Name of the race: New Balance NYRR 5th Ave Mile
Where: 5th Ave, Manhattan, NY
Date: Sept 3, 2016
Time: 8:00 am (my heat Woman 35-39 was at 9:40 am)
Distance: 1 mile
Terrain: Down 5th Ave from 80th St. to 60th St.
Entry fee: $30
Swag: Gender specific t-shirt and free race photos
Post-race Food: Apple, bagels, and water
Performance: Overall 2731/6139; Gender 559/27622; Age (35-39) 559/440
Weather: 69 degrees, 78% humidity
I did this race two years ago and had a magical time (6:37 PR!). As much as I love the Brooklyn Half, I think the 5th Ave Mile might actually be my favorite NYRR race. Starting from 8 am, scores of runners race down 5th Ave in heats until its culmination that ends with the elite pros in the early afternoon. It’s a fun race to spectate and to meet some of the greatests in running.
I speculated that I could run a 6:2X mile. It’d be a big PR. After of a summer lackluster paces, I was ready for a little affirmation that hot summer runs pay off in PRs. This was it. This was my test. The 5th Ave Mile is a PR-friendly course. Aside from a slight uphill in the second quarter, it’s downhill all the way with time clocks every .25 mile so you knew if you were on track on not.
My heart was pounding before the start. I rarely get nervous before races, but I was amped up for this one. I flew down the first quarter. I glanced at my Garmin. I was on pace for a 6:20’ish mile. I heard my name being yelled out. It was from a PPTC team member, but I couldn’t tell who. Anyway, I was on my way to running glory.
As I hit the slight incline portion, my legs suddenly quit on me. I was done. My legs politely sent a note to my brain saying, “Hi, this was fun, but we’re done. We’re tired from the miles of marathon training. We’ll see you at the finish line.” As such as I yearn to churn out a furious pace, my legs refused. Mentally I sighed and resigned myself to seeing what I could do.
Around the halfway mark, I heard more yelling. More members from the PPTC cheering. It was good seeing them and hearing them.
After the third quarter, I could see the time clock for the finish. So close and yet so far. Seconds ticked away. I saw my old time go by. Tick, tick, tick. Finally I crossed at 6:44. Slower by 7 seconds.
I gave it a good effort. I got the post-race food of apples and bagels (can’t believe they feed us even for a mile race) and walked back up to look for Ben and Bandit. I saw my teammates who cheered for me, thanked them, and then talked about the race and other runs that have been going on.
Unfortunately we couldn’t stay longer to watch the elites because we had to head north for our Labor Day getaway. Normally this would make me sad because Leo Manzano was running in the elite heat and I’m a HUGE Manzano fan, but I actually got to meet him earlier in the week. From his tweets, I found out that he was running the Hoka One One Long Island Mile Wednesday night. The race was held in the evening not far from my work, so I simply worked late and then drove over.
I had fun watching the various heats run their mile, including the race walkers. Finally it was show time with Leo Manzano and company. It was thrilling watching these people run. After the race, all the elites were swamped with fans. The race director promised us that the elites would stay to sign autographs for every fan so we didn’t need to panic. It took me a while to find Leo. I bounced from one big crowd to another. Finally I found him.
Strategically I had worn my Leo Manzano shirt, which is a shirt that he started selling in 2014 after he lost his Nike sponsorship. I quietly planted myself in front of him where he could easily see him. He was busy signing autographs. As he handed a signed program back to a fan, he saw me, or rather my shirt, smiled widely and signaled with his hands t hands that he would get to me quickly. After signing another fan’s brochure, he waved me over and thanked me for my support. He signed my shirt, my program, and gave me one of his numbers that he had worn for the race. Then I took a selfie with him. I babbled on about what a big fan I was. He was super nice (like always) and I was so happy and excited that I got to see him up close again. The last time I had this close contact with him was two years ago at the 5th Ave Mile.
Let’s see how many miles we go before I see Leo Manzano again.