This happened last week, but I didn’t want this week to pass without me telling you about my most-recent amazing race: The Run for the Parks race in Central Park.
During my fall training, I use races to break up my long runs. This race was on a Sunday and I’ve been trying to keep to my long run being on Saturday, so that meant that I would run 9 (really 8.5 miles) on Saturday and then 4 (usually it’s 3) miles on Sunday. I was fine with that. I wanted to have a race that was just a race. Not a race but 5 miles LOL. Because I ran those miles the day before Coach said to just take it easy, but later gave me permission “if you’re feeling great, then push it!” So really, I came to this race with no preconceived notions, just an opportunity to get some hill work in, and run a few miles before regularly scheduled breakfast.
I didn’t pick up my bib for this race prior to race day so I needed to leave a little earlier than usual. I remembered I didn’t grab breakfast things, so I just put a handful of cheerios in a bag and grabbed a granola bar, and then set off on my way. I stopped for coffee (only thing open that early was McDonalds :( ) and was as good to go as I was going to get.
After I picked up my race material, I waited in line for the port-a-potties, and then made my way to the MASSIVE START area. I mean, I thought to myself, oh, it’s just a little 4 miler, it won’t be that bad. Somehow, they managed to let 10,000 people register for this. So, it took us 15 minutes to cross the start line. Before I joined the group, I stretched and got my life together and ate my breakfast. &, you know, took a picture.
Anyways, I put in my music, and let the people weave in and around me, because I was just here to have fun and run. First up: Cat Hill. It was so early in the race that I powered up the hill, passing people, really feeling like I was in a video game–that each person I passed gave me a coin or extra power, haha, and so I kept going & going. I walked at the top for a few seconds, but still basked in my accomplishment. I was going at a decent pace, and I thought, then, that I only have to keep that pace to be OK with myself for the rest of the race, so I just held steady for a bit until the straight away on the east side, and I found a different rhythm. I was finally “in the middle” of the race enough to have runners around me and feel like a pack. It has been a while since I felt that. I kept finding people to pace behind–just fall in step with their steps and lose myself for a few minutes. But yall, there were these two ladies (they were at Scotland, I didn’t mention them) who were race walking at a pace I was *trying to get to*! I kept leap frogging them, and finally decided to mentally attach a rope around them and let them “pull me” through the 102 transverse and up the first hill on the West Side. I swear they were using me as a target, though, as I was. As soon as the down hill came, I zipped past to catch up some time & pace, and then the uphill came again, and I “latched on” to another person to get me up the hill (pace me) and here they came, LOLOL. I got to the top of the hill and zipped past. Finding a few runners who run up the hill also helps you collect those coins and powers!
So then I go to the base of the last big hill before the finish line, and they came and I said, OK ladies, you’re going to get me up this hill. I’m sure they felt me breathing on their neck. Oh well. I wasn’t going to pass them yet. I knew the long downhill was coming and I could finally put them behind me. So I let them pull me up the long, windy hill, and then zipped past and literally flew down the hill (I’m talking paces I haven’t seen in a very long time!) and never saw them again! LOL.
What was great about this race was that, once I got to the flat part of the race, nearing the end, I had gained such speed, I was 11:3X pace! I kept that pace through the flat part, around the last bend, and used the slight down hill to sprint into the finish (with an 8:xx pace!)!! I had just a little bit in the tank, but, I was so proud of my efforts! I ran all the hills, I walked minimally, and I “raced smart” by letting other people do the hard work, per se.
& it paid off. I “live tracked” myself to see what my race time was & then immediately texted my coach & husband!
12:26! I haven’t seen that in a race since I started back! & My last mile was 11:36! & it was just a great race all around. I brought that victory into this past week’s training, and it’s paying off, yall. #ihavegoals. I still don’t know what Brooklyn Half is going to bring, but I’m getting excited and happy!