The Queens 10K seemed like a good idea when I signed up for it 2 months ago. Back then, temperatures were a lot cooler, and we just had a big heat wave in the Northeast. Plus, when you sign up for races a couple of months in advance you aren’t really thinking about silly things like, oh, marathon schedules where you are putting in long runs on weekends or brothers-in-law who are visiting to do their season’s goal race the week before meaning you can’t do your marathon training that weekend and have to take a rest weekend! LOL
Early in the week I always check the family schedule to plan when I’m doing the long run — either on Saturday or Sunday — and since I’m running a lot with my neighbor, we plan together which day is long run day and how far she’ll join me on the run. So for the weekend of the Queens 10K I knew I would have to put in a 14.1 mile run on Saturday and thus run the race on Sunday. It would have been better in the reverse, but I figured it would be futile to contact NYRR and ask them if they could pretty please reschedule the race to Saturday instead of Sunday.
I got up bright and early Sunday morning, had my usual pre-race or pre-long-run breakfast of scrambled eggs and a sweet potato. I downed a couple of glasses of ice water and took another bottle of ice water for the 45 minute ride from northern NJ to Queens. I found parking and walked over to packet pickup. Wouldn’t you know, they had run out of shirts. The volunteer told me that more were ordered and I could pick mine up at the NYRR headquarters. I explained that I wouldn’t be able to go to NYRR headquarters to pick up the shirt and the volunteer suggested that I email customer service (which I did yesterday, and they said no problem they’ll mail my shirt).
I hit the portapotties early to avoid long lines later, then sat down to watch an adult league soccer game. I watched “LA Galaxy” beat up on “Liverpool” 4-0 before the half. And if you know anything about soccer, you know that it’s very unlikely that those 2 teams would ever play each other. But it was fun to watch. I swear that my 11-year-old and 13-year-old goalie kids can punt the ball farther than the “Liverpool” goalie.
I wandered over to the race start and found my corral — bib numbers 4000-4999. Geez, as far back as we were, we wouldn’t be crossing the start line for a few minutes (which was true). But there were several corrals behind us.
It was really hot standing in the corral. I guess all that body heat from runners standing a hand width apart really builds up, especially on a warm day. The temperature was 79 degrees F at the start of the race, and it was sunny.
I decided not to warm up before the 10K since it was hot (for me). All the speeches were spoken and someone sang a lovely rendition of the National Anthem, and soon the horn went off and some people were off. Our corral stood stock still for a few minutes, then finally we started inching our way forward to the start mats. Finally we were off.
This is probably the first race I’ve done in which I was never really alone while running and still had to weave a bit through runners all the way to the end.
In the first mile, we were running on the perimeter road of Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Cars were parked under an overpass, and the strong smell of urine wafted over. Ugh, between that stench and the smell of several stinky runners going by, even mouth-breathing didn’t help. Soon we passed that area and we were able to breathe again.
Sweat was pouring off me before Garmin beeped the first mile. Unfortunately, I missed the first water station just past mile 1. I was cursing myself for not bringing my hydration belt. I almost never use a hydration belt in any race shorter than an hour, so it never occurred to me to bring it. Several runners had the foresight to bring theirs and I coveted their probably lukewarm beverages.
Mile 1: 8:23
After the first mile I decided that I should hit the next water station. Garmin beeped Mile 2: 8:18 and soon I saw the water station. I nearly missed it! You practically had to queue up to get to the water, and that’s when I realized that each water stop would mean stoppage time, but I decided it was better than the alternative of being dehydrated and overheated. I grabbed a cup, drank some, then poured water on myself. A volunteer was holding a garden hose, and I went through the spray of water as well. Nice.
Mile 3 8:28. Soon after was a 5K marker and at that point I gave up the will to race. Not that I was going to quit, just that I decided I wasn’t going to worry about stopping at water stations and just go by feel not by Garmin pace. I stopped at the water station and tried to douse myself.
Mile 4: 8:51 Soon after mile 4 was a shaded water stop. I grabbed 2 cups — one to drink and the other to pour on myself. I got a good dousing that time and then went through the sprinkler. Nice. We could see the faster runners going by us in the other direction. I thought, those are our fast people (mostly guys, a handful of women) and we’re their slow people.
Mile 5: 8:42 OK only about 1.3 miles to go (I was over course by almost 0.1 at that point due to all the weaving around runners). I dug down knowing it would be over soon.
Mile 6: 8:39 I laid down the hammer and kicked it into gear. Where’s that finish line?
Last 0.31 — 7:59 Garmin showed 53:50, official results showed 53:48. This was one of my slower 10K races, which is a shame because it was a flat course, but whatever. It was hot and my body had done 14.1 miles the day before.