"You have to wonder at times what you're doing out there. Over the years, I've given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self satisfaction and a sense of achievement." - Steve Prefontaine
The last couple of weeks in August were pretty rough for me, training wise. I was battling exhaustion and some medical/GI issues. I had to walk/run a 16 mile long run and slogged through group workouts and recovery runs. And then last week happened (which just happened to be a cut back week), and everything seemed to fall into place.
Anand and I had a wedding to attend last Friday night, so we knew we weren't going to be able to make it to the Saturday group run. We had 13 miles on our schedule. But let's face it, running 13 miles without a group is difficult, to say the least. So last minute we decided to sign up for the Bronx 10 miler, with the plan to run 3 miles before the race. Coach Cane e-mailed us with specific instructions:
"Do the first 10 at your usual training pace for the long runs. Assuming that you're feeling good, please pick up the pace to MGP for the last 3. There's no need or value in going faster than that now. Trying to go all out for 13 this week would be counterproductive." FYI, training pace is 30 seconds/mile slower than marathon goal pace (MGP).
Got it, Coach! Sort of .... But I'm pretty sure I'm not going to follow your instructions.
The start of the race was near Yankee Stadium, which is literally 3 subway stops away from our apartment. It should have taken us 5 minutes to get to the start, with plenty of time to run beforehand. Right. That would have been too easy. We had to wait awhile for the 4 train, and ended up only being able to run 1 warm up mile. Not the end of the world, but not our plan either. Don't ask me why we didn't just run to the start. We're not too smart early in the morning.
And then the race started. And apparently, I was super happy.
So happy. With my bat wings.
We run in Central Park a lot, so this race was a welcome change. The course was an out and back, mainly along Grand Concourse (right past where I work!)
The first 3 miles or so were a little creaky, but after my body got warmed up, I fell into a steady even pace. I was trying to pay attention to our pacing, making sure that we weren't going faster than our instructed "30 seconds slower/mile than marathon goal pace." I'm proud to say, we hit these paces exactly. And the best part was that my body felt great for the most part, as evidenced by mile 7 of the race (mile 8 for us) here:
Again. So happy!
My legs were feeling a bit tired around that point though. And just like a blessing, one of the guys in our running group, Bill, came running up next to us. Bill is definitely faster than me. And trying to keep up with him while chatting was exactly what I needed at that point. It took my mind off of my tired legs and made 2 miles fly by. We parted ways at the Mile 9 water station because I needed to fill up my handheld. And at that point, I was excited that we only had 1 mile left of the race.
Since it was technically Mile 10 for us, we decided to pick up the pace a little bit to MGP. Um. I guess I was too excited, because our last mile of the race was our fastest and well under our MGP. But the feeling that I still had enough in the tank after 11 miles to have a strong finish was well worth it.
I basically stole Anand's thunder in every photo.
After we collected our medals we did 2 cool down miles. I know this was not in the instructions, but my stomach was queasy after a sip of some gatorade on the course. So rather than risking an awful accident, we decided to just do a cool down.
So how did we do in the race?
Just as the coach ordered. And with a sweet negative split to boot. This run was exactly what I needed after 2 weeks of less than stellar runs. I couldn't agree with Pre more. It always comes down to self satisfaction and a sense of achievement. This race gave me both.