Anyway, I was sporting my black short sleeve Livestrong shirt since I am going to dedicate this racing season to my cousin and her son (check out the tally so far, $1400 raised). I knew this race would be flat and I could use all the help I could get because the weather has been creating havoc for me and my running. I have never had a problem in the past with pollen, but for some reason this year has been rough. I don't have sinus troubles, but my breathing has been a bit more labored when I run outside.
There were about 330 people at the start. I assumed my position in the middle of the pack and when the gun went off I started out nice and easy. I had a goal to finish under a certain time and knew if I paced myself I could do it. The race started on South Oyster Bay Road and at some point we turned off. I don't know Nassau County that well so I can't tell you most of the streets we were on. I do remember getting to the 1st water station thinking "Great, I can pour some cool water over my head." So I cruise towards the volunteer and grab a cup and pour it on the back of my neck - except the fact that I MISSED THE BACK OF MY NECK!! I wound up pouring it behind me instead. Jackass. So I keep on moving. I pass the 1 mile marker and see the clock giving the splits. I am a little ahead of where I want to be for the 1st mile. I knew that I would pay it back over the next 2 miles.
We were winding our way through the residential areas and then approached Stewart Ave near Bethpage High School. There was a car wash on the left and suddenly the air temperature seemed like it shot up 20 degrees. The sun was beating down and the wind was blocked and I guess with all the car emissions from the car wash provided the feeling of running through hell. But I just thought to myself, this isn't that bad. I never had to go through rounds of chemo and radiation so I had no reason to complain. Just keep the feet moving. Now I made my way onto Stewart Ave and knew I'd be heading back towards the finish. I moved to the left side of the road (this is a 4 lane road that the police blocked off for the race) since I knew I'd have to make a left soon. The cruel joke here is that as I made my way up the road, the next water stop was on the right!! No way was I going to waste steps and time to get a cup of water that I was probably going to mess up pouring over myself again.
I look ahead and could see the light at the end of the tunnel - it's the left turn to get back onto S. OB Road. I remembered the address of the facility so I looked for the first house number to see how far I had to go. I was at 800 S. OB Road and needed to get to 950 S. OB Road. My legs were getting heavy but I had to hang on. I had my iPod on and I got a huge lift from Springsteen singing "Born to Run". It carried my through to the finish. I picked it up because I did not want anyone to pass me. When I made the last turn into the parking lot just before the finish, I almost had a near collision with a stroller. Seriously, what is it with these damn kids and getting in my way! This woman was pushing her stroller in the same direction I was running and she didn't hear the volunteer tell her to stop and not cross where I would be running. There was no way I was going to alter my course so I just called out "hey! hey! hey!" and she stopped. It would have made for a great story if I collided with a stroller (to go along with the story about how I ran two kids over with my bicycle in another race). But there is no story to tell here. I finished 31 seconds under my projected finish time and I have to be happy with that. The last few weeks of school took it's toll on my and my fitness. It was hard to get all of my workouts in. Plus hurting my back did not help either.
So I crossed the finish line with no incident. I grabbed a cup of water and walked over to the food line. They had pudding, bagels, bananas, apples, and muffins. I took the fruit and a bagel. Skipped the soda and stuck with water.
My sister did the 2 mile "noncompetitive" walk. I call bullcrap on that one. If there is a starting line, then there is no such thing as a "noncompetitive" event. She is developing that killer instinct of trample the weak, hurdle the dead. She set her Tony in her sites and gutted it out. She said she wants to start doing more of the 5k's this summer so looks like I might do some more races this year than in years past.