Monday, May 14, 2012

UAE Healthy Kidney 10K Race Recap

Let me preface this post by saying that I really hope the ING New York City Marathon is as life-changing as everyone says it is. It was absolutely my own choice to do the guaranteed entry 9+1 program, but it has become... exhausting (9+1 program breakdown: Run 9 New York Road Races + Volunteer for 1 race in a calendar year = Guaranteed Entry into the following year’s NYC Marathon). In theory, running nine races does not seem like a whole lot, but in practice, it truly is.

I wrote a post a few weeks ago about my aggressive 5 races in 5 weekends schedule, and I have knocked down four of them. That’s four 5:30-6:00AM weekend wakeups, four banana and peanut butter English muffin sandwiches, and four playlists with One Direction's timeless song. It’s a good thing I’m a gal who knows how to get a lot of sleep.

Saturday morning was the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K in Central Park. I came pretty close to bailing, but I realized I would just be delaying the inevitable. Postponing Saturday’s race would mean another $20 down the drain and an early morning wakeup sometime later in the year. So I got up, quite begrudgingly.

Queensboro Bridge, you ain't so bad

The weather was beautiful – which meant I had a lot more runners and bikers around to keep things interesting. My legs felt great as I maintained an easy pace, and as usual, I was happy that I decided to wake my cranky self up after all.

Nice 'n easy.

I made it to Central Park with about 4 ½ miles under my belt. I caught up with my favorite fellow 9+1ers, and then made my way to my corral. The race had a $25,000 prize for the first finisher, and the Men’s 2012 Olympic Marathon Team ran the race! No wonder mad peeps turned up.

Typical pre-race pic
Trying to include all 7,918 of us

I noticed I was a little thirsty by the time I got to Central Park, but I shook it off and figured I could gulp some water on the course. In hindsight, I should have picked up a Gatorade to carry with me. It would have been my BFF during the race’s miserable course.

The 10k was a clockwise tour of Central Park’s outer loop. The four-mile course I’m accustomed to in the Park has rolling hills, but it’s nothing a pair of semi-tired legs can’t handle. The 6.2-mile course, however, is a whole other animal.

The hills in the first few miles felt like mountains. The downhills and flat parts of the course didn’t help me recover, nor did they feel easy. I went through the first three miles feeling pretty bad and incredibly thirsty.

By Mile 4, I was really tired. I saw people around me walking up the hills, which was super encouraging… I was hoping to reach my stretch goal of a sub-8:00 pace, but at this point in the race, I told myself to ease the heck up. I knew it was a lofty goal, and one perhaps I could make if I didn’t run 4 ½ miles before the race. But I reminded myself that not every race is supposed to be record-breaking, so I dialed it back and just did the best I could.

Finally by Mile 5, I kept telling myself that I only had two miles left. I used every technique in my repertoire to keep me going – everything from telling myself how well this race would prepare me for the Brooklyn Half, to concentrating on my form. It. Felt. So. Hard.

I quickened my pace in the last mile, because I figured the faster I ran, the faster it would be over. I knew I was spent when I wasn’t able to sprint the last 200M like I normally do. But I went as fast as my tired little legs would take me.

I knew I gave it my all when I nearly collapsed at the finish line (a tad dramatic), and I ended up being really happy with my average pace. For my first 10K race, I gave myself a pat on the back. And rewarded myself with a really yummy nap later on.

After a nice, long shower, I headed home to NJ for Mother’s day. I spent the afternoon running errands with my Dad in Central Jersey suburbia, which is SO much more enjoyable than running errands in the city. You only truly begin to realize how many people live in New York when you’re waiting in line at Duane Reade.

Fresh, inexpensive fruits and veggies.
How I miss you.

My family spent Mother’s Day lounging, and I spent 95% of my time on my parents’ back patio. It was perfect weather again, so I took in as much greenery and fresh air as I could.

Love the toe shot.

This Saturday will be race 5 of 5 in my crazy and stupid spring series – the Brooklyn Half-Marathon. I’m feeling pretty good about the race overall – I know I have put in the training, and this week’s runs will be all about keeping up fitness and not worrying about pace. I know for a fact I will be more successful than last year’s race (if I don’t keel over from dehydration, I will consider it a victory).

I’m hoping to run it in 1:51:00 as my stretch goal – which would be an 8:30 pace. Would I like to go faster? Sure. Will I beat myself up if I don’t make it? No. I have put in the time – and now all I can do is think good thoughts and carbo-load (the latter of which I’m really skilled at). 

I’m hoping that this is an omen of good things to come:

1 comment:

  1. Cannot believe I would ever see these words - Dad, errands, enjoyable - in the same sentence from you!