As you could probably tell from my contemplation on whether to race or not, I had no idea what to expect from this race. I didn’t know what my body had to give and I was afraid to fail if I pushed for a PR and didn’t get it. I knew that my confidence for Eugene would be badly damaged if I went out at PR-pace and couldn’t hold it, and because of that I almost didn’t try. Thank you to everyone who encouraged me to go for it and race, because being scared is no reason not to TRY. (Lesson learned.)
Before I get into the race report, I’ll share a little about the weekend (despite the complete blogger #fail and not taking any pics!).
Get some coffee and get comfortable because this is a long one…
Friday & Saturday
My only request to Jocelyn was that we do whatever she would do on a normal weekend. (I already did the tourist thing last summer). So when I arrived Friday morning, we chatted for a little bit, then she pointed me toward the subway and I headed off to Lincoln Center to do some shopping.
The afternoon flew by (my credit card is still hurting a little) and soon it was time to meet Laura for a run. I met her at work so I got to see the Greatist Headquarters! Laura was running 20 miles (!!) and I was happy to keep her company for 8ish of those. We ran along the Westside Highway and it was WINDY. I quickly learned how rough it would be if we had a headwind at Sunday’s race! Despite a “normal” pace, my legs felt REALLY dead on this run…making me further question my ability to run a strong race on Sunday.
After the run, I met Jocelyn and Meggie at the expo. It was pretty small and relatively unorganized (and I was a cold, sweaty mess), so we didn’t stay long. Friday evening we went to dinner with Jocelyn’s sweet mom and sister, then Joc and I walked all around the city, just talking and catching up. This was probably one of my favorite parts of the trip!
Saturday we woke up early, walked to Whole Foods to get breakfast, then just hung out before it was time to meet the Oiselle girls for lunch at Hu Kitchen. The food was amazing and I loved meeting and chatting with everyone (and seeing Steph!). I really appreciate them letting me crash their team lunch :).
After walking a ton on Friday, I really wanted to rest my legs on Saturday, so I was more than happy that we spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out with Meggie and Christa (Jocelyn’s sister), watching TV, reading blogs and relaxing. I really miss this kind of girl time in my life. We ordered dinner in (Seamless.com is THE BEST & I can’t wait to have this in Chicago) and I think I was asleep before 10.
I woke up around 5:45 on Sunday morning with a heavy feeling in my stomach. The first thing I told Jocelyn when I woke up was that I wasn’t even nervous…just dreading the race. That feeling is super unusual for me, but I was really lacking confidence. I went through the motions to get ready and at 6:15 headed out to run to the start.
The first thing I noticed when I stepped outside was just how cold and windy it was. I ran 2.5 miles really slowly over to the start in Central Park and despite the cold, I warmed up quickly since I had throwaway sweats on over my running clothes. The race officials said they were closing the corrals at 7 (although they never did), so I got there around 10 til. I was a little sweaty from the warm up and was absolutely FREEZING standing around for 40 minutes.
I talked to 2 guys and a lady who were standing next to me. They were all aiming for sub 1:34 paces and the lady told us she runs 140 miles per week (20 every day). She was a little wacky and I am not 100% sure I actually believed her, but it was good entertainment and distraction from the cold.
The race started right on time at 7:30 and it was a huge relief to get moving. It was hard to find my target pace in the first mile because my hands and feet were numb and I couldn’t feel anything. I finally warmed up in the 2nd mile and tried to settle into a 7:35-7:40 pace.
The first 4 miles in the park has gentle rollers and I let myself coast the downhills and tried to maintain steady effort on the uphills. This worked well and the paces kind of evened out. I felt okay during these miles…not great, but not bad either. There was a moment at mile 4 that I thought I was already starting to feel fatigued, but I realized I was going uphill and that’s why the pace felt hard.
Miles 1 – 4: 7:38, 7:33, 7:27, 7:37
The remaining 2ish miles in the park hit the hills that I had been warned about. I built them up in my head and was pretty nervous. In reality, they weren’t that bad. Greenville is hilly and I think I underestimate how running on hills regularly prepares me in races. I focused on keeping the effort steady and using the downhills to gain some time back. I was relieved when we looped back by the start and headed out of the park. CP is really pretty, but I was looking forward to a change in scenery.
This must have been just before mile 5 because it is the only place I remember taking water in CP. And the water was FROZEN so I was kind of choking on ice chunks!
Miles 5 – 7: 7:34, 7:33, 7:27
Heading out of the park and running toward Times Square was awesome. The crowds started building and even before I got to the main part of Times Square, I could see the lights. It was loud and bright and I just tried to look around and take it all in.
Right after leaving the main part of Times Square, we took a right and headed toward the Westside Highway. It was pretty windy and quiet on this section, but also slightly downhill. I took a little inventory of how I was feeling and decided that I felt strong. At that point, I finally squashed the fear that I would bonk. I even realized I probably had enough left to drop the pace and have a strong finish.
Once I got on Westside Highway, I liked that it was one long straight shot to the end. The biggest mistake I made here is that I dropped my Gu as I rushed to open it while I had a cup of water. Stopping my momentum to pick it up was really annoying (and I distinctly remembered yelling s**t as it fell. Oops). If I was ever questioning carrying my own water/Nuun in Eugene, I think this solidified it for me…imagine how stopping would feel at mile 20?!
Miles 8 – 10: 7:12 (Pace off in Times Square), 7:26, 7:26
Once I passed mile 10 on the Westside Highway, I decided I wanted the final 3 miles to be under 7:20. I wanted to make it really hurt. The wind was at our backs (THANK GOODNESS) and I almost felt like I was running downhill. I was passing tons of people on this section and had the ultimate runner’s high. It is very rare that I have felt this strong at the end of a race. I knew I would PR and go sub-1:40 and I kept reminding myself that it is supposed to hurt and trying to push to see how far under 1:40 I could go. Finally I reached the tunnel at mile 13, which was really fun. It was warm in there and the cops were cheering for everyone and giving high fives. After the short hill leaving the tunnel (I felt like I was crawling), I started seeing the signs for 800m, 400m and 200m to go. I was ready to be done and was just trying to visualize the distance on the track. The crowds in the final chute were awesome and I when I crossed the finish line I was really excited to see the time on my watch!
Miles 11 – 13.1: 7:15, 7:11, 7:52 (Lost satellite in tunnel), 6:17
Overall: 1:38:30 (7:32 avg. pace)
After the race, I quickly found Jocelyn, Meggie and Christa (who both had big PR’s too!).
We were freezing so we quickly walked over to the subway and jumped on to head home and get warm!
After the race we went back to Hu Kitchen to celebrate Meggie’s residency match and then relaxed at the apartment for the rest of the evening.
Monday morning I met Meggie for a SUPER slow and easy run/shuffle along the East River. It felt good to get my legs moving and the blood flowing.
I didn’t have much soreness after the race, which was a pleasant surprise. My biggest battle wound from the weekend? The chaffing on my neck!
And the only bad part of the entire weekend? My flight was cancelled Monday evening and I had to stay at a hotel out by the airport and leave Tuesday morning. Despite it being weather related, Delta paid for it (!!), so I guess I can’t complain too much!