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~ Nothing Mini about it ~

June 14, 2010

NYRR Mini 10k  June 12th 2010

Official time  1.05.39   10.35 min/mile

This is a race I look forward to every year.   Not really because it’s an all woman race, which it is, but because of the support and fun that surrounds it.   The buzz starts early when NYRR announces which elite woman runners will be participating in the Mini 10k.   You may be wondering why its called a Mini 10k.   So was I so I looked it up.

A Short History of the Mini:

On June 3, 1972, New York Road Runners staged the world’s first road race exclusively for female participants, the 6-mile Crazylegs Mini Marathon. To understand how extraordinary this achievement was and to appreciate how far the Mini has come since then you must travel back to a time when distance running was a very different pastime than it is today.

In 1972, the “running boom” had not yet hit. Distance running was a fringe activity practiced by a few dedicated souls. The New York City Marathon had been run but twice, with a mere 55 finishers the first year (1970) and 164 the second (1971).

As marginal as distance running was among the population as a whole, it was even more esoteric as an activity for women. In most road races the number of female finishers could be counted on one hand. In fact, not a single woman finished the first New York City Marathon and only three crossed the line in the race’s second running.

But by 1972 things were starting to change for women runners. In April, women were permitted to officially enter the renowned Boston Marathon for the first time. In June, President Nixon signed into law the landmark Title IX legislation, which mandated equal funding for women’s sports programs that receive federal aid. In Munich in September, the women’s 1500 meters was run for the first time at the Olympic Games. All the while, female participation in road races while still tiny compared to men’s participation was slowly, steadily growing.

Despite these significant inroads, many running events still did not officially recognize women, and plenty of people including Olympic officials believed that women were physically incapable of running long distances. In New York City, a small group of women and one man were determined to do something to change the public perception of women runners and open doors of opportunity for them. Nina Kuscsik, the 1972 Boston Marathon winner; Kathrine Switzer, who had finished that race wearing a number in 1967 despite officials’ attempts to drag her from the course; and New York City Marathon co-director Fred Lebow, a champion of women’s equality, decided to launch a women-only road race.

Lebow signed on Johnson’s Wax as the race’s sponsor. The company which made a women’s shaving gel called Crazylegs had contacted him about putting on a women’s marathon, but Lebow talked them into a more manageable 6-mile “mini” marathon, named after the miniskirt, then the height of fashion.

Lebow, Kuscsik, Switzer, and others recruited participants in schools, bars, and even among Playboy bunnies. The Crazylegs Mini Marathon drew 78 women a huge turnout for the time from all over the country. The race was won by Jacqueline Dixon of California in 37:02, with Kuscsik third and Switzer sixth.

The Mini has been on the NYRR annual calendar ever since that historic first running. By 1977 participation had grown to 2,277; it was 5,807 in 1979.

Cool huh?

I went into this race with no plan and zero expectations.  I was also running it naked.   I got to Columbus Circle about 45 minutes before race start and there was not one runner in the corrals yet.  I had plenty of time to check my bag, use the porta potty and then get into my corral.   I was surrounded by woman.  Lots of them.  It felt just a bit claustrophobic to me but then again, I am not good in crowds.   So, no fault of NYRR.

Both Kara Goucher and Paula Radcliffe were slated to run this race.  Both of them are pregnant and both are due on the same day.   How cool is that?   Anyway, it was announced that Kara wasn’t going to be running the race and I later read she had a back injury that was keeping her from running.   The gun went off, we were off and there was Kara giving out high fives of support.   You better believe I got that high five.   It was interesting because not only did I feel her support, but I think she felt all of our support, including mine.   She had a huge smile on her face and you could tell she was just taking it all in.

I got into a groove, I guess and just keep running easy.   We were on Central Park West, a nice flat stretch and I felt good.   At 90th Street we took a right and headed into Central Park where we were treated to a cornucopia of hills, rolling hills, downhills and flats.   I loved it.   I ran up every hill without a walk break.   I had to.  The downhills were nice too.  I did take 3 30 second walk breaks half way into the race.  I wasn’t really running fast and perhaps that is my downfall in races.  I just don’t get into the speed like I should.  I think to myself, I have all the time in the world, yet I really don’t.  I just sort of run along.

Like I said earlier, I really had no plan and wouldn’t be devestated if I ran a slow race.   Well, the one and only plan I did have was to beat last years time of 1.12.07. I pretty much knew that unless some unforseen crazy thing happened, that I would easily beat that time.   And I did.   So mission accomplished.

I do not have splits for this race.   I remember hitting the 5k point at 31.45.  So the 2nd half of this race was much slower timewise.   No negative split here.   I did cross the finish line with my arms up in the air.   And a smile on my face.

After the race, I met up with some wonderful friends for brunch.

The Zensah Mafia at Harry’s Burritos.

Running is all about running and all about bettering yourself in the process.   Running is all about inspiring and motivating not only yourself but others.   Running is a sport within a sport.   There is so much to learn and take in, it can be mind boggling.   I try to keep it simple though.   No need to confuse something that I love.  And I sure do love running.  I was speaking to my friend Michelle about this very thing and we both agree, running is a huge part of our lives and has made us better people.   Running has given to me so much that I want to give back in some way.

So, nothing Mini about that Mini 10k.  I highly recommend this race.   I now have 8+1 towards my 9+1.  That means that after June 24th when I run the New York Wall Street 3 Miler I will have run 9 NYRR races and volunteered at 1 race.  My obligation will be fulfilled and if all goes according to plan, I will run the New York CIty Marathon next year.

“If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.”
– Malcolm X.

“The reason we race isn’t so much to beat each other,… but to be with each other.”
— Christopher McDougall

13 Comments leave one →
  1. June 14, 2010 7:35 pm

    Great report! And Great Race! Woot!

  2. June 14, 2010 8:14 pm

    nice post!!! brunch was great. we had a lovely morning/afternoon. thanks for the shout out! too bad my eyes are closed in the photo.

  3. June 14, 2010 8:15 pm

    Great recap! I ran this race too and loved it! I won’t post my recap until next Tues though, I like to wait for the brightroom photos first. You did great and I am so envious about how you just enjoy yourself. I’m always thinking about time and am too competitive with myself.

    I’m in the Zensah mafia too, although my sleeves are skin colored and don’t usually show in pics!

  4. June 14, 2010 8:25 pm

    Well done. How about a comment on that first picture:

    I disagree with McDougall; we race to be ourselves, to be the best we can be.

  5. June 14, 2010 11:20 pm

    Nice job! Sounds like a lot of fun to be a part of such a special race.

  6. June 15, 2010 2:37 am

    Love the race report and the group photo is priceless. You look so happy.

    Congrats on (another) great day in the Big Apple.

    All the best,


  7. June 15, 2010 3:48 am

    Look at all of you – all colorful! It looks like you guys had a LOT of fun.

  8. June 15, 2010 3:28 pm

    Hey Michelle!

    It was great to see you out there! Sorry I had to miss brunch 😦

    Nice race report, thanks for the history lesson and your always positive outlook 🙂

  9. June 15, 2010 8:13 pm

    I would run 10K for some hairy burritos 🙂 Nice legs and great job!!!

  10. June 16, 2010 10:47 pm

    You were able to put in words what I think so often but can’t express. Truly inspirational post! And I want to bring back leg warmers!

  11. June 17, 2010 12:29 am

    congrats on the 10k! i love that photo of kara and paula. have you washed your hand since high-fiving kara? lol. love the picture of you and your friends too – the calf sleeves, awesome!

  12. June 17, 2010 3:01 pm

    Well done, Michelle! I’ll definitely have to stick around for brunch the next time before going home to nap. 😛

    I loved high-fiving Kara Goucher! It totally energized me.

  13. June 18, 2010 12:21 am

    I figure a quick note is in order in light of the back-and-forth on Twitter; 140 characters won’t suffice. This is a bit rambling. It’s how my brain sometimes works.

    I recommend Daniels as a way to learn the basics of running and the basics of training and the basics of workouts. One should always know the purpose of a workout. Your hill workout, for example, although not among those covered by Daniels is really a repeat workout with a bit of strength-training. I found it a fascinating read (and I’m no scientist).

    This is important. You don’t want to run a workout too fast, or too slow. The whole “Running Formula,” whether you buy it or not, is to come up with the appropriate pace for the various types of workouts (which are easy, interval, tempo, and repeats). A 40 minute 10Ker, for example will run these at a different pace from a 50 or 60 minute one. Not too fast, not too slow. (Importantly, the pace depends on not to what one aspires but to one’s current fitness, determined by a recent race result. So early in a cycle one might have a 5-miler in X and use that to determine paces. Later the race result might be quicker, and the workout pace is adjusted accordingly. And there are on-line calculators one uses for this. I use this one: )

    I use these principles in general to define a “racer.” To me, that’s someone dedicated to running as fast as she is able to run. This, in turn, requires the dedication to following a solid training plan. For Daniels, that starts with periodization. 24 weeks of training for a target race. 4 phases, with a different emphasis in each.

    In the end, though, one need not follow Daniels’s schedules. When I coached a few years back, I set workouts up by taking those schedules and adapting it. But one thing I did was have everyone do the the same workout, although each person doing it at the pace appropriate for her (and we had a wide-range of paces in the club).

    I found that getting the structure helped me improve. This is pretty basic stuff, but the secret to improvement is not gadgets or the latest shoes (on that, I found a line that I like and have been wearing them for years now, the key being that I’m not injured very much, which is saying something for one of my age). It’s understanding what you’re doing and doing it.

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