Race Recap: Gridiron Classic (4M)

What a great race!

For those who are just checking in to see how it went time-wise, I’ll tell you this: I set a personal record (PR)!


For those who want the full report, here goes:

Since today wasn’t just the Gridiron Classic 4-mile race — it was also going to be a training run for the National 1/2 Marathon in March, meaning I’d be adding on miles after the race — I knew I needed lots o’ fuel in preparation.

Last night I made a big bowl of pasta and had tons of baby carrots. Two of my favorite foods!

And obviously you know where I went next, right?

Race fuel!

16 Handles! Can I possibly be any more obsessed?

After stuffing my face with frozen yogurt, I got to bed by 11:30, which was nice. Naturally I laid out all my race goodies in preparation for the big day.


My favorite part is putting the D-tag on my sneakers. Anyone else get a weird little thrill out of doing that (and then keeping it on for a really long time after every race)?

Ready to go!

I woke up this morning at 7 am. The race started at 9:00, and I wanted to make sure I had plenty of time to stretch, eat, use the bathroom (multiple times) and pin my bib on perfectly.

Although the race itself was only 4 miles — a distance I’m very comfortable with lately — I still get pre-race jitters. I listened to calming music as I got ready (couldn’t blast it though — a certain roommate was still sound asleep), foam rolled my legs, did my little ab routine, and stretched.

My standard pre-run breakfast is probably not ideal, and I know that. All I eat is a granola bar. But it sits well in my stomach and still gives me enough energy to get through a long run. To each her own, right?

The weather for today’s race was definitely ideal. It was sunny and in the high 30s, so I wore long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and a jacket over that. I was comfortable for the entire race and happy with what I decided to wear.

Also, Ashley and Bo came over before the race, and then we all ran to the park together. ABS woke up to take photos for us. Good man.

The happy runners!

The boys weren’t as excited about the photo session as I was…

The girls

I like to run in braids.

Since Ashley and I are both running the National 1/2, the plan was to run to the park (about 1.6 miles to the start line), run the 4-mile race, add on a few miles afterward, then run back to my apartment. Great success! That’s exactly what we ended up doing.

When we entered Central Park, it was icy! The race announcer was warning runners of black ice, so I was nervous. Turns out, the course itself was fine and ice-free.

Bo and Ashley went to their corrals and I went into mine, ready to crank up my race day playlist. All my favorite songs came on right at the beginning, even though I was listening to it on Shuffle. Love when that happens!

The "Yellow" Corral

As soon as I crossed the start line, my body got a rush of adrenaline. How lucky am I that this rush lasted the entire race?!

Somehow I managed to stay completely focused and in the zone during each mile.

The course wasn’t too crowded, which was nice, and the weather couldn’t have been better. I was shocked to look at my watch a few times and see that I was running a sub-8-minute pace. I don’t often see 7-minute marks when I look down!

Seeing my pace gave me a huge boost, because I wanted to maintain it. I hardly remember the first mile, the second mile was my favorite (flat and fast) and the third mile was a killer (the rolling hills on the West Side of the park). Then I gave the fourth mile my all and dashed toward the finish line.

My goal was to smile when I crossed the finish, but I’m pretty sure I’m either going to be gasping for air or checking my watch in my photo. Oops!

I was thrilled with my finish time of 31:12. I honestly had no idea I had that in me. That will definitely not me my 1/2 Marathon pace anytime soon, but it feels good to know I’m capable of truly pushing myself.

As beat as I was at the end of the race, I had a few more miles to cover. I did two additional lower loops in Central Park and eventually found Ashley.

We ran together in the park for a little while, stopping and stretching along the way as needed, then ran back to my apartment. We ended up covering roughly 11 miles. Great running day!

After that, we were both pretty beat and although our plan was to shower and go to brunch, it took a while for that to actually happen. We were moving sloooowly.

Once we stretched, foam rolled, showered and obsessively checked the New York Road Runners website for our official times, we headed out for brunch.

We ate at Taste, a restaurant near my apartment. I loved the atmosphere — there were a ton of families and kids, but we snagged seats at the bar away from them, where it was a bit more peaceful.

The bread basket was delicious, but I made a poor meal choice. I got the vegetable frittata. Why? Why the heck did I do that? When have I ever eaten a frittata?

For whatever reason, it sounded good at the time, but I was pretty disappointed with my choice. It was kind of like eating landscaping. Not the restaurant’s fault — my fault. Note to self: Next time go with the ham and cheese omelette. You know you like that. Oy, Ali, oy.

At least the roasted potatoes it came with were pretty spectacular.

Post-brunch it was rest time, so we came back to the apartment and watched The Social Network with ABS. This was my second time seeing the film — Ashley’s first — and I loved it as much as the first time. The music is so good and the acting is brilliant.

Now I’m feeling lazy, but we’re heading to a Super Bowl party in a bit. I definitely don’t care about the Super Bowl, but I do love the food.

TELL ME: What’s your favorite Super Bowl snack?



0 Responses

  1. I didn’t realize when I commented on your earlier post that the PR was part of a long run. I’m super impressed with both of your times! Also, if the National Half is the “ideal” weather of 37 degrees, I will die.

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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