Friday, June 10, 2011

Pre-Race Ritual

It's the NYRR Mini 10K race tomorrow morning, so today I made my usual pilgrimage to the New York Road Runner's (NYRR) building on the Upper East Side to pick up my race number.

NYRR opens its doors to the racing public for the two afternoons preceeding the race so that runners can pick up their number in good time, rather than on the morning of the race.

The NYRR building, complete with Mini 10K hopefuls

I've never fancied the last minute, race morning number pick up. As it is, you have to get up at the crack of dawn to eat, drink a ton of water to rehydrate yourself after a night's sleep and give yourself time to pee it all out again. Charming, I know, but rather that than run round the course dying for the toilet. After 2 kids, my pelvic floor isn't up to that, I can tell you. Then there's the small matter of actually getting to the race (the New York subway system has an uncanny ability to disrupt service over the weekend, so that always adds an extra little challenge). You have to drop off your baggage, go to the toilet (again), warm up and get to your starting corral before the race kicks off. The Mini 10K is an all female race too, so god knows what the toilet situation will be like. Imagine thousands of women, all desperate for the loo (as, yes, they too have gulped down their own bodyweight in water), sharing around 30 portable loos. It wasn't pretty at the More/Fitness Magazine Half Marathon back in April, and I'm sure it won't be pretty tomorrow. So stuff trying to pick up my race number in the morning, I was getting it sorted today.

Whilst I don't really appreciate the schlep from Brooklyn to the Upper East Side, I do quite enjoy the whole number pick up ritual. It's always a really buzzy atmosphere, as hundreds of people stream in and out of the building to pick up their race gubbins. It's a people watcher's paradise, and I love checking out the competition, who range in age from teenagers to octogenarians and come from all walks of life.

T-shirt pick up

Number pick up

Plus, picking up my number makes me feel like a real runner and it's at this point that I start to get pretty excited about the race.

Thank you, nice smiley man, for presenting me with my race number.

The free t-shirt is always a bonus too, and this one, although predictably and gender-stereotypically pink, is kind of nice, don't you think?

But it was the slogan on the charity t-shirt that had me welling up (I am known to be a bit of a cryer, but managed to rein it in).

This year's Mini 10K is dedicated to the memory of Grete Waitz, five time winner of the Mini 10K and nine time winner of the NYC Marathon. Tomorrow's race is also the 40th anniversary of the race, so it's a really special year to run it.

So while thousands of women go through their own pre-race rituals tonight, wish us all luck and think of us tomorrow morning as we run for Grete, for ourselves and for the sheer bloody thrill of it.


Louise Olney said...

Loving the blog :). Good luck for run today, you almost make me want to start running too! X

The Grazing Cow said...

Good luck for the run. I love how excited you are... I have to say, I'd only be feeling dread. However, with you and your blog in mind, I decided to test myself today with a jog. My general fitness drive has made an impact and managed to run for 45 mins with only 2 x 1 minute walking breaks during it. The last 15mins was pretty hard or even perhaps a bit boring but I kept thinking of YOU and your determination and I did it. Thanks.

Lindsay Owen said...

Thanks for the comments ladies! Am particularly chuffed to have provided some inspiration on your run today, Karen. 45 mins is brilliant! I have to say that there are times when running longer distances can get a bit boring, especially if you're always running the same route. I say mix it up a bit, run somewhere new, or run with a friend so you can chat. I've also discovered audio books which I listen to on long runs.... makes running long distances much more appealing!