Sunday, March 6, 2011

I Made it Through the Rain

Today was the day of the Coogan's Salsa, Blues and Shamrocks 5K in Washington Heights. This is a race that I have been looking forward to ever since I first read about it on the NYRR web site right after the Disney marathon What could possibly be more fun than a 5K race with a bunch of live bands along the route? Granted, getting there from Queens took a bit of time, but it was a pretty straight shot once I got on the subway. The key was making the early (as in 6:40AM early) bus from my neighborhood to the subway station. Fortunately, the rain that was predicted in the forecast held out until after I left my house. Otherwise, I might not have made it out my front door. But, it did, and I did.

The commute was surprisingly hassle-free for a Sunday morning, even with MTA weekend service changes. I left my house around 6:30AM, was on a bus by 6:45AM, made it all the way to Times Square by 7:35AM, and up to 168th Street and Broadway well before 8:30AM. There was plenty of time to hang around outside in the rain, waiting for the race to start! Thankfully, it wasn't raining hard at that hour, but it was just enough to warrant whipping out the TOTES rain poncho I had decided to toss in my bag on my way out the door. That was probably the best decision I made today. Seriously, it saved me from being completely soaked and miserable later on, when it started to really rain - hard. And boy, did it rain in spots!

Despite the rain, this was still a really fun race for me!  There was lots of crowd support, I got to see a bunch of my fellow Team in Training folks before and after the race, and the bands were pretty good.  There were lots of children, not just those participating in the kids' race later on, but cheering in the crowd and (and this is the part that totally blew me away) volunteering at the race! They were out there working the food and water stations, in the rain, and smiling! I just thought that was so totally awesome and amazing! The course was hilly, but I didn't think the hills were as intense as either Cat Hill or Harlem Hill in Central Park. I managed to run-walk a good portion of the race, and somehow, amidst getting soaked and enjoying my run-walk, I also managed to beat my previous time, for a PR (personal record) of 5K in 44:39, with an official pace of :::drumroll please::: 14:24/mile!!! That's 28 seconds/mile off my previous best official time. Not bad, considering that my only goal for this race was to do it and have fun with it.

The worst of the rain though, was still waiting for me. It was pouring for the walk home from my bus stop! That was worse than the entire race! The only thing that kept me from being completely miserable was mentally chanting a two-word mantra during that final five blocks: "Dry clothes! Dry clothes! Dry clothes!" Next thing I knew, I was home!