NYC Half, off weekend, and marathon(s)

I had a blast of a weekend but I am definitely paying for it.

All last week, I was planning my long run for Saturday before the wedding (my cousin got married) but after getting woken up too early and not having a good last couple hours of sleep on Saturday, my morning was thrown off. Instead of the 90-minute run that was on my training plan, I ran the scheduled 3-miles at HM pace. I’ve really taken a liking to running pace/tempo runs on the treadmill since I can just set the speed and go. However, I’m also pretty darn tired of running on a treadmill lately. With the weather looking up, I decided to do the pace run outside. After a mile warmup, I went out too fast for the pace run (I was probably averaging 5-10K race pace) plus the combination of breakfast not sitting right, it was one of the hardest 3 mile runs ever. The cool down couldn’t come fast enough. With all that behind me, I enjoyed my Saturday evening at the gorgeous wedding. As always, it is so much fun to see a lot of the family together, dressed up, and ready to celebrate/party.

I had been planning to go out and cheer for my friends and teammates in the NYC Half for months when I learned that with the wedding was the night before and it didn’t make sense for me to run it. I was pumped to be a spectator for once and decided to watch from 39th Street and the West Side Highway, slightly past mile 8, right by where the ferry dropped me off, and right when the runners were approaching the long quieter (in comparison to Times Square) stretch. I was with my teammate, Toni, had my cow bell in hand, and long list of people we were planning on cheering for!

That’s Geoffrey Mutai (I promise if you zoom in you
can tell)!

We arrived just in time to see the winner, Geoffrey Mutai pass by in the lead. These guys look incredible and make it look so easy (it’s so unfair)! The weather was absolutely brutal though for the spectators especially standing right by the Hudson River. We had the app but it was so hard to take my hands out of my mittens to track everyone. At that point, we were just going by what we knew about everyone’s pacing and looking out for purple singlets. It was exciting to catch our extremely fast teammate, Amanda who ran on her birthday; other teammates who were probably surprised by shouting of their names from two crazy bundled people; my cousin, Margaret who I somehow never know which races she runs, but always see her from the sidelines (she looked incredible yesterday and set a PR); Julio who I was getting worried we’d miss since we didn’t know what he would be wearing but luckily he surprised us by running right in front us (it’s so important that the runners know where exactly you will be so they can look out for you too); James, the teammate who I ran last year’s NYC Half with and set a PR (it was so cool seeing him because he was so surprised to see me that we hugged, he shouted at me for not running this one with him, and then I shouted back at him that he should keep running!); Coach Brian out on the course in his bike and a very official NYRR helmet; and then somehow we missed the rest of the people we were both planning on seeing.

However, despite not catching everyone and how cold it was, it was such an incredible experience being a spectator. Having been on the other side, you know how much effort, training, and time it took these runners to prepare for such a race and any extra boost (even if it is only for a passing second) I can provide to help them run faster is a bonus. Also, now having been on the spectator side (even though I’ve cheered for Margaret in the NYC Marathon before) trying to catch so many people, I have an even bigger appreciation for spectators. It is never perfect weather to stand outside for hours, trying to catch that one person while watching thousands of runners pass you by to see them only for that passing second, and in Josh’s case trying to take a picture as well and then finding a way to make it to the next spot with enough time to spare. It’s a tough job being a spectator. As my friend and teammate, Maria put it later on in the day, it’s easier running than cheering. So thank you fans, always!

The plan was to run the 90-minutes on Sunday early evening but by the time I got home from cheering and meeting up with friends afterwards, I was pooped and felt nauseous. Instead of forcing my body to run, I took a nap and hoped that I would feel better. There were a couple of lessons learned this weekend about trying to fit in a long run into a busy schedule:

  1. Sleep is important
  2. Hydration is important (I didn’t drink enough water on Sunday especially after too much to drink on Saturday night)
  3. Do not eat greasy foods for lunch if you want to run later in the afternoon
  4. Do not wear heels for hours if you want to run the next day (the bottom of my feet still hurt)
  5. The long run will hang over your head all weekend, so better to get it in earlier if you can
  6. A bad run one day is not a sign that you’re out of shape
  7. Listen to your body (though it’s much easier to listen to the brain telling your body that you’re a wimp for not running)
  8. It’s okay if you miss a day (at least that is what I’m going to tell myself all week until the next long run)
Instinctively, these are all things that a runner knows, it’s just hard when you’re in the moment to remember. 
Even though I didn’t get my long run in yesterday, I did accomplish something long run related. I finally signed up for the NYC Marathon with my guaranteed entry. I had been toying with the idea of not running this year’s race for a couple of months now and waited until two days before the deadline to decide. The thought of waking up early every weekend for months and throughout the whole summer, and sitting in Staten Island for hours waiting for the start does not seem like fun but I know that if I didn’t sign up for it, I would regret it. Hitting submit on the NYRR website and paying over $200 for a race that I am not 100% sure of is scary but I know with time I will come around (that’s why I have my blog, right? To remind me of all the fun I had the last two years…). For right now, I am in for the 2014 NYC Marathon on November 2nd! (And oh the Chicago Marathon lottery opens this week, so it’s a big week for my credit card.)
Did you have a good weekend? Did you cheer on runners in a race?

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