NYRR Scotland 10k Race Recap
Having lived in Scotland for 9 years I was really looking forward to the Scotland 10k. Last year I was not able to run it due to a foot injury, so this was my race debut. What I was not looking forward to was the distance; 10k is my nemesis distance. I have only run a couple of 10ks before, and raced just one, the Women’s Mini 10k last year where my time was 55:37, or a pace of 8:58.
I really had no idea how to run this race. In February I ran a 4m PR at 7:47 pace, so according to McMillan, I should be able to run a 10k at 7:57 pace. This seemed really fast, especially since I have had 2 miserable tempo runs since then. I also did some really awesome preparation by going to Bruce Springsteen (omg amazing) last night, drinking lots of beer and fuelling with 1am grilled cheese and fries. I wasn’t exactly planning on race awesomeness at all. I think mentally I had already given in on not giving this race my best.
I did come up with the not very scientific strategy of running the first 3-4 miles at an 8:15 pace and then trying to finish up with a couple of sub 8 miles. There was pretty much no logic to this other than it didn’t sound too scary or impossible.
I woke up at 6.30am feeling exhausted, thirsty, and having no idea what to wear. This has been a theme recently for morning runs – they start out so cold but warm up quickly. I ended up with a pair of Lululemon crops that I got last summer and had forgotten how comfortable they are, and my Brooks long sleeve. I put on a hoodie, drank a glass of San Pellegrino (fancy!) and ate a Vanilla Honey Stinger Waffle, which is my usual pre-race routine. After wasting some time on Twitter, I headed out to Central Park.
When I got to the park it was really busy. It turned out that there were over 11,000 entrants, and nearly 8,000 runners. They had run out of small and medium shirts, which was a shame because I like my shirt. It’s a cool design blending Edinburgh Castle into the New York skyline. I grabbed a large shirt and my bib. I was super excited about seeing my new corral given my vastly improved bib time, but it turned out it was just in the 4,000s, given the size of the race. Still, when I went to my corral, I have to admit that I was a little intimidated by the other runners; they all looked so… runner-like.
The best part of the Scotland 10k for me was definitely the Scottishness of it. Between the pipes (yes, I think that they are music!), and hearing my two favorite national anthems played back-to-back, I was feeling a lot of pride. I also realized that not only are both anthems inspiring and beautiful, but they also are about the same thing: defeating the English. Something close to a Celt’s heart.
When we started off I was pleasantly surprised that starting in a higher corral significantly reduces weaving at the start. Everyone was actually running at more or less the same speed! Which turned out to be 8:00 min/miles, or much faster than I wanted to be running. Still, my legs felt good, and I figured I might as well feel good now since I would be miserable later, no matter what. Yes, please use me as a sensible guide for how not to run a race. The first mile was clocked off in 7:54. Mile 2 was even faster (yep, self control was going well here) and I ran a 7:43 pace. My legs are still feeling good at this point. To be honest, I split all Central Park races into parts – pre-hills and post-hills, the hills in this case being the Harlem Hills. As my husband supportively told me a few weeks ago, “yeah, you suck at hills”. I do. I couldn’t get mad at him for that!
The hills miles clocked in at 8:02. I remember during the last 0.1 of the mile desperately trying to get my split below 8 and obviously failing. But still, I’m actually pleased with that hilly mile. I also tried to take water on the run doing that “fold to make a spout” thing with my cup and getting water up my nose. Epic fail.
My plan for the last two miles was stolen from Emily’s Cherry Blossom 10 mile race recap, where the last two miles were all about survival. I just had to keep running dammit. I tried doing some math in my head about potential times and paces but it was just a distraction from the fact that my legs felt like they were moving through thick thick tar mixed with a side of molasses and cement. And when I did hear my breathing through my headphones, I sounded like a hippo trying it drink and breathe at the same time.
Mile 5 is actually a really fun mile to run, as its mostly downhill, and I got another 7:43 mile here. Seeing the mile 5 sign then gave me hope that I only had around 8 more minutes of pain to make it through. My body felt miserable, my mind felt miserable because my body did, but somehow my legs, which felt so slow, actually picked up speed, and the last mile was 7:36. I even had a sprint at the end to pass some random dude, and my 0.2 was 7:28 pace. Total time: 48:49 (love the symmetry!), with a 7:53 pace. Interestingly, a bit better than my McMillan prediction, so that’s even better!
Post race was very chaotic, with too many people trying to get water, apple, bagels, stoats bars. For the most part NYRR does a great job with race organization, but it should think about the post race logistics a little more. I ended up not getting anything, as it was too much work.
All in all, I was really pleased with this 10 performance, even if it did make me want to sleep all afternoon. I still am no fan of the distance, but it’s not quite the nemesis I had made it out to be.
Did you race this race. Another race this weekend? Is there a distance you hate?