On Friday afternoon, I got an email from Betsy asking if I wanted to watch the Knickerbocker 60k in Central Park on Saturday morning, and perhaps jump in for a couple laps to pace one of her friends that was running. Since I get a bit too excited about most running related things, I thought it sounded like a great idea! So away we went on Saturday morning.
We had a light jog over to Central Park and found the starting area, which is where the timing mat for the loop is. For those of you who don’t know, this 60k is basically nine four mile loops in Central Park, with a little added on at the beginning to make it 60k. So basically, the runners are running in circles for a really long time. It wasn’t too long until we saw our runner, Megan, come through finishing her third lap, so after she grabbed a gel, we jumped in with her. Betsy has mentioned Megan to me before, but I’ve never actually met her…so along we ran. The pace was slow, around 9-9:30 per mile…I mean, she was running a 60k after running the NYC Marathon two weeks ago! Basically, we ran along and chatted.
The first loop went well, and I realized what a bare bones event this was. Some volunteers were stationed at the turns to make sure people…turned, and some were along the west side with cow bells and at one fluid station along the west side, but other than that…nothing really. Just people with numbers running in Central Park for a loooooong time. Some people cheered, other people got in the way. Good times.
Betsy hopped off after the first lap to take some pictures, so Megan and I continued on. Second verse, same as the first! Megan was doing awesome and we were taking it slow. We caught up to another runner that Megan had been playing leapfrog with, so he ran with us for a little bit…this was a common theme as we passed and got passed by other runners, as runners are a chatty bunch so it was nice to talk to random people during the run!
We attempted to find Betsy for lap number three, but apparently she had jumped in for a lap with another runner, so Megan and I kept going. I didn’t actually know how much I wanted to run, but I was thinking a fourteen mile run would be good for the day, which would be three laps plus the run to and from Central Park. Please continue reading to see how that didn’t happen…haha. Megan was still doing awesome, and I had to keep reminding myself that she had been running for two hours before we showed up…she looked great for lap three.
At lap four, we found Betsy again and she jumped back in with us. I felt great and was having fun, so I figured I would keep running as well. Why not? It was a beautiful day for a run! Temperature was great and the leaves are changing in Central Park…plus, no pressure since it wasn’t a run for me! Away we went. Betsy and Megan know a guy who takes awesome race photographs for their team, so he snapped a couple pictures as we ran by. Definitely better than some of the marathon shots I’ve had.
Nice picture, right? And look how pretty it is in the park! We kept running along, and I wasn’t sure if Megan was going to be annoyed that we were running with her for so long (don’t want to be a bother!), but she said it was helpful to have people running with her…if I was running nine loops in Central Park, I think I’d want some company too.
We got to the end of lap four, and Betsy jumped out for the loop…the plan was I’d run the fifth loop with Megan and Betsy would take the last lap. Why not? Megan was holding on strong, walking some on the uphills (which is an ultramarathon tactic, I’ve been told) but otherwise running along like she could do this all day! I refrained from ever saying the horrid, “You’re almost there!” phrase that everyone hates…but Megan was rocking! We ran past two men who had done the same 50k as Megan earlier this year, so that was a fun distraction for a little while.
Finally……we made it to the last lap. Betsy hopped in and I decided to keep going…why not? Made it this far and I felt fine, so it was time to get Megan through the end of this 60k! Betsy asked if she wanted to walk a part of a downhill (I know how much they can hurt!), but Megan replied, “I know it’s going to hurt either way, so we might as well get this over with.” Alright then! We kept running and eventually said our final farewell to the west side…literally almost there! (Betsy said it, not me.) As we headed down the east side with about half a mile to go, we passed a guy wearing a lot of bright orange. He decided to finish strong with us, keeping up with us as we reached the finish line. When we could finally see it, Megan and Mr. Orange Man took off (the best they could?) and crossed the finish line after 37.2 miles. Betsy and I (obviously) cut over to the side and waited to congratulate Megan on her finish! 60k is a longggg way to go, in case you were wondering.
Overall, I ended up running about 25.2 miles for the day…if you add in the walk back to my apartment from the park, that puts me over 26.2 miles for the day…hahahhah I guess that’s marathon #7?? Anyway, the run felt great at the slower pace and I definitely don’t feel like I just ran a marathon. For numbers sake:
Saturday, November 20
25.25 miles in 3:50:02, avg pace of 9:07
Annnnd I’m at 57 miles for the week…haha. Anyway, this gives me hope because I always thought that it would be fun to pace a marathon (I’m weird…), but I usually have some sort of a crash at the end of my marathons where I drop off my pace…gotta work on that. However, at the slower pace I felt great and like I could run forever, so I definitely think it would be awesome to try holding the balloons for runners. Does anyone know how to get involved in something like that??
it’s a small world after all
Betsy always runs into people she knows from either high school or college, and while we were running I mentioned that that’s never happened to me in NYC. I know I haven’t been here long, but still! Anyway, at the end of the race, I spotted two girls who looked REALLY familiar….so I walked up to them and told them so. “Did you go to Fremd??” (My high school.) Ding ding ding! They were both like, “OMG YES!” I asked what one of the girls’ names was, and she told me…definitely recognized the name, but I wasn’t sure how I would have known her…maybe band? Anyway, not too many of us from the Chicago area venture out to NYC, so it is a bit of a random spotting…One of them just finished the 60k (woo!). We exchanged numbers and hopefully will meet up sometime! Too funny since I was just saying how I never randomly see people. Gotta love it.