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5K on the Runway

Sunday’s race was a 5K on one of the runways at JFK airport. It was a fundraiser for the JFK Airport Rotary club. It’s always a nice event, there are many groups participating and it’s a very warm, inviting bunch of people. It’s a small race, around 300 people, both runners and walkers. My goal was not to try for a new PR, but just to hit about 22 minutes. I am not in 5K shape AT all, so hitting 7-minute-miles was just fine with me. That, and I didn’t want to start of my marathon training sore and tired.

I was awake before 6 to have my oatmeal and get to the train. I anticipated a long trip because the subway on the weekend is always slow. Sure enough, I found myself waiting forever for trains, readjusting my route due to rerouting, and trying to look around the subway for other runners to see if they wanted to head above ground and share a cab… But I made it. Registration was a zoo, but I finally got my number, chip, t-shirt, and changed into running shorts. The day was chilly but not frigid. We were bussed to the start line at the runway, and it was then the wind became apparent. I did a short warm-up with stretching and some striders and took my place towards the front of the group. There were no instructions to the crowd to line up by pace, except for making sure the sub-20 minute runners were ahead of the gaggle of children all wanting to be “first.” I knew I wouldn’t run sub-20, but I stuck to the back of this lead group. We had to stand around for a while, about 15-20 minutes, as there were some late-comers and problems with the computer system. By the time we finally started, my legs were cold again and my warm-up had gone to waste.

The course was an out-and-back down the tarmac. I fell into a fast-but-comfy pace the first mile, and I probably hit it in about 7:20 (there was not a marker at Mile 1). I picked up the pace a bit after one mile into the turn-around. Upon turning around, I hit a brick wall in the form of the wind. It was intense and my stride and pace definitely fell because of it. I tried to just keep my legs moving and my effort constant through the 2 mile mark. As I grew accustomed to the constant wind, I was able to fall back into a groove and pick it up a bit. I didn’t get a split here. I felt fine, with the only problem being extremely phlegmy and needing to spit about every 10 seconds. This definitely affected my breathing a bit, but I just plowed on. The last mile was time to concentrate on form and cadence to a strong finish.

I came across the line in 22:22 – and whether it’s true or not, I’m blaming it on the wind. The post-race was nice, we sat around eating bananas and frozen ice waiting for the awards ceremony. I was the second female finisher behind a woman who ran 21:low. It was a fun morning, despite the wind.

5K in 22:22 (7:12 min/mile)

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