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Run for the Parks 4 Mile Race Recap

Posted Apr 25 2010 8:28am

Wow, seems like all I’ve been writing lately is race recaps, huh? Well, that will change because this week I’m reviewing the brand new Core Fusion Lean & Toned DVD — and giving away a copy as well!

For now, though, RACE RECAP!

I love racing. Running with such a big group, trying to PR, trying to have fun, being in Central Park, crossing the finish line. There is seriously no rush like racing and I am so happy I started running less than a year ago.

As you know, I planned to PR and beat my previous 4 mile time of 40:00 exactly. Part of the reason I was intent on PRing was because I knew I could run faster (my 5K PR had me at 9:16 miles!) and the other part was that the 10:00 min mile NYRR record put me in the 10:00 – 10:59 minute mile corral. My friends who I run with are all in the 9:00 – 9:59 corral and it would make it easier and more fun if I could start with them instead of them having to come back to me with me! And if I could run 10:00, I could run 9:59. Or faster.

I planned ahead with a kickass playlist:

Screen shot 2010-04-17 at 7.47.07 PM.png

Yeah, that one is a winner. I plan to use it for my next race or two. I started with Dog Days Are Over because it begins slow, but I didn’t realize just how perfect it was. Lyrics:

Run fast for your mother and fast for your father, run for your children, for your sisters and brothers,

The rest of the playlist was just as motivating.

I decided for this race I would, for the first time in my racing (and general) life to NOT be insanely early. I wanted to get to the corral 10-15 minutes before the race started. Standing outside in the cold is not my idea of a fun time.

Walking to the race was coooooold. But my plan did work and I got to my corral 10 minutes before the race was set to begin. Score! My friend Melissa had some train troubles and was running late, but about a minute before the race was beginning I spotted her walking on the side of my corral (where she came back to be with me)! I started yelling out her name and she came to me, so out of breath as she had to hightail it to the corral. I was relieved I found her because she had a goal of a 9:30 pace and I really wanted her to pace me. I knew I could crack 40:00 on my own but I wanted to push myself even harder . . . and I wasn’t sure how hard I would push on my own.

The race started and my amazing playlist started and Melissa and I started running — fast. I knew I was going fast for a first mile. Our initial strategy was negative splits, with the first mile around 9:45. Uhhh yeah that wasn’t happening. We were going faster than 9:45. I neglected to get my Polar RSX300SD set up to start as soon as the race started, so it started a little after the race began — but even so, I could gauge from it that we were going faster than planned. But we both felt great! My music was awesome, I was in my groove, the weather was gorgeous and the first mile passed so quickly I could not believe it. When we got to the first mile marker, I had only gotten to hear 2 of my songs!

Mile 2 was not so euphoric. Our pace was getting to me bigtime. My knee started hurting and, even worse, my chest was hurting. I recognized this pain from the other races where I pushed myself too hard ( WTC Run to Remember , 5th Ave Mile ) and it really hurt. I also got the right side ribcage pain I used to get before I (1) knew how to pace myself (2) was used to running and (3) knew the breathing trick — breathe in on the right foot and out on the left. Old ribcage pain, I had forgotten all about you. Damn.

I was not feeling well. But I was pushing through. Luckily I was still going pretty fast which meant the next mile marker came up quickly.

Halfway done. I was struggling. I was suffering. But I could do this.

The hills got really ridiculous during this mile. Melissa was able to run ahead of me and tackle the hills, but I kept her in sight. If she got too far ahead, I was fine with that. I went into this race knowing that she had plans to run faster than I did. She has also been running for years, whereas I have not even reached my one year anniversary yet! And she ran the NYC half about 6 minutes faster than I did. It would not have hurt my ego in any way if she sped off ahead. That said, I kept her in sight and was able to get back alongside her once the hills leveled out. I was still having a hard time, although my knee wasn’t hurting so much anymore. Sometimes I would have to press down on my ribcage pain to try and calm it, and my chest was not happy with me, but overall I was pushing through. Melissa seemed totally fine and I was a little envious.

Before I knew it we were at the last mile marker. One more mile to go and then I could STOP RUNNING. Really, that was the only thing getting me through the pain. Knowing that soon (in less than 10 minutes!) I could stop running. How glorious!

I felt a little better at this thought and got a bit of a second wind. I was happy again, although still in pain, but still running fast, just not as fast as when we started. I looked over at Melissa and for the first time saw her struggling. The last mile is where it all caught up with her and here is where I was able to pace her instead of the other way around. How amazing is it running with a friend like this, where you can push each other, motivate each other, inspire each other and just BE there for each other. Sometimes I get so lazy with blogging and consider giving it up, and then I think of someone like Melissa — how I wouldn’t know her if not for blogging (she commented on a post and I emailed her back and the rest is history) — and there is no way I could give this up. Even if I can just post once a week, that is fine by me.

But I digress.

We were nearing the end. I was waiting for that final turn that comes right before the finish line in almost all NYRR 4 mile races. At one point I thought I saw it, but it was my brain playing tricks on me. But! I saw a race photographer! My dream in life! You all know how much I love race photographers and being in pictures and really, pictures of me in general. I got so excited that I took that look of misery and despair off my face, tried to grab Melissa to pose with me, and then smiled and waved at the photogs.

Melissa (on my right) did not care to smile and wave with me. But you can’t tell what a hard time I was having, can you?! I am a professional photograph taker. A model, if you will.

Race for Parks1.jpg

Mallory said it looks like I was photoshopped in with the three real racers around me who actually look like they are running a hard race. But I promise you I was suffering and in pain. I just love pictures!

Finally, finally, finally we got to that last sharp turn before the finish. Once we got past that, I took off. I wanted to do my best to sprint to the finish. Although sprinting might not have been exactly what I was doing, I did speed up and run through and I. Was. Done!

I could stop running. And stop I did — but, holy wave of nausea! I got scared for a second I would throw up, but I didn’t. Phew.

My official time is 37:43 — a 9:25 pace!!

I blew my goal out of the water!! Honestly, I would have been happy with anything under 40:00, but this was better than I ever thought I would do — especially since i have done ZERO speed work or training at all. I have to give a lot of credit to my friend Melissa for pushing me here. However, my chest pain lasted the rest of the day and I was not feeling great. I know that with better training that won’t happen. My knee hurt a bit too, but some ice took care of that and the pain didn’t last. What did last was the hamstring and glute soreness. Never really experienced that after a run! After my NYC Half Marathon , my quads were burning for a week. But I guess the hamstring and butt soreness comes from running fast rather than running long distance. Anyone care to corroborate?

And now we have plans to work a lot more on speed. Especially because we signed up for a HALF MARATHON in October! We will be running the Diva Women’s Half Marathon on Long Island. It is flat and it is fun (champagne and roses at the finish, tiara and boa stations throughout!) and we both want to improve our current half marathon times. And the best part is we have ALL SUMMER to train — none of that rushed training like for the NYC Half.

And as I’ve mentioned, I am running the NYRR 9 + 1 this year to qualify for the 2011 NYC Marathon. I’m already 5 races down with just 4 to go (plus one volunteer). I already have a few more in the pipeline and I am very excited. As the weather gets warmer, I look forward to running outside a whole lot more — and really, warm weather is the reason I started running in the first place.

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