2012 Rock N Roll : New York 10K
In what turned out to be a bitter sweet morning, I started and completed my final race of the year. The Rock N Roll : New York 10K (RNR) was indeed my final race of the year but it was also my BEST race.
In the days leading up to the race I had one issue after another. Last week I sustained a minor injury that forced me to decrease my training. Last Sunday, I slipped hurrying down the escalator, while trying to catch my train. I landed on my butt and bruised the back of both knees. The injury was not too disconcerting but I acted cautious. Between Sunday and this morning’s race, I worked out two days. The back of my knees were sore and bruised. But the extra time away from the gym allowed me to rest the knees.
I woke up this morning with so much enthusiasm. At five this morning I got up out of bed, showered, dressed and stretched. While I am used to running a 10K on my own, the event was my first 10K and it was also my first race in cold conditions. The cold weather forced me to change my wardrobe. Instead of wearing running shorts, I wore sweat pants. I underestimated the wardrobe issue. Thus I live and learn.
My brother was kind enough to get up and drive me to Prospect Park in Brooklyn. In all of the races I participated I had a great support group. My biggest fans were the members of my family. Starting with my parents – they have provided me with all of the love and support. They have seen an overweight male with no athletic bone in his body, to a healthy male with a passion for running. Their love and support has been special. My siblings are the best. My older brother became my official photographer. His great photography in each race has been great. But most importantly, his decision to see me run will always stay in my heart. Luis you are a great man and a great brother. I couldn’t have done it without you. My brother and sister have always cheered me on even if they were unable to attend my races. They are great. I love them all. Thank you for the support.
My biggest fan, my father, was unable to see me race. I spoke with him yesterday and unfortunately he told me that he was unable to attend due to the flu. It hurt him to say that. But I really understood. His health was far more important than a race. On Facebook this morning, I dedicated my run to him. I know he wanted to be there. Dedicating the race to him was a no brainer. The medal I earned dad is half yours.
My older brother, Luis, woke up early to drive me to Prospect Park. We left our residence in Jersey City around 6-ish. He was happy to drive me to the Park in Brooklyn and cheer me on. It’s the little things I that makes me happy.
Upon arriving in Brooklyn, our next step was finding parking. After a few minutes, finding a spot was not as bad as originally thought. We found a parking spot and began our way to the starting line. As the night sky made way for daybreak, the starting line was filling up with participants. Weeks before the event the organizers put participants in corrals (heats). Based off my submitted time, I was placed in the middle of the pack (Corral 6). Although RNR gave me an estimated completion time of one hour. After reading the estimated time, I had motivation to beat the time.
About 715 this morning, the organizers announced that each runner proceed to their assigned corral. I said good-bye to my brother and made my way to the corral. He wished me luck, hugged me and I proceeded to my corral. As we waited for 15 minutes, I was mentally preparing myself for this challenge. Music was blaring from the stage, music from iPod was blaring. My thoughts spread out. I stared to my left, then I stared to my right. I prepared my Garmin watch. I allowed my mind to wander as I mentally focused on what stood in my way.
After the national anthem was sung. Each corral started their race in intervals of one minute. It was our time to run. The minute the announcer counted down to 10, we were on our way. I started my Garmin watch and started my 6.2 mile journey. Weather wise I did not feel the cold weather. Adrenaline took over and started weaving other runners. Moving ahead was a great tactic.
The view at Prospect Park is similar to Central Park. I felt at ease. However, I did realize the park is not as steep as the loop in Central Park. But then again the RNR course was not a loop. Overall I enjoyed myself. I surpassed other runners. Other runners surpassed me. I saw runners of all types of races, sizes and athleticism. I even saw runners dressed in early Halloween costumes. Talk about a fun event.
After 3 miles, I was getting a bit winded. But I marched on. Prior to the race, I felt intimidated. All week I was fixated on the course map. I have done a 10K on my own around the Central Park loop. The map for the Prospect Park 10K seemed a bit too intimidating. Add on top of that, I asked other runners what was it like to run in Prospect Park. Needless to say, I received mixed reactions. With that said, my apprehension deepened. The only way I could ease that apprehension was to actually run the course.
Well here we are, 3 miles in and I feel a bit winded but great overall. For those wondering I had one song on my iPod playing on a constant loop. The song “So Jersey” by The Bouncing Souls played over and over along the course. I rocked out. And even at times I pointed in the sky when lead singer Greg Attino sings, “Don’t forget we’re all one family”. That line gives me the energy to continue.
After getting familiar with the streets of Prospect Park, we rounded for the home stretch. Breaking into a sweat, I knew I was getting close. The joy of completing was unbearable. For a moment I lost focus. I began to slow down, but immediately I regained my composure. Mile 5 soon turned into Mile 6. I was two tenths of a mile away from completing the race.
In the distance I saw the finish line. And similar to the Tunnel to Towers event, I began to speed up. That finish line was mine. And I could taste victory. For an instant I heard my heartbeat. 100 feet turned into 50 feet, which turned into 40 and so forth. I was closer to my ultimate goal. And just like that, I crossed the finish line.
I did it. Unofficially I completed the race 51:20. I set a new personal best. I was overcome with joy and emotion. Running on one good surgically repaired hip all summer long allowed me to do this. After stumbling a bit, I grabbed a bottle of water and two banana’s. I then received the best medal I have received to date.
Three races have come and gone. From embarrassment, to patriotism and to redemption, I did it. I accomplished what I set out to do. One bad hip did not stop me from achieving this moment. While today’s Rock N Roll race was my last race for 2012, I am far from retired. I have more juice and energy to race more events. My ultimate goal is to conquer the NYC Marathon. I hope to get that opportunity in 2014. But for now I am enjoying this moment and preparing for my next surgery.
For those keeping score at home here are my final numbers:
- I completed the race in 51:16 (OFFICIALLY).
- Out of 4171 runners, I finished 606th.
- Out of 322 male runners between the ages of 30 and 34, I finished 91st.
- Out of 1412 male runners (overall), I finished 419th.
- Pace : 8:15 (That’s a borderline pace. But it’ll do.)
I could not be happier and prouder. Thank you all for supporting. This is not the end…this is only the beginning. Stay tuned for more entries. Just because I will not run competitively until next summer, means I will give up on the blog. The fun is about to start.
Until next time…THANK YOU.