Yesterday morning, I kicked off Super Bowl Sunday by running the New York Road Runners’ (NYRR) Gridiron 4-Miler Race.
To be honest, I had mixed feelings about running when I woke up. My family came to visit, and I felt bad for bailing on them and doing a race the morning they planned to leave. This hesitation, coupled with the chilly weather and my inexperience running in Central Park (totally my own fault), made it difficult to get pumped up.
You know you’re from Central New York when 25 degrees Fahrenheit doesn’t seem that cold—ha! Anyway, I did make it up to Central Park, and my jaw literally dropped when I got off the subway—snow!
It looked like a CNY winter wonderland!
The race started at 9 a.m., and I arrived around 8:30 a.m., so I located my corral and immediately started jogging around. I follow the 20-degree rule for cold-weather running (dress for 20 degrees warmer than the mercury reads), so I wore Under Armour underneath my shorts and tech t-shirt—that’s it. I definitely questioned my decision while bopping around in my corral and waiting for the race to start, but I knew I’d warm up.
Since this was my first NYRR event, I was seeded in one of the last corrals; the organization didn’t have any times on record for me, so I totally understand why they placed me in the back. That being said, though, I was a lot farther back than I would’ve liked to be, and thankfully, I didn’t plan to “race”—my main goal was to complete a solid training run and follow the “shorter, shorter, quicker, quicker” approach.
I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t run tactically smart. There was major bottlenecking due to the corral starts, so I was constantly weaving, dodging, and trying to shoot the gaps, especially during the first mile. Since the course was only four miles, I knew this zigzagging wouldn’t come back to bite me, but I knew this strategy wouldn’t be efficient for longer distances—or for running off the bike.
At mile two, there were two chutes in the street: one for the San Francisco 49ers and one for the Baltimore Ravens, and runners were instructed to run through the one for their team. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a “Beyoncé concert” chute, so I stuck to the right and passed through the Ravens section. (And the Ravens won last night!)
Other than this “attraction,” though, I don’t remember a lot about the race itself. The course didn’t contain too many hills (whew!), but the inclines were definitely noticeable. Basically, I went into the “shorter, shorter, quicker, quicker” zone—which I eventually shortened even more to “short, short, quick, quick”—and heard a combination of mine/Andrew’s voice the entire time.
For the final mile, I picked up the pace—well, as much as I could with the continued bottlenecking—and really picked it up for the last 400m.
My unofficial Garmin time; and according to the race results page, I finished in 32:28 (8:07 min./mi.).
And I even got to see Julie after! No photo this time, though.
What I’ve confirmed from this event and from the Hot Chocolate 10-K is this pace (around eight-minute miles) is my default for shorter courses. I finished both races comfortably, so hopefully this means I can maintain this pace when it comes time to run off the bike.