sunny weather, nothing on the training schedule and bottles and bottles of crisp, summery wine in the backyard equaled a recipe for disaster. I slept in, strolled the farmer's market and then plopped myself in a chair for some good company and day drinking. This was followed by a totally indulgent dinner at which I consumed about an entire day's worth of calories along with many more drinks. I know it's not how an Ironman-in-training should spend a rest day, but I don't have many more chances to forget I'm an Ironman-in-training so I went with it. It was also the first time I've gotten to hang out with my sister since the New Year. It was very much overdue.
Luckily I was feeling relatively good this morning. I started the race near the front with the fast looking guys and hit the first downhill stretch as hard as I could. This race is mostly through the woods on a paved path and across some bridges, a really beautiful course. There are two turnarounds so you can get a sense of where you stand. I did a rough count and figured I was somewhere within the top 20 females. I tried not to let any women pass me and toward the end I was able to pass three or four that were fading. I finished in 30:59, a definite PR for me.
When the results were posted later in the day I confirmed I finished third out of 16 women in my age group. I was 15 out of 111 women overall, by far the best finish ranking I've ever had. Yes, it was a small race compared to what I usually do, but it was still a race nonetheless and another big milestone for me.
I ran another 6 miles after the race to make it my long run for the week. It was torture and my legs really hated me for it. But once done I was free to enjoy a long, relaxing Memorial Day.
Distance - 4 miles
Time - 30:59
Distance - 6 miles
Time - 55:15