Well I was super-excited for this race! I was looking forward to beating my time from last year when I ran this race for the first time and finished at 2:19:27. After a sunny and warm weekend, race day was cloudy and chilly (40 degrees). Thankfully the rain was holding off until the late afternoon. My biggest fan was with me once again, my husband Mike. ??♂️We arrived in Manhattan early, secured a good parking spot and stayed warm until 7:20am, when we left the car to make our way to the start at Central Park,West Side at 72nd Street; I was in corral I. After a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem from Tony Award winner, Cynthia Erivo, all of us ladies were ready to run. I started off slow and steady keeping in mind all that I have learned from my group training sessions. Once around to the East Side, encountered some smaller hills first then ascended Cat Hill. Cat Hill is steep but doable, at least on the first go around! Continuing along the East Side, pausing for a Gatorade, I was feeling good. As we made our way to the point where we turn north to run back around towards the West Side of Central Park, I knew the inevitable was coming, ascending Harlem Hill! After another Gatorade stop, I was giving it all I had to get up this hill-it’s steep! I felt good that I was keeping up with the 2:15/10:17 pacer group. A lot of cheers from the group I was running with once we got to the top! Now to continue on through the rolling hills, the three hills on the West Side. I was continuing at a good pace as I reached the starting point, the one hour mark. If I kept this pace up I could finish in two hours and a few minutes. Yes!! Continuing on back around for my second loop there were so many people cheering us on! My biggest fan-my husband-was there by the 72nd street transverse which will be the finish line the next time I come around. He had his camera and his cell phone out taking video and pictures. I waved and smiled so he would see me, stopped for a quick kiss, and continued on my second loop. Now I knew what the course had in store for me, as I’ve run this race before. I stopped for another Gatorade and was determined as ever to ascend Harlem Hill a second time. As I approached the hill, I was pushing myself, I just kept talking to myself, “be comfortable with uncomfortable”, “push”, “you’re almost there”. I got to the top of Harlem Hill and continued on. The rolling hills was tough. I would walk for 30 seconds a few times and when I went to start up to run again, my legs ached more, so I continued to run, even it was just a jog. As I approached the start line again, the group of ladies I was running near exclaimed “this is it we’re almost done”! With that my favorite song “Tiny Dancer” by Elton John came on and I sang and ran all the way to the finish line. I pushed hard on the final approach. My husband was there with his camera and phone again as I crossed the finish line with a time of 2:13:37. I did beat my time by 6 minutes!! Yeah!! What a great race, over 6,000 women ran the race!!