On Thursday I ran in the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge 3.5 Mile run in Central Park. The event is designed to get office workers out of the office and doing something active. They hold the race in several cities throughout the year and then have a championship race back here in New York City in October where they invite all the other city winners and top corporate teams from around the country/world.
It was a pretty awesome thing to run in. I had previously done a race like this for the Dallas Turkey Trot, but at the time I hadn’t been training at all and just kinda ran till it hurt and walked a lot of the way.
As I have posted before, I’ve been running 9 minute miles on the treadmill, and in the past month, I’d been running for 30 minutes 5 times a week. Meaning I was running 3.25 miles and the cooldown was taking me to 3.5 . I figured that since running on a treadmill and running in a park with slopes and curves are so completely different, I’d really be pressing to maintain that sort of pace for all 3.5 miles.
My goals for this run were to not have to walk any and to finish in under 45 minutes. To my astonishment, I succeeded on both counts.
I started back at the “Non-competitive” start line because after reading what type of runners they wanted at the competitive start (people who could run 6 minute miles the whole course). They even had these nice little markers along the street to note different running paces. I stood next to the 10 minute mile marker and thought I’d be good managing that.
Well, that put several thousand people in front of me. And looking back, I probably should have started in the 8 minute mile area to get ahead of a lot of people. There were certainly a lot of people that shouldn’t have started so close to the front, since they were quickly passed. Some of them started out walking from there, which was certainly against the race rules since walkers were supposed to start further back than were I started.
Anyway, the starting horn goes off and we are stuck waiting for all the people in front of us to get moving. And sadly, there’s not race clock at the start line, so I really have no idea how much time passed from when the race started to when I actually crossed the start line.
I ran fairly well. It was very crowded at first, and I had to watch my pace. There were some downhill parts early, and slowing myself down on them was tough. By the time I passed the 1 mile marker, the clock there said 16 minutes had elapsed, and in my mind, I was thinking “No way I’m running that slow.”
By mile 2, the crowd was still thick, but it was certainly starting to thin out. I was feeling pretty good. My pace was good, I had a sweat going and I felt like I could certainly keep it up. I think one of the things that helped me with my pace was all the other runners. Having so many people around gave me inspiration (and more importantly) paces to match. The clock at the second mile said 25 and a half minutes, so I knew then that I was running roughly 9 to 10 minute miles.
By the time I reached the 3rd mile marker, I was starting to hurt a little bit. I got one of those pains in my side. I kept on going though, as I was so close. The time then was 35 minutes. So I was keeping my 9 to 10 minute pace.
Turning the final turn into the finish line, I was so glad to see it coming. I was drenched through with sweat, but by that time I had run through the pain in my side and was just pushing my legs to keep going. The time when I crossed the finish like was 39:50. I figure I need to subtract about 5 to 6 minutes from that to get my real time. So I’m guessing 34 to 35 minutes to run the whole thing.
I found Maggie waiting for me at the end of the race and she was smiling and was so proud that I had finished. I told her I didn’t have to walk any and that I had come in faster than my expectations. We stood around a little bit with the rest of my corporate team and then we left the park in search of dinner.
I had one more goal originally, and that was to beat our CEO in the race. That was until I saw him and knew immediately he was a runner. He finished in something like 24 minutes. The second executive to cross the finish line, they kept tabs since that was one of the races within the race going on.
There were over 15,000 people there representing over 500 companies. It was quite an event. And just to note, the men’s winner ran the course in just over 17 minutes. or roughly 5 minute miles. Not too shabby.