I boogied down hard in the Bronx 10miler this past Sunday!! By far the coolest and most fun course in all NYRR Races. Felt super strong, finished with a PR of 1:35 (9:30pace). Best part was digging deep in my soul to hit negative splits & get faster with each mile! Refused to let the ‘I can’t’ voice win. I kept calm, relaxed and let the finish line pull me in!
I went into the race relaxed. 10 miles is nothing but a mere warm-up when you’re average weekly mileage is 45-50miles per week and your easy daily runs are 6-8 miles. The course runs most of the Grand Concourse (think the Park Avenue of the Bronx) a swings out to a park and little of the Mosholu Parkway before you head back the way you went out. There were a few hills and inclines but they all were manageable and did not drastically slow me down.
I did a 1 mile warm-up before the race with a very easy trot. Got my heart-rate up just enough so that I was sweating (it was also about 80% humidity). The urban landscape of old apartment buildings and views of the subway running on the elevated tracks were quaint and reminiscent of the roots of New York.
For the first time I experienced what it feels like to have an imaginary cord pulling you towards the finish line. On all my past races I had felt myself moving away from the start or that I was moving forward, inching towards the next mile marker, not necessarily the finish line. In the Bronx 10-mile my mind entered a new frontier. I kept digging deeper in my mind to relax and go a little faster. Just push a little more. It’s only 10 miles after all. I didn’t have that far to run.
So I kept pushing myself and by mile 5 I started to feel something pulling me (instead of me pushing myself) forward, faster, towards the finish line. I focused on that sensation, all the while trying to stay calm in my breathing and in my muscles. My legs have been weary with fatigue with all the marathon training!
The runners around me kept changing and I realized I was moving into a faster group, passing a lot of folks. At around mile 8 I’m back on the Grand Concourse and I see the road drop under an overpass and then a steep climb back up to street level. I used the opportunity to gain some ground and let myself float quickly down and charge in tiny pitter-patter steps up the hill. My breathing stayed fairly steady. I hit a few more hills and although I saw them approaching I actually didn’t realize I had even made it up the incline until the road was flat in front of me and I couldn’t recall ever feeling I was working up a hill. There were scant moments where my mind tried to tell me to stop or slow down. I shouted back, I will finish fast!
About a mile to the finish line I stopped to grab water. I wanted to make sure I had fuel in my engine for a strong finish. Stopping 10 seconds to drink water helped drop my heart rate. I tossed the cup and kicked off briskly. I knew the finish line was approaching even though there wasn’t a large sign that read “FINISH”. I let my mind zone in on that imaginary cord that I had been feeling for the past 5 miles and enjoyed the sensation of letting it pull me in.
For the last 500ft I sprinted. As I crossed the finish line I let out a huge yell of satisfaction, stopped my watch and took a sweaty, joyful picture.
Here are my mile splits off my Garmin, overall 9:26 pace:
Last 500ft 7:17
After the race I enjoyed the most delicious cup of Spanish coffee at Molino Rojo (161st Street), a visit to the Yankee Stadium gift shop and back to Molino Rojo for a 2nd cup of coffee. This was the perfect race and perfect New York day!