A trio of us ( were in New York City last weekend for IMATS and my friends said they were more than happy if I pulled myself away from our group for a morning race on the Sunday we were in town! In looking around for a race on the Sunday, the one that popped up was the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K race that takes place in Central Park. I was elated – not only was I finally going to get the opportunity to run in Central Park (something I’d always wanted to do but had never gotten around to actually doing while on vacation), but the race start zone was walking distance from our hotel! I mean, how perfect is that??
The morning of the race was sunny and beautiful. The air was on the cool side of things and for me that makes for lovely running conditions. However, my stomach was a bit of a mess that morning and I had slept uncomfortably the night before because I kept waking up every few hours and STAYING awake for long stretches of time until I dozed off again. It was predominantly to do with race jitters which is something I can never seem to shake no matter how many races I’ve got under my belt at this point. It’s odd too – I hadn’t trained for this race in particular, so I knew I wasn’t going to put out a stellar time so I should not have been nervous at all.
Anyway, I ended up forgetting my Garmin tracker as I was headed out the door which ended up putting me a little bit off kilter when it came to the actual race. I thought my Nike+ app tracker would be sufficient (which is why I didn’t double back to get my Garmin) but it definitely wasn’t, and I certainly won’t be making that mistake again.
Despite my stomach feeling rotten and the weird race jitters being ever present, as soon as I got into the starting lineup for the race, all of my worries melted away. And as soon as I started the actual race, I felt entirely at home. Running has become such a part of my life that it’s actually incredibly soothing to me. I know that sounds a little bizarre to some people – that the idea of bouncing up and down while covering long distances could even be remotely soothing, but, to explain it a bit more, the movement of putting one foot in front of the other… it’s become such a practiced and comfortable movement for me that it instantly puts me at peace. I experienced this same feeling last year when I did that Half Marathon in Iceland (which had crappy weather conditions and I felt less than stellar due to lack of sleep). It’s like my body just knows what to do and I can just give in to that feeling.
Anyway, I was lacking my Garmin, so the only feedback I had about my pace was coming from my Nike+ app, and it was only telling me once I finished a kilometer. I actually thought I was going at a really good pace, but in the end the Nike+ app was overtracking my kilometers and thinks I finished the race about 600 meters before the end which made all of my pacing totally out of whack. Not much I could do about it – by the time I realized the mistake I was so close to the end and I couldn’t run double my pace to make up the difference. I never really realized how much I rely on my Garmin to keep me on pace. Having that information feedback on your wrist is so, SO freaking vital! In the end, I ended up going a touch faster than my half marathon pace (pace details are at the bottom of this post), so yeah, it was a pretty slow race for me! And I wasn’t really sore the next day so I definitely wasn’t pushing myself. Ugh.
One thing I was not prepared for was just how many dang hills there are in Central Park. HOLY CRAP YOU GUYS. It’s like a constant series of uphills! I couldn’t believe it! Especially the northern end of the park – it felt like kilometer after kilometer of ascent. I didn’t stop to walk any of them, but it definitely sucked some of the energy out of my system.
One of the things I need to mention about this run is that this was my first experience with seeing “threat level” flags in a race. I assume it’s because of what happened with the Boston Marathon bombings, but every checkpoint had a green flag with something that said “Race Status Alert Level: Safe”, which I anticipate they would change to yellow or red depending on what the conditions were ahead. I think it’s a necessary measure considering what has happened in the past, but when I finally clued in to what those flags meant (took me a few checkpoints to realize!) I was horrified – chills were running up and down my body. It was a moment of “what the hell country am I in where this is a necessary measure?”. It was a really bone-chilling moment for me.
All in all though, the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K was an extremely well organized event. I appreciated just how many hydration stations there were (which even included bathrooms), alongside the safety checkpoints. The volunteers all seemed happy to help and encourage and the overall atmosphere was really enjoyable. Overall, I didn’t LOVE the course design, but there is not much that can be done about that due to the structure of Central Park. So for me, I was just really happy to participate in this event!
- Finish Time: 59:25
- Pace: 5:56 per kilometer
- Overall placement: 5197/8615
- Age group placement (Female 30-34 years): 430/887
- Gender placement (F): 1764/4032
By the way, if you’re ever interested in the other races I’ve run, you can always visit my Race Results page for a breakdown by year and by race. Enjoy!