My DNS list for the past winter is rather extensive. As I am possessed of neither the funds nor the desire to pay for races that I don’t actually get to run, I didn’t register for this one until the Friday prior, mostly because I wanted to see what my wonky ankle had to say for itself.
Apparently, I should have directed my concerns a bit farther south. As I was walking the mile and a half to GAP to hitch a ride up to the Bronx with Oren, my heel started to complain. I wouldn’t be so cognizant of this, except that this is the same heel I fractured back in 2015. This is also why I never know what to make of such things — like I always say, a healed fracture is not a done deal. The area never feels quite normal after that. I’ve felt a lot of odd sensations there over the past eighteen months, so much so that I can’t even remember how a problematic sensation feels.
But a short little warm-up didn’t send me whimpering for mercy, so I lined up at the start. I mean, I was already there.
I’ve run this race every year since 2013. You would think that by now, I’d know what to expect, but nope, I’m always stunned anew that this is really ****ing hard. (It would probably help if I ever ran on trails outside of the two trail races I generally do, but no, that would be logical, and I don’t do logical things.)
The plan was for Oren to clear the way for me to place in the top three so that I could hand off my carrot cake to him. Didn’t quite work out that way!
See, there, he is behind me. Which could also work out well, if he mysteriously lost control of his elbows every time a woman tried to pass him. But nah.
That photo was taken during the first loop. I was counting my position; I ran in second place for a while, then this woman passed me, then I passed her back.
And this is during the second loop. I was running in third place again, until I made a wrong turn around mile 4. There was another woman not far behind me, and she yelled after me to alert me that I’d gone the wrong way (because having done this race four times previously is not enough to help me stay on course), and by the time I battled my way out of the brush and back onto the marked path, she was ahead of me.
I appear to have lost my ability to race. Because in the past, this would have mattered to me, and I would have fought to catch up to her. Now? I just couldn’t muster up the energy to care. I walked up a couple of steep hills after that. (Though Oren, who was close behind me, said that he was running, and we were moving at pretty much the same pace, so maybe it didn’t really matter.)
Without the stress fracture in December, I would have targeted a sub-50 finish as my goal for this race. Physically, I do think I could have done it. Mentally… now that’s another story. Which is really a pity, because I’ve always been stronger at the mental aspect of racing than the physical one. (I’d say I have no choice, with a body as fragile as mine, but it’s not like my brain is in such optimal condition either.)
I remembered that I had run 52:xx last year, but I wasn’t sure of my exact finish time. So when I emerged from the trails back onto the flats and realized that I was probably going to run 52:xx again… well, it would have been nice to know whether I had a shot at a PR!
Turns out, I did get that course PR. Twelve whole seconds (official time last year was 52:44). Had I run sub-50 like I wanted to, I would have placed second.
Since I placed fourth, Oren went across the street to Lloyd’s and bought a carrot cake, being under the impression that runners who place in the top three of their AG receive muffins, not cakes. He then wanted to leave, because I have no need for a muffin I can’t eat, and he had no need of it either, having bought a cake of his own.
We did stick around for the awards ceremony, though. And I’m glad about it! Turns out that second and third place AG do indeed get muffins, but first place gets a cake. A smaller one than the top three, but that’s irrelevant (though I’m sure Murray is happy, since I gave him mine, and then I had to go home and bake my own mini carrot cake to make up for it). Nope, the best part is what came along with the cake.
A book! I can’t say I’ve ever won a book before, but it’s quite nice. It’s actually something I will use.
Official results: 6.2 miles in 52:32, 8:28/mi. 24/139 OA, 4/58 F, 1/19 F30-39.
That’s all the good stuff. The not-so-good… well, I don’t seem to know how to race anymore, mentally speaking. And oh yeah, my stupid heel is still being stupid, which is messing with my already-messy head. (That’s a euphemism for “I am completely freaking the **** out.”)