“Keep calm and run on” was all I could think about during the NYRR TCS NYC Marathon Tune-Up yesterday morning. I have been petrified of this run all week and after last week’s hip pain, I was worried how I would fare yesterday. Three full loops of Central Park, means 18 miles of rolling hills, Harlem Hill and Cat Hill 3 times each. When you haven’t done any speed work or hill training in not sure how long and very inconsistent long runs, I had full expectation that either I was not going to finish or it was going to be incredibly painful.
To add on top of all of this, I worked on Saturday and was on my feet most of the day. After work, we took a quick trip to Stamford (more on that at a later date) and by the time we got home last night, I was beat. My body hurt and all I wanted to do was fall asleep over pizza carb-loading. Fortunately, I was able to go to sleep fairly early and woke up feeling well-rested.
Despite some parking troubles yesterday morning, I remained calm and reminded myself that I was doing this run, not for time, but rather just to finish. I started the run with my teammates Maria and Tovy but had to separate from them when I peeled off to use the porto-potties after mile 1. I never use bathrooms during run – its precious minutes off my time – but there wasn’t enough time beforehand to take care of business. After the stop, I put on my headphones (P.S. As a coach/runner, I don’t always encourage running with headphones. I believe there is a time and place.) and kept repeating the mantra, “Keep calm and run on.” Aside from the miles where I walked through the water stations, I maintained fairly even splits. When I saw Coach Ali right before mile 6, I was glowing.
I felt a little more tired as the run went on as one would expect, but loops 2 and 3 all felt strong. In the last loop, I was really enjoying myself and thanked almost every volunteer along the way. My fastest two miles were the last two – 17 and 18 and I even “sprinted” the last 0.25 miles into the finish at an average pace of 7:53. My average pace for the whole run including the bathroom stop was 10:14 per mile which is much slower than I have run my other long runs and over a minute slower than when I ran this same course last year. However, I don’t care. I was incredibly proud of myself for keeping calm and continuing to put one foot in front of the other.
Yesterday’s run was a reminder of how much fun running can be, even if it is 18 miles of hills. And more importantly I enjoyed the company of my amazing team afterwards.
Running is like riding a bike, you’ll never forget how to do it and your body can do amazing things.
Tell me about your fun weekend running activity.