First road race I’ve run with people the entire time
First time I’ve finished a race hand-in-hand with someone (sorry EC!)
First race run in a veil (because yes, there will be more)
annnd first time run/walking a race (not counting marathons where I’ve walked through water stops)
If you had told me a couple weeks ago that I would walk during a 10K, I would have just laughed. If you haven’t noticed from any of my previous posts, I am a very competitive person when it comes to running. So competitive, in fact, that when I was younger I used to tell people that I hated competing – solely because I got incredibly upset when I didn’t do well. I know that I’m not going to win a big race or turn professional anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to bust my butt to run as fast as I possibly can when I get on that starting line. Even during relay races, which I do completely for fun, I take off as soon as I get that baton in my hand and don’t stop until I reach the exchange. I take pride in knowing that every time I run a race, I do it to the best of my ability.
So when I found out the night before my 10K debut that the plan was for Ali and I to run/walk this thing together with Emily , I can’t say I was super excited. A good friend would have said, “Emily, I am so excited to celebrate your return to running with a race. If you need to walk as a part of your recovery, don’t worry. I am here for you. We will conquer this thing together and finish excited about your awesome comeback!”
But I am not always a good friend. So instead, my reaction was more along the lines of “Are you serious?!” while simultaneously wracking my brain for ways to get out of it. What can I say – when it comes to running, I have a little too much pride. Luckily, Emily is a good sport and could take a little ribbing from Ali and I. Ultimately her excitement for her first race post-injury, combined with plans to celebrate my engagement on the run (literally) made me come around. And in the end, the entire experience made for the most fun road race I’ve ever done.
1.) An amazing carbo-loading dinner.
On Friday night, Chef Brian prepared us all a gourmet feast. Everyone knows you need lots of fuel before races, even when you plan on run/walking them.
2.) I received my shirt and race bib wrapped up as a gift. How often does that happen?!
Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue
Ali and Emily surprised me with a pile of gifts when I arrived in the city on Friday night. Each one was a hand picked “treasure” to celebrate my engagement.
They even drew me a picture of my dream wedding. Talk about some thoughtful friends.
In case you can’t tell, that’s me running toward the finish line/EC with packets of Gu lining the aisle while Emily and Ali toss cheese from the side. Complete with my #teamwatermelon wedding colors, of course.
3.) I ran in a veil.
You might think this would be annoying. But believe me – nothing takes the pressure off a race quite like having a tacky veil on your head, complete with a tiny bride and groom on top.
4.) Team Watermelon.
I’d say that this race involved the best execution of Team Watermelon race outfits so far. We were lucky that it was warm enough to wear shorts/skirts in January (I don’t know what is with this winter weather, but I’m definitely not complaining!). In our bright pink and green outfits, we didn’t exactly blend into the crowd.
5.) The great company.
Like I mentioned above, I don’t usually run an entire race with someone else. I’ve tried in the past, but the competitive nature of races usually means that we split up before the end. With Ali and Emily by my side, the miles passed by much faster than I thought they would…even though we weren’t running at a 10K pace and stopped to walk. I felt amazing and relaxed as I chatted and laughed with these girls the entire way.
6.) Our race strategy.
The plan was for Emily to be the sole “holder of the watch” and the official time keeper. That way she would tell us when she had to stop for a break, and we could trick Ali into running faster than she thought she could (mind over matter!). We started out weaving our way through a very congested crowd, and then just fell into a pace that felt quick, but relaxed. After 3 miles, we pulled over to the edge of the course for a quick walk break where we practiced our power walking skills. We tried not to push Emily and once she was ready, we started running again. We took one more short walk break about another mile later and then picked it up for a strong finish. Overall, we only walked for about 5 minutes, and ended up pushing faster than I thought we would during the running portions. Not exactly my normal “run until you want to puke your brains out strategy,” but it was 1000x times more fun.
Okay, so we may have badgered Emily to pick up the pace just a little bit. Fact: she is not the world’s best power walker.7.) The crowd support.
I have never gotten more cheers during a race than I did during last Saturday’s 10K. It was so much fun to banter back and forth with our fellow runners. We received a wide range of comments. Anything from “Congratulations!” to “Good luck!” to “Don’t do it!!” And my favorite – a male runner telling Ali and I that “marriage is a beautiful thing” as we ran by hand in hand.
8.) Passing people in a sparkle skirt is awesome. Passing them in a skirt and a veil? Priceless.
(Yes, I realize that I got passed by far more people than I passed. But still…)
9.) Getting photographed for the NYRR website.
As we were walking back from the race, we ran into one of the official photographers. She was so excited to see us that she held her own photoshoot right there. Last night I checked the NYRR website, and saw that we made the gallery! My only regret is that she didn’t capture our entire watermelon outfits in all their glory.
Added bonus: apparently she’s also a wedding photographer. A photographer that also speicalizes in taking race photos!? She’s hired! …if only I had actually gotten her name.
10.) The post-race celebration.
In what is becoming a great Ali-Emily-Lauren tradition, we got home from the race and immediately started celebrating with mimosas – a celebration that continued for the entire day. I may have woken up the next morning feeling way too sick for a scheduled 10 mile run, but a short jaunt through the park with Ali made it all better.
Even though it wasn’t my fastest race ever, overall I’d declare the Joe Kleinermain 10K a roaring success! Family and friends beware – I’ve already decided that I will be organizing a 5K for all guests on the morning of my wedding. I haven’t actually cleared this with EC yet, but who wouldn’t want to start the day with a race?!
For anyone who is interested, my official time was 50:51 (8:13/mile). Which I suppose is technically my 10K PR. Hopefully there’s nowhere to go from here but up!