This morning’s Gridiron Classic took place amid perfect conditions in the park. It’s days like this that make outdoor running a treat and help me produce exceptional performances that continue to improve upon my previous best.Today’s race was scheduled to start at 9am, slightly later than typical race schedules but the opportunity to grab an extra hour in bed was very much appreciated.
Starting on the East side around 68th St., the course wound up the East side and across the 102nd St. transverse. The initial stretch took in a slight incline as the path approached the museum and then leveled off until we turned southbound on the West side. My split times were looking good through the first half of the race, hitting the first mile at 8:20 and the second mile at 16:30. I knew I had plenty in the gas tank for a short 4 mile course and was looking to produce a fast time, somewhere below 33 minutes.
Even though I have run the park on a number of occasions, for some reason the hills on the West side really took a lot out of me over the remainder of the course. I definitely clawed back some time on the downhill stretches, but with at least two long drags in the second half of the race there was very little opportunity for me to pull more time back and set a really blazing speed.
I covered the third mile in 8:15 and as I approached the finish at West 68 St., had barely enough left to cross the line in just under 33 minutes. Despite the struggles, it was still my best time and pace for a race in the few short months I have been running. That’s all I can really ask for at this point.