An Unlikely But True Story… I Ran a 10k!
Besides a Jingle Bell Run or Patty’s Day Dash 5k fun run I have never “road raced.” And I ran those almost a decade ago… Yet somehow 3 months back I thought it was a good idea to sign up for a half marathon. Why yes I need more tequila to explain that last sentence…
Way back when I made the training schedule I subscribed to the idea that it might be smart to run a 10k before I ran a half marathon… So I signed up with a friend from work for “fun” and accountability. Fast forward 3 months of ERT (trademark pending) and twas the night before the 10k. I knew I had put in enough training to I feel OK about today’s run. Sure I slept in my running gear and rolled out of the bed, tossed on the shoes and grabbed my breakfast as I headed straight out the door. I had to pick up my bib morning of so I can confirm that I was up and on the subway at an hour no self-respecting human should be… But I was OK. I knew I would finish, but I had no idea how the race/run was going to pan out. See there was this one nagging thought in the back of my mind- “you have not run outdoors in any of your training.”
Yeah I have a dirty little secret to let you in on, I like the treadmill. It feeds and nourishes my inner control freak and let’s me get my OCD on by letting me track and pace myself. It also is climate controlled. And in the sub-zero straight to tropical clime of NYC that matters as far as I am concerned. Earlier in the week though I was sweating that dirty little secret (literally) when all of a sudden it was 97F and 60+% humidity. I was pretty sure that this race was going to kill me. I could do it slow, but hot and sweaty- that was something else.
However despite my insistent belief otherwise, I am generally quite lucky. The weather fairy has a bipolar disorder that is currently not under treatment and as we swung 20F up earlier in the week, it swung 30F down by Saturday. Hows bout dem apples as proof global warming doesn’t exist?? So race morning was gray with a possibility of misty that twists into downpour at 66F with humidity that was not oppressive for once. Yay weather fairy and her DSM IV classification! Closest to perfect weather I could ask for…
The Mini was the first ever Women’s only road running race, named after the mini-skirt. This year the race was dedicated to Grete Waitz. A unique part of the race is that though most of the race is run around the main Central Park loop, Central Park West is shut down and you run up it for a little more than a mile before you cut into the park. So Saturday at 8am I lined up with 5,000 or so other women (including a lovely work colleague who ran with me) at the 40th NYRR Mini 10K start line. For a while there I thought the nerves might get a hold of me, but the environment had such a camaraderie that I just went with it. My only goal was to finish But things went so much better than that!
For the first mile I was a bit paranoid as what felt like an attack of shin splints was hitting my left shin pretty hard, but I went slow and I kept on chugging along. At mile 2 I was a bit disheartened as I noticed I was running 13:15 minute miles, but I decided instead of stopping for a walk, I would just keep on going. I must admit having people on the side lines cheering made that decision MUCH easier. Then at the top of the park you go around this corner and all holy hell there is *that* mofo hill. Mile 3 marker is at the bottom of it and I have to say there was a line up of men there many of them with cowbells SHAKING those things like they were their money makers for us. I love them. They were enough to convince me that it was smarter to run up that thing DEAD slow than it was to stop. After that hill, the rest of the race was pretty much easy. But the real surprise was that I just kept running. I took water at each station, so there were a few steps in there as I poured the water in the pie hole, but I didn’t stop running overall. Even more impressively I started to pick up time. By the time I was at mile 5 the timer was just turning over on 01:00. That and the fact that it was mile 5 jacked me up with some adrenaline and endorphins as I listened to Pink sing So What (I need running music with a pop-y beat and that along with Imma Be by Black Eyed Peas and Tambourine by Eve took me in the last haul) and pushed it for the last 1.1 mile. At the point I saw the mile 6 marker I knew I had it. I knew I was going to finish and I was going to have run the whole damn thing!! The last 100 m I sprinted my way in darting around others who didn’t realise that THERE WAS A FINISH LINE TO CROSS NOW PEOPLE! I always was the kid in middle school on the dreaded timed mile run that at the finish line would just GO FOR IT. Still am that kid it turns out The timer read 1:13:03 and I lifted my arms up in a victory pump as I stomped on the timer pad.
After the run the race provides Gatorade (I partook), a bagel (I passed), a carnation (shared with my friend from work’s almost three year old) and a nice medal which I wore for the rest of the damn day! I met up with my friend, we found her family and after 10 minutes of playground time for the Little One (from here on in known as the King of the Castle) it was off to breakfast. Waking up at the god crack of dawn and running for over an hour makes me HANGRY!
Pre-race I’d had a slice of Ezekiel bread with butter and vegemite (it has been an obsession since I went to Australia earlier this year and tried it for the first time). Now it was time for post-race fueling, all the books say it is important to my muscle development, repair and recovery. What? A mimosa with its vitamin C and bacon for the salt/electrolyte replacement were essential! And I even got whole wheat toast to go with those three sunny side up eggs that I pulverized
Later on in the day while I was at a second brunch with a good friend who will be moving soon (where I virtuously ate an arugula salad with mint lemonade and then had a slice of lemon thyme pound cake with yogurt and strawberries) official race times were posted. I was flabbergasted. Turns out I ran my first 10K for a PR of 1:09:54. Under 1:10 with a 11:15 pace according to NYRR!! That may not be fast for most, but keeping in mind that most of my mid-longer runs at best are done in slight intervals, involve walking, and over at least 1:00 slower per mile (the fastest I have run a long run was 12:15 minute avg per mile) I was quite chuffed!
It’s now two days later and I am still not sure what to think about it all. I wasn’t really sore over the weekend, but late Sunday night my knee flared up (*pray it is not a true case of runners knee just a cranky old gymnasts knee*). So I am laying a bit low while dosing up on Vitamin I as I to try not to have a full panic attack given that I have a half marathon in less than two weeks that I am traveling for… I absolutely understand now why people run races- totally worth it! Especially the people on the sidelines- they are amazing! I am astounded by what I did (I ran 6.1 miles straight, faster than I expected!) and have accomplished with only 3-3.5 months of training. I am somewhat frightened by the whole “that was only half of what is going to be barreling down at you in less than two weeks” thing (CUE THE PANIC!). And if you had told me 4 months ago I would be doing this and thinking I might start calling myself a runner- I’d have asked to have some of whatever that good stuff you were taking a toke of. But I have to admit, I am *that* much closer to saying it.