I have an article on running in the works, but in the meantime, here are some pictures from the 10k I ran in Central Park this past Saturday. Since 1972, the annual Oakley Mini 10k has been a "celebration of women runners," the joint vision of elite runners Nina Kuscsik and Kathrine Switzer. It's known as the original women-only road race, and the "mini" in the name is derived from the mini skirt, which was popular in the 70's (believe me, there was nothing mini about the course). Only 72 women ran the 1972 race, but two weeks later, Title IX was signed into law, allowing women the right to compete in school sports. This year, there were 7,874 total finishers, and the winner, Mary Keitany of Kenya, ran the hilly course in an impressive 31:15.
After the first 5k, this race was very difficult for me. It was 80 degrees by 8:30am with 56 percent humidity. We ran the Central Park loop clockwise with its many rolling hills and unshaded expanses, and at several points - especially the Harlem Hill - I was so hot I thought I was going to explode. As I passed the Guggenheim and the MET on the Upper East, all I could think of was my air-conditioned apartment a mere 5 blocks away, and the "Why am I doing this?" track began to play in my head. Thankfully, some upbeat songs kicked in on my playlist at that point and I resolved to keep running, if only very slowly. The worst part of the race was the last 400 meters, an uphill slog to the finish line. It's usually fun to sprint down the chute with the crowds cheering you on, but I really really wanted to walk this time. I didn't allow myself to do that, and I finished in a reasonable time, but I've never been so relieved to have a race behind me. Air-conditioned gyms are nice, but I suppose I'll have to do some serious hot weather training if I want to perform well in another summer race longer than a 5k.