Pacers from the New York Flyers running club
20.9 miles 8’37” pace/mile time
This was a very meaningful race that I’d trained hard for. I knew that running 20 miles along the rolling hills of Central Park was going to be a challenge. I wanted to finish and finish strong. The race began at 7am and consisted of a full 6-mile loop of the park and three smaller 5-mile loops. The run was a smaller, unscored, race organized by the New York Road Runners. We ran along the Central Park running path adjacent to other runners and the park’s traffic. I ran with the 8:30 pace team and for the first 11 miles it was very crowded. However, by the time we reached mile 16 there were only a few runners left in our pace group. From mile 14-17.50 I ran with the pacer Dermot who was good to talk with and very encouraging. He is also running the Goofy Challenge at Disney World next January and had some great stories about other marathons. At certain points in the race I felt fatigued and wanted to rest but kept pushing to maintain pace with our group. I’d find myself at the back of the pack at the start of one mile and rally to be in the front by the mile’s end. In many ways running is a great metaphor for life- it’s about how we cope with challenges and persevere. After every loop of the park our pace team would rest for about a minute and a half. At mile 16 I checked my watch and saw we were at an 8:28 pace/mile time– a PR for the park. I contemplated calling it a day after 16 miles but Dermot encouraged me to run the extra four miles. At mile 17 I started to vomit and by 17.50 I had to stop and throw up heavily. The NYRR volunteers were fantastic and asked if I was ok and needed medical assistance. At this point there were very few runners left in the race and the last four miles seemed like a regular early morning run in Central Park. Running mile 17-20 was a great training experience. I need to adjust my fuelling to avoid throwing up and gain stamina to maintain pace for the entire marathon. Three weeks from now there will be another 20-mile training run in Central Park and I can’t wait.