Yesterday I sort of raced the NYRR Gridiron Classic with my 13yo daughter Amanda. I say "sort of" since I've been trying to actually follow the doctors advice to not run to help my injuries heal. Some days are better than others but I haven't really ran in weeks. Amanda felt she was out of shape but there are different degrees of "out of shape" too.
It is odd to "sort of" race rather than to really race. First, what to wear? The weather was expected to be cold and it was. Official race temp was 17 degrees with reported wind of 9mph (I'm sure that was sustained since it felt the wind was howling at times). I wore my regular winter race clothes but added a hoodie and a pair looser fleece pants.
The race sold out at about 5000 faithful. My sister showed up to race the race, couldn't register, but ran it anyway. People were so bundled up you couldn't tell who was officially racing and who was not.
At race start, Amanda shed a layer and gave it to me. I figure since I was walking the course, what was the difference if I carried the stuff or not. I saw my bother in law and since he wasn't racing, he offered to carry Amanda's stuff and meet her at the finish.
I started at the back and I started walking fairly quickly. I wasn't shaking my butt like one of those race walkers nor waving my arms crazy like those power walkers. I've run this course a lot before but was able to look around more at the surroundings. I also had a difference cast of "race-mates" in the back of the pack. Many walkers, some slow joggers, older folks keeping fit, etc. It was an interesting crowd.
I found my competitive instinct kicking in from time to time. Looking at someone to reel in (remember to not run and only walk), attacking that hill (remember to not run and only walk), checking out my pace on the Garmin where I normally do to see how I'm doing (again, having to look at the shock at the time and remember I was, you guess it, only walking).
They did an interesting thing and split the lanes in the middle of the race course. People who thought the Saints would win should run in the left lane and Colts fans in the right. This unofficial poll showed 2/3 of the runners were Saints fans. Good job on this change NYRR.
I walk quickly though and actually passed some people who were running. My mile splits were all under 15:00 and my final time was 59:30. I finished a little faster than I hoped and was happy. I didn't feel any worse for the wear.
At the finish line I quickly found my sister and my daughter. They both said that raced well. Amanda said it was crowded where she was running but she took it easy and didn't try to push it. She did have a fail, as she calls it, at the water stop when she went to take a sip out of a cup but found it frozen. She threw it on the ground and then found that only the top layer of the water was frozen. Underneath there was enough water to drench the poor soul next to her. Other than that we really didn't notice the cold. I found I had too many layers on to even "sort of" race.
When we got home we found Amanda came in 8th in her age group and got something they call "honor roll". She improved her time from last year and her place too (she was 10th last year). This was the third year I've done this race and it is becoming a Super Bowl Sunday tradition. Hopefully next year, I'll run it and won't be "sort of" running it.