Before I start the post I want to write, I need to note that today is a very important day. Aside from my birthday, this is probably a close second to the most important day in a year (just kidding, well, not really, but maybe). Happy Birthday, Josh!
It’s no secret that over the last month (good thing the month is ending soon), I haven’t been too good about finding time to blog or run. I announced in July my NYC Marathon plans but even though my heart wasn’t into training, not running regularly or not joining as many team runs was never part of the plan.
Since coming back from vacation, I made it more of a priority to get out as much as possible this week. With the great weather, I managed to fit in two barre classes, and 4 runs so far (still hoping my recovery run happens later today). Waking up with the sun is therapeutic and being able to make it out to cheer on my team during hill repeats reminds me of why I do this in the first place.
Yesterday, I ran my first long run in weeks. I was signed up to run the inaugural France Run 8K in Central Park so the plan was to fit in a couple miles as warm-up beforehand, run the race at marathon goal pace, and run a couple more miles as cool down. I wanted to reach at least 11 miles by the end. When the alarm went off in the morning, I cursed myself for doing this and after 10 minutes of snoozing, I made it out of bed. By the time I made it to Central Park in one of the cooler summer mornings, I was excited to get this done.
I was able to fit in 2.5 miles at true warm-up pace (around 10:05), watch the set-up of the start line and was in my corral with 10 minutes to spare and enough time to eat a Honey Stinger Chocolate Waffle while waiting for the start. I’ve found that when I get really hungry right before a run, the waffles do the trick. My stomach can handle these unlike with other foods. The goal of the race was not to race but to get some quicker miles in my legs. I haven’t done any speed work in weeks and knew I just needed faster leg turnover to remind myself I can still do it. An 8K as I learned this week is around 4.97 miles. My splits according to my Garmin:
Mile 1: 9:26 – The race wasn’t too crowded, at least in my corral but with the attempt of starting conservative and Cat Hill, this was my slowest mile.
Mile 2: 8:48 – The flatter part of the race and I started to feel pretty strong.
Mile 3: 9:02 – Then Harlem Hill came, so I naturally slowed down.
Mile 4: 9:07 – By this point my hand started tingling and since I hadn’t had any water since I got into Central Park (almost 7 miles earlier), I walked through one of the water stations to hydrate.
Mile 5: 8:21 – My favorite stretch of Central Park’s outer loop is from around 85th Street to 72nd Street on West Drive. I love the shade from the trees, Delacorte Theater, and The Lake. I pushed harder this mile and left enough gas in the tank to sprint into the finish line. When I was crossing the finish, my watch was showing 6:55 pace.
Official finish time: 45:04; Pace: 9:05
I felt so strong that I wished the race hadn’t just ended but it was the perfect time to run into Amanda and Libby. We caught up quickly (man, I wish we had more time to chat) and took a quick picture. They were off to run another 6 miles and I was aiming to get a little over 3 (at a much slower pace) to cool down. The cool down felt great. I ran into another teammate, Fred who also ran the race, and then my cousin, Norman who just completed his +1 volunteer. He biked the course at the front with the winners. After quick stops to chat, I was off to finish the rest of the cool down. Instead of 3, I ended up with 4 (at 9:36 pace) to put my total mileage at 11.5. Breaking up the run into the three segments really helped. I ran each piece at the times I wanted, built confidence in my fitness level, and more importantly soaked in the endorphins around me.
Yesterday was the runner’s high I needed and missed. It reminded me that running is more than marathon training, the races I’ve completed, or how fast I am going, but more about being with the community. Running has introduced me to so many great people and friends and a sense of happiness, satisfaction and belonging. Thank You Running!
Your turn – share with me your runner’s high from the weekend!